Team Belgium U18 relegated back to DIV3A Team Belgium U18 relegated back to DIV3A

SOFIA - Last week Team Belgium U18 took part in the IIHF Worlds DIV2B in the Bulgarian capital Sofia. The team failed to win a game against opponents China, Chinese Taipei, the Netherlands, Australia, and hosts Bulgaria. The score difference was minimal, but that won’t suffice to win games. Team Belgium was promoted from DIV3A to DIV2B last year but is now relegated to the lower division again. Coach Marc Fransen looks back with a razor-sharp analysis: there is work to be done.

“We did not manage to win a match at this World Championship. We fail to play the full three periods at the same pace and put the same pressure on the opponent. We fall short and the level is too high for most of our players,” says coach Marc Fransen.

“It is therefore a reflection of the level our guys are used to playing in the national U18 competition. This appears to be very difficult once you play at an international level. We can put pressure on the teams we met here for a maximum of two periods. The third period we the engine stalls. Against Australia it was the other way around. We started weak, we wait, we don't put enough pressure. We arrive there in the third period, but then it is already too late. We also fail to finish. The shortcomings in such a tournament are more easily visible. In the lower series last year that was much less so. The score difference is often minimal, but it’s there. Hence, we can conclude that it reflects the level the boys play at home. That the level of our U18 competition is too weak to make some noise at a World Championship in DIV2B.”

Does that mean that we should accept this and leave it there? “Of course not,” says the coach. “We now must work to raise the level of our own U18 competition to get back into this group as soon as possible to make a difference here. That it will work. The relegation is very unfortunate for the staff and coaches who have invested a lot of time in the preparations, and of course also for the players, they are not to blame. It is up to us as a federation and to our clubs to do something about this situation, otherwise we will continue to promote every year only to be relegated the following. There is clearly work to be done and it reflects in these IIHF tournaments. It's going a bit too fast; we can't keep up the pace for the whole three periods. So, plenty of work to be done!”

The World Championship in a Nutshell


Final score BEL vs. TPE: 3-4 (1-0; 0-3; 2-1)

Goals: Kacper Raciborski, Daan Vermeulen, Tibo van Reeth

MVP Match Team Belgium: #1 Gregor Steegmans (G)


Final score BUL-BEL: 4-0 (1-0; 0-0; 3-0)

MVP Match Team Belgium: #13 Lander Paulissen (F)


Final score CHN vs. BEL: 6-2 (3-1; 1-1; 2-0)

Goals: Dylan Hendrix & Owen Bernard

MVP Match Team Belgium: #18 Quinten Levecque


Final score BEL vs. NED: 2-4 (2-0; 0-1; 0-3)

Goals: Toby Gentri & Felix Poitras.

MVP Match Team Belgium: #12 Dries Schoovaerts


Final score AUS vs. BEL: 2-1 (1-0; 1-0; 0-1)

Goal: Owen Bernard

MVP Match Team Belgium: #20 Tibe Palinckx

MVP Belgium Tournament: #13 Lander Paulissen




Posted on April 2, 2023 at 22:20 by CP

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