Team Belgium U18 Men introduced Team Belgium U18 Men introduced

MECHELEN - Today, January 28, Team Belgium U18 Men was presented in provincial sports center 'De Nekker'. The team will participate in the IIHF World Championship DV2B that will take place in Sofia, Bulgaria from March 27th to April 2nd, in the same venue where our women's U18 are currently playing their World Championship campaign.

The team presentation was well attended. Marc Verlinden, RBIHF Vice President and National Development Director, welcomed everyone: parents, grandparents, family members, coaches, club presidents and of course… all players.

Head Coach Marc Fransen gave an overview of the selection process and the new way of working of the federation. Early detection of ice hockey talent starts through the Hello Hockey program that was started by the late Johan Bollue. A work that will be continued. Given the results of U18 last year (promotion from DIV3A to DIV2B) the right choice.

After the presentation, the players were introduced one by one, and they received their Team Belgium jersey. After which the team proudly posed for a group photo.

“We are in a higher group now, as a result this will be a more difficult campaign,” said Marc Fransen. “Our opponents are Australia, Chinese Taipei, China, the Netherlands and of course the host country Bulgaria. The first objective is to stay in this higher group. The next objective is to show that we belong in that group and of course I hope for a medal. There are two countries that we have never lost to in the past, but we have also won against other opponents, such as China and Australia. It’s difficult to predict. With U18 you always have an influx of new players. We assume that there will be opportunities. Only the first day on site will we really know more. Then you can watch your opponents training and playing. And then you can estimate the possibilities.”

Solid Preparation

Compared to the past, preparations are solid now. Coach Fransen agrees. “We start when these guys are U16. Also off-ice. We really know these boys now. In the past we too often went to a tournament without really knowing the players and then you sometimes get unpleasant surprises on the spot, and you can no longer rectify. That is already a large part of the preparation, knowing the players and knowing what we can expect from them. We have also learned from experience that playing matches is still the best way to prepare the team. Last year we didn't do that enough and then we noticed that we came short against Iceland. We want to play a few more matches before we leave, we are aiming for ten. And the weekend before the departure we hold one more training camp. To be able to dot the i's for two more days."

Team Leaders

Team Captain of the selection is Kacper Raciborski who is assisted by Assistant Captains Tibo Van Reeth, and Lander Paulissen. “It is a great honor for me to lead this team as their captain,” said Kacper Raciborski, who is back with Team Belgium U18 after last year's successful campaign. The Antwerp native with Polish roots started his career at Antwerp Phantoms but switched to HYC Herentals last summer. “I expect the best from everyone. We all want to get gold. We will strive for that, that is our main goal. The atmosphere is very good. The club colors are forgotten, we go for the greater good.”

Posted on January 28, 2023 at 22:17 by CP

Lions archive