GRUBB TO LEAD GB U20S IN BUDAPEST

Martin Grubb will take on the role of head coach of Great Britain Under-20s at this month’s World Championship (Division 1B) as Tommy Watkins is unable to attend because of club commitments.

Paul Heavey and Slava Koulikov will continue as assistant coaches.

Kirkcaldy-born Grubb is coach of GB U18s and domestically is in charge of Solway Sharks.

GB, who won a bronze medal in France last year, will take on hosts Hungary, as well as Slovenia, Poland, Italy and Ukraine.

The six-team tournament runs from 11th to 17th December 2016 at the Jegpalota Ice Centre in Budapest.

Grubb said: “It will be an honour to step up and coach the Great Britain U20s in Budapest.

“Most of the players I have coached at under-18 level, so I know what a great group they are.

“There will be a great coaching staff around me and I know everyone is excited for the challenge.”

Watkins is coach of EPL side Telford Tigers and is currently having to take a lead in working through challenging off-ice financial issues.

“This is not a decision I have taken lightly,” said Watkins. “I am really gutted I had to make this call.

“I am so proud to be in the GB coaching set-up, but this is a difficult and unusual time for Telford Tigers.

“I know the coaches and staff will do a fantastic job.”

Ice Hockey UK head development coach, Tony Hand, said: “It is a real shame we are losing Tommy this month, but we understand he’s in a very challenging position.

“However, I’m certain Martin, Paul, Slava and Karl Creamer will do a great job.

“They have a lot of experience and I am confident the team will have an excellent tournament.”