Great Britain Supporters’ Club held their 25th anniversary gala dinner in Coventry last weekend, which was attended by a number of past and present GB staff and players.

Great Britain head coach Peter Russell led the tributes with an after-dinner speech, while there was also a very special auction.

Prizes included a signed GB shirt from this year’s World Championship in Slovakia, a 1974 Team Finland shirt supplied by Kimmo Leinonen, a customised GB shirt from IHUK and a limited edition Switzerland shirt from the Swiss federation.

GBSC was formed in June 1993 and was the brainchild of Annette and Allan Petrie.

After arranging a trip for around 12 fans in Copenhagen in 1991, they took 25 fans from Slough, Nottingham, Medway and Bracknell to GB’s triumphant promotion in Eindhoven 1993.

On that trip they found out that many fans had paid over the odds and some had come independently – and because of this the supporters’ club was formed.

Since then, GBSC has gone from strength to strength and hundreds now follow GB all over the world.

GBSC got recognition from IIHF president Rene Fasel, who said: “Ice hockey is a passion, both for the players that play the game and the fans who watch it.

“I have had the honour and sincere pleasure to be working in international ice hockey for many years and every time I travel to a World Championship it is always so gratifying to see the many groups of fans that come from far and wide to participate in our annual festival of hockey.

“No more is this apparent than when we have any tournament where Great Britain is playing. Their supporters are among the most well-travelled and knowledgeable group of fans I have ever come across.

“Congratulations to the GBR Supporters’ Club on this your 25h anniversary. I hope that you enjoyed your men’s national team reaching the top division for the first time since 1994 and I look forward to seeing you all again next year at my home country of Switzerland.”

Ice Hockey UK chairman, Richard Grieveson, said: “GBSC are fantastic and I would like to congratulate Allan and Annette, as well as all the members on 25 years.

“Their backing for IHUK and GB is amazing at all levels, men and women, and is really appreciated by everyone.

“In particular, their support of GB Men at World Championship tournaments is outstanding. The numbers that travel and the vocal backing is noticed by ice hockey nations all around the world.”

Annette and Allan said: “It is fantastic to reach the milestone of 25 years and it was a very special night in Coventry.

“We would like to thank everyone who gave their time to attend the dinner. It was a magical evening and we look forward to another 25 years!”

Photo credit: Ian Offers.