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.
For our last Player Profile, I sat down with the BHi Great Britain Heritage Team’s General Manager, Dan Gilbert, to discuss how he feels the team had come together, and what his role is throughout the tournament.
Stick Skillz: How is it that you came to be associated with the Great Britain Heritage Team?
Dan Gilbert: Chad Asselstine wanted to put a Great Britain Heritage team together with some BHi players, and since he knows that I have a substantial amount of knowledge when it comes to ball hockey, he wanted me to be a part of the team and to help him organize it.
SS: What are some things that you’ve done to help organize the team leading up to the tournament?
DG: Mostly background stuff. Organizing the players and making sure that they know what’s going on in terms of travel and things like that. Basically communication back and forth with the players, and making sure that everyone’s on the same page for when we’re in a different country.
SS: Is this your first time being part of an international tournament like this?
DG: Yep, this is my very first time.
SS: So what’s been the most exciting part, for you, about bringing everyone to the Czech Republic, and being in the Czech Republic yourself?
DG: The scope of the tournament. It was quite a bit bigger than I expected. I thought it would be similar to one of the championships that we have in Ontario, but coming here and seeing what this is all about…it’s like being at the World Juniors in ice hockey.
SS: What’s been the highlight of the tournament for you then?
Bryan McGahey: [Laughs] Rooming with Bryan.
Dan Gilbert: [Laughs] No…Watching this team of guys who would normally not get a chance to participate in a tournament like this play their hearts out, and give everything they’ve got, and just to see the joy on their faces as a result of being here…That’s been the highlight for me.
SS: This is the first time a lot of these guys are playing together on the same team. For you, as the manager, how do you feel everyone is coming together as a team?
DG: I think everybody is gelling really well. I think they’re playing like a team, which is shocking considering the majority of these guys never played together. I think that’s the BHi mentality. We have such a great brotherhood at BHi, and I think you can just see that in this team. I think something like three quarters of the team play at BHi rinks, so you definitely see that.
SS: A huge accomplishment for the team is heading into the semifinals undefeated. How do you think the next few games are going to play out?
DG: I think our semifinal game against the Czech Republic is going to be a tough game, but I think that our guys are talented enough to win it, and I think that we’re going to end up playing Canada for the gold. I think that either way, whether or not we come out with the gold, these guys have nothing to be ashamed of…they played amazingly this whole tournament.
We’d like to thank Dan for taking the time to sit down and answer some questions for us.