Over the past few days, I’ve had the distinct pleasure to get to know the BHi Great Britain Heritage team during their travels through Litomerice, Lovosice and Prague in the Czech Republic. The team is here for the World Ball Hockey Federation (WBHF) World Championships, and you’d be hard pressed to find a more dedicated team than this one. Over the course of the trip, I’ve been sitting down with the players to ask them some questions about the tournament, flying to the Czech Republic, and their love of the sport, for what we’re calling: Player Profiles.
I sat down with Alex Murdock, a power forward for Team Great Britain, to talk about his history with ball hockey, and how he feels after having scored in his first international tournament.
Stick Skillz: How long have you been involved with ball hockey?
Alex Murdock: I’ve been playing ball hockey for about five, maybe six years.
SS: How did you come to be affiliated with the Great Britain Heritage Team?
AM: I played a hockey tournament in London where Chad [Asselstine] ended up bringing it up to myself and another guy who couldn’t make it, and…I chose to make it.
SS: Do you have any ice hockey experience as well?
AM: I have some, but the financial burden wasn’t something that my family could afford, so I more or less just play it for fun.
SS: Is that what draws you to ball hockey then? The accessibility?
AM: No, it’s the competitive level now. I missed the boat for competitive ice hockey, and the opportunity came, and it’s been nothing but growth.
SS: Is this your first international tournament?
SS: What’s been your favourite part of the Czech Republic so far, then?
AM: Everything about it. From the location, to the competition, the size of the floor, the atmosphere inside of the arena, to the cities that we’ve been able to see, the architecture, the nightlife…just everything about this country has made this trip incredible.
SS: Yesterday – at the time of this recording – you guys had a big win against Team Europe. You played great and went 6-0. You specifically got a huge goal near the end of the game, so you must be feeling pretty good after that win…Speak on that for a moment.
AM: I’m really glad to get the first goal, personally, off my back. A ton of these guys have played in extremely high tier hockey, and then moving towards internationals is something that just came naturally to them. I’ve kind of fast tracked to get here, and I’ve played with tier one players, but I haven’t played tier one or premiere myself. So to be able to play with these guys on this level, and to get a goal in my first international game was a huge accomplishment personally. Being a part of the win as well was huge. The way the team’s bonded over this has been incredible.
SS: So what’s the strategy going forward?
AM: Just stick to structure. I mean, it’s easy to lose sight of what the overall goal is. It’s incredibly easy to fall into bad habits. If every line leads by example for the next shift to follow, then this team’s going to be fine. The strategy is just to make sure that we all stick to shift by shift and work as hard as we possibly can form the beginning of the game right to the end of it.
SS: Was there anything that you did personally leading up to the tournament to prepare?
AM: No, I just included a little more cardio than usual. Playing inside of any rink outside of Hamilton, Burlington or Oakville, there’s no rink this size that you can go to to practice. Even before playing it was going for a 2k run or exerting myself physically before-hand, and just making sure my body was ready for this level of exhaustion. Other than that, I know how to play hockey. I just have to do my job.
SS: Is there anything else you want to say before we wrap up?
AM: No, just ‘Hi mom.’
We’d like to thank Alex for taking the time to sit down and answer some questions for us. We wish him and the rest of the BHi Great Britain Heritage Team the best of luck at the tournament. Live coverage of the games can be found right here and the games’ schedules can be found here.