Former Sheffield Steelers and Nottingham Panthers netminder Geoff Woolhouse has been named as GB Women’s new netminding coach. The 30-year-old, who retired from playing as a league champion with the Steelers last season, will work across the GB Women’s programme.
Danny Mawer, who is currently working with Sheffield, has been named as the GB Women’s strength & conditioning coach and will also work across all age groups.
Coach, Cheryl Smith, said: “It is great to add Geoff and Danny to our off-ice staff.
“They will both bring so much to us in different ways and they already made an impact at the recent camp.”
Woolhouse was able to have a short session with eight goalies over the weekend, while also providing full-squad drills which benefit the players between the pipes.
This coming Sunday, the top prospects from age 13 to 18 will play in the Global Girls’ Game as part of World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend, giving Cheryl and Michelle the chance to see the next generation of women’s hockey in action.
The Smiths will be coaching against each other in the a two periods of 20 minutes game at Ice Sheffield – one of 30 games in 30 hours across the world organised by the IIHF and Hockey Canada.
GB’s U18 team will then have a home tournament in the November international break to help their preparations for January’s Division 1 Qualifier in Austria. Great Britain will go up against Hungary, Poland and Spain at Ice Sheffield from 6th to 8th November.
Reflecting on the hectic period for the programme, Cheryl Smith said: “We need to make the most of every session where we meet as a squad, this weekend has been brilliant.
“The off-ice session was the players’ first meeting with Danny Mawer. He will give each player a personal training plan rather than have the whole squad follow a generic programme.
“When we moved on ice, the drills and practices were all at a high pace to prepare the players as best as possible for what they are likely to face in a World Championship. This one was better and quicker than September and the next will be quicker again.”
Michelle Smith added: “The Global Game this weekend is aimed at our younger players, with girls from 13 to 18 taking part.
“As we have the new Under-16 team starting this year, we need to see the players who are coming through. This great event at Sheffield gives us that chance. Coaching against Cheryl will be fun too, but neither of us will want to lose.
“The November tournament will be a brilliant opportunity for the Under-18s against quality international opposition before they go to Austria in new year for their World Championship.
“The trials we held in the summer identified a lot of talent at the under-18 age group, but they need games under their belt as the step up to international from domestic hockey is massive. The tournament is a useful stepping stone.”
Great Britain Prospects in the Global Girls’ Game is this Sunday (11th October) at Ice Sheffield, facing off at 4pm. Admission is free with warm-up starting at 3:45pm.
The four-team tournament starts on Friday 6th November until Sunday 8th November, with two games each day at Ice Sheffield. The timetable and ticket information will be released shortly.
GB U18 women are in Division 1 Qualification tournament in Steindorf and Velden in Austria from 7th to 11th January 2016. Great Britain are grouped with Australia, Italy and Poland.
Great Britain’s women have their Division 2A World Championship in Bled, Slovenia, from 2nd to 8th April 2016.