Ice Hockey UK’s national talent identification officer Mark Beggs has been on a fact-finding mission in recent months as he looks to give Great Britain’s national teams the best possible chance of success in the coming years.

Beggs visited Premiership rugby side Saracens, Harlequins Premiership Rugby Academy and the Hockey Canada Under-17 program.

“The purpose of the meetings was to gain insight into how they approach various aspects to achieve success both in game competition and preparation – and what we can bring into Great Britain ice hockey,” he said.

Beggs was able to work on various areas to help GB, including…

  • Strength & Conditioning, Culture – Saracens Premiership Rugby – Andy Edwards Head of Strength & Conditioning
  • Player Assessment and selection criteria / Coach Education – Troy Smith previous Hockey Canada U17 coach / Kitchener Rangers OHL Major Junior / Hamilton Bulldogs AHL / OHL Speaker
  • Academy Selection Process / Talent Identification – Tony Diprose Head of Global Development Academy / Tim Hall Strength & Conditioning / Jim Evans U18 Academy Coach
  • Regional Program Priority – Jane Powell Head of Development England Lacrosse / previously England Women’s Hockey

“Being a big advocate of learning from what other sports do, it was a great experience. The staff at those programs were fantastic in every aspect, highlighted by having access to the Saracens’ player meeting,” continued Beggs.

“We can draw on a lot of similar processes and shouldn’t underestimate the huge opportunity the regional conference brings to the Great Britain program.

“With the recent additions to the GB programme of the under-16s and the plans for under-12 and under-14, getting to see the academy model was a huge opportunity to meet the staff from Harlequins as they are one if not the most successful program in promoting from within.

“I asked Ben Pitchley to attend as he leads the England programme and is a regional mentor coach. It was an opportunity for him the see the views that I have and the direction of travel, focusing on the younger age groups.

“The staff from Harlequins, led by Tony Diprose, put together a presentation covering every aspect of the academy and it was great to see we share and have similar approach and challenges.

“The meetings were a fantastic opportunity to network and to have an open invite for future meetings provides a great outlet for education and competition approach.”

Pictured above: Andy Edwards from Saracens with Mark Beggs.