U20 National team in Serbia. U20 National team in Serbia.

Till the end of the weekend our U20 team is participating in the 2022 IIHF world championships in Serbia. Last season the tournament got cancelled weeks before departure due to the pandemic and later during the summer break it was moved to early September.

The announcement of the new date provided multiple challenges for the team and staff. Beside limited preparation time and options, a new coaching staff had to be found. Gil Paelinck stepped in last minute as Gert Peeters decided to resign. Assisted by Sami Lipsonen, Gil took on the challenge to pickup and prepare the team in only a couple of weeks.

But the road to Serbia was full of hurdles…
Last week with only a day before departure a player and equipment manager tested positive for covid and were forced to stay home.. On Sunday when the team was waiting to depart, their flight got cancelled, causing the entire team to rush to Dusseldorf airport to catch another flight.
This transfer caused 2 hockey bags not to arrive in Serbia before the 1st game.
Later after arrival an obligated covid returned 2 more players positive, those were forced in isolation in their hotel room until the end of the tournament. All unfortunately a significant setback for the team and the coaching staff.

The team however are well motivated and managed to jump over Iceland in their first game of the tournament with a 3-2 victory. Serbia the day after proved to be much more difficult opponent, Belgian lost with 3-10 from a much stronger Serbia. Over the next 2 days Belgian still plays 2 more games, vs Netherlands (Sep 16) and Croatia (Sep 17).

In 2-weeks the full IIHF tournament calendar for the 22-23 season will be confirmed, and this U20 team will prepare for another tournament probably in 3 months…

Posted on September 16, 2022 at 10:19 by MV

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