Ice Hockey UK have appointed Tony Hand MBE as their first national development head coach.

The 49-year-old Edinburgh-born former GB player and coach scored over 4,250 points in an illustrious 34-year playing career.

He became the first British-raised player to be drafted by an NHL side when he was picked up by Edmonton Oilers in 1986.

In a two-year stint as GB head coach, he led the national side to the final qualifying stages for the Olympic Games in Sochi in 2014.

He will work alongside Mark Beggs who will have an expansion of his current role and becomes national talent identification officer.

IHUK chairman, Richard Grieveson, said: “What can I say about Tony Hand? He’s a legend of the game in the UK and a real ambassador for our sport.

“Tony is going to work very closely with our Under-16s, Under-18s and Under-20s coaching staff.

“He will be responsible for establishing goals for each of those respective teams and ensuring that the required standards and quality of the program are achieved.

“He will provide management, direction, guidance and support to all those national team head coaches.

“Tony will look at the talented player pathway and he will take a significant lead on all national team matters and international competition that those teams will participate in.”

Hand said: “It is an absolute honour to be involved in this new role for Ice Hockey UK and Great Britain.

“I am very passionate about Great Britain ice hockey and I want us to see us develop great coaches and players.

“We have some talented coaches and players in the national programme. If we can get the young players to play to their potential, then there are exciting times ahead for GB.

“I would like to thank the IHUK board for giving me this opportunity and Neil Morris for allowing me to take up this role alongside my Manchester Phoenix duties.”

Hand will combine his new Ice Hockey UK role with his duties of head coach of EPL side Manchester Phoenix.

Owner of Manchester Phoenix, Neil Morris, said: “We will lose Tony for some weekends in the season, but getting our national programme on the right track is very important.

“We all have to make sacrifices to make a change for the better if we want to be successful as a nation.

“It is a great opportunity for Tony and I think we should support it. I do not think there is anyone better qualified to take this position than Tony, with his dedication, emotion, knowledge and commitment to the role.

“He brings such much to the table and I am sure it was an easy decision for Ice Hockey UK to make.”

Wiltshire-based Beggs was born in Glasgow but grew up in Toronto, coaching minor hockey with the Toronto Marlies and then moving onto Junior A with the Aurora Tigers.

He spent three years as head coach of Great Britain Under-18s and is also European scout for the Ogden Mustangs of the WSHL in North America.

“Mark will be responsible for all technical matters and administration – and the development and implementation of statistical data,” Grieveson continued.

“He will ensure that this data is utilised in the development and delivery of the sports elite development plan and pathway.

“With his tremendous statistical and analytical side – and his technical ability – Mark will be so vital for us going forward.

“He will work closely with the Tony to raise standards of coaching, management and performance within the GB programme.”

Beggs said: “The extension of the current role will allow me to continue to focus on raising the standards of player identification within the program and incoming players.

“With the addition last year of the Under-16s and delivering the incoming Under-12 and Under-14 programs, the focus will be to ensure the foundations are in place on and off the ice and identify new team staff.

“The program continues to evolve at a rapid rate and with the national development coach monitoring on ice, it’s a required addition to the program which we will see immediate benefits.”

Tony Hand IHUK website

(Tony Hand coaching picture – by Roy Long).

Mark Beggs

Mark Beggs