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 number 27, Andrew Jegg to talk about scoring the winning goal for Team Great Britain’s game against Team USA.
Stick Skillz: How long have you been playing ball hockey?
Andrew Jegg: I’ve been playing for about four years now. I played ice, and then during the summer I stopped playing soccer and needed something to do, so I switched over to ball hockey, and I’ve been playing ever since.
SS: How did you come to be affiliated with the Great Britain Heritage Team?
AJ: I play on the War Pigs with Iain Downes and he was mentioning it, so I figured it would be a cool opportunity to come over and play. I went to the tryouts and now I’m here
SS: You mentioned you had some ice hockey experience, is there any other reason outside of not playing soccer anymore that you continue to play ball hockey vs ice hockey?
AJ: After midgets, and after grade twelve with ice hockey, unless you play juniors there aren’t many competitive leagues. I’m a competitive person, and beer leagues don’t do it for me. Personally, it’s the competitiveness – being able to go to tournaments like this, and tournaments around North America, and still have fun playing hockey while keeping that competitive streak is what keeps me here.
SS: Is this your first international tournament?
AJ: Yes it is. I played one tournament in Pittsburgh, but other than that, this is my first international tournament.
SS: We’ve been in the Czech Republic for a few days now, so what’s been your favourite part of the country so far?
AJ: I love the culture, and the buildings. I know a lot of people have mentioned the buildings and the architecture already, but just the way that the culture here seems more old fashioned is such a cool thing to be a part of. Plus, I just love being in Europe.
SS: You said you played with [Iain] Downes a bit, but is this your first time playing with a lot of these guys?
AJ: I’ve played with maybe four or five of these guys before, but other than that, I met the majority of them just this past Thursday. It’s a great group of guys though, and we’ve become a family now, so it’s been a lot of fun.
SS: Being that this is your first time playing with a lot of these guys, how do you think the team is gelling so far?
AJ: I think the first couple minutes of the first game, we were kind of getting to know each other still. It was nice to get a bit of an easier team so that we could get used to each other. I think all four lines have been playing really well together, but now we’re starting to play some tougher teams, so we have to be sharper, and be ready to go.
SS: Speaking of tougher teams, you guys scored a huge win against Team USA a couple days ago. Personally, you scored the game winning goal with a penalty shot – that must have been a pretty big moment for you. Can you speak on that for a moment?
AJ: Definitely the biggest goal I’ve scored so far. It felt nice. I was nervous going in, but I was tired, so that kind of took away from the nerves. I was just happy to get the goal and get the team win.
SS: You guys are heading into the semifinals undefeated, where’s your head at going into the upcoming games?
AJ: The next two games are obviously the biggest games of the tournament, and they’re not going to be easy. The Czech should be a packed stadium, and they run about four or five lines, so it’s going to be a crazy game – non-stop running. Then after that, we’d have to face either the US or Canada, who are probably the two best teams in the tournament, so it’s going to be tough to get through these teams. I think just making it to the finals would be a huge accomplishment though, because we’re underdogs, but if we can pull this off it’ll be something special.
SS: Was there anything that you had done differently to prepare leading up to the WBHF?
AJ: I would say a lot of running. I hurt my leg a bit, but I was trying to keep my cardio up, because I knew it was going to be an olympic sized arena, and I knew a lot of these European teams are going to be running, running, running, so it was mainly my cardio that I adjusted.
We’d like to thank Andrew 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.