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 one of Team Great Britain’s centres, Gordon Clemas, to talk about the team’s first two wins and where he sees the tournament going from here.
Stick Skillz: How long have you been playing ball hockey?
Gordy Clemas: I’ve been playing ball hockey for the last seven years.
SS: Did you have any ice hockey experience before that?
GC: Yeah, I played ice hockey since I was about four years old. I’ve played competitive my whole life, and stopped when I was about seventeen. There was nowhere else for me to go. I played beer leagues from then on, but other than that I took my career to another level which was ball hockey because I saw that there was more to it for us than just a beer league. There was more availability for competition. There’s more opportunity for stuff like what we’re doing right now at the World Ball Hockey Federation in the Czech Republic. I say this is absolutely the next best thing to being on ice.
SS: Is this your first international tournament?
GC: Yes, this is my first international tournament. I’ve been in a few tournaments where I’ve been required to travel to Toronto, but other than that I haven’t done much traveling for tournaments.
SS: We’ve been in the Czech Republic for a few days now…what’s been your favourite part?
GC: My favourite part of the country has been the day trip to Prague for sure. The night life – even though I don’t drink – is still a party. The atmosphere and the weather have been beautiful. The people here have all been very welcoming. The communication barrier has been a little tough to get used to, but other than that, I love this place. I would absolutely come back to a different spot to visit.
SS: At the time of this recording, you guys have already won two games – both of them shutouts – so you must be feeling pretty good right about now.
GC: I’m feeling good, I got a goal against the Hungarians…it wasn’t very pretty, but a goal’s a goal. The first game, I feel, was a good competition to start the tournament, but today’s game [against USA] is the one that everyone’s looking forward to.
SS: Where’s your head at for the games coming up?
GC: Right now, my head isn’t even on those games. My head’s on the US. Just to go out there, go hard, and basically go balls to the wall. It is the best competition in our group, so if we can take this game then I feel like anybody else that’s in our way…we can take them too.
SS: Did you do anything differently in your training regimen leading up to the WBHF?
GC: Not really, I play on numerous teams, so I’m on the floor basically four or five times out of the week anyways. I’m always doing a lot of cardio. I don’t really shoot around often, I just shoot when I’m practicing with the goalie before the games. I didn’t really do anything extra.
SS: A lot of you guys have played together in the past, played against each other, but this is really the first time all of you are playing together on the same team. How do you think the team is gelling together so far?
GC: The team is gelling for sure. If you watched from the crowd, you wouldn’t know this group of guys hadn’t played together before. After playing against them, playing with them is the best thing. You know they’re good having played against them in other competitions, but being on the same team and playing against other people…it’s a whole new feeling. I love it.
We’d like to thank Gordy 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.