Forward Robert Dowd believes the experience Great Britain gained from the 2019 World Championship in Slovakia will be vital in this year’s tournament.

After promotion from Division 1 Group A in 2018, GB secured their top-flight status two years go as they came from 3-0 down to beat France 4-3 in overtime in their final game.

This year, GB start the tournament against Russia on Saturday before matches against Slovakia, Denmark, Belarus, Sweden, Czech Republic and Switzerland.

“Everyone took so much from the World Championship in Slovakia in 2019,” said Dowd. “It really opened our eyes to what playing at this level is all about.

“We all felt we gave a good account of ourselves but, at the same time, we knew we could do better.”

In 2019, GB started the tournament with a 3-1 defeat by Germany, followed by losses to Canada (0-8), Denmark (0-9), USA (3-6), Finland (0-5) and Slovakia (1-7).

In the dramatic final game against France, Dowd started GB’s comeback before goals from Mike Hammond and Robert Farmer ensured the game was level – and Ben Davies won it in overtime.

“By and large we were pretty content with our performances, but the Denmark game was probably the exception when it just a bad night at the office

“We went to the top level and we competed. We played some of the best nations in the world and we certainly weren’t embarrassed.

“It was such a special feeling to stay up and now we want to build on that and make further strides.

“It’s a tough group once again. At his level, every single game is tough but we are looking forward to the challenge.

“It’s great to face different teams this year with Russia, Belarus, Czech Republic and Switzerland in our group.

“We now know we belong at this level and even though there’s no relegation this year, it’s important we don’t let our guard down.

“We want to impress on the world’s biggest ice hockey stage and I believe we can spring a few surprises again.”

All matches will be shown free-to-air on FreeSports, which is available free on Sky Channel 422, Virgin Media Channel 553, on Channel 64 on Freeview and BT and via the FreeSports Player.

GB fixtures
Saturday 22nd May – Great Britain v Russia – 16:15 face-off (14:15 UK time)
Sunday 23rd May – Great Britain v Slovakia – 12:15 face-off (10:15 UK time)
Tuesday 25th May – Great Britain v Denmark – 16:15 face-off (14:15 UK time)
Wednesday 26th May – Belarus v Great Britain – 20:15 face-off (18:15 UK time)
Friday 28th May – Sweden v Great Britain – 16:15 face-off (14:15 UK time)
Saturday 29th May – Czech Republic v Great Britain – 12:15 face-off (10:15 UK time)
Tuesday 1st June – Switzerland v Great Britain – 12:15 face-off (10:15 UK time)