(As seen in the Dundalk Democrat)
The cream of Irish Women’s ice hockey travelled to Jelgava, Latvia, three weeks ago where they took part in the Agrofirma Tervete Ice Hockey Cup, but unfortunately for the Irish the luck didn’t go their way.
But according to All-Stars head coach and local Dundalk Lady Bulls coach, Vytautas Lukosevicius the tournament was ‘a trip of a lifetime’ and ‘invaluable experience was learned’. Vytautas, who is also a Director of the Irish Ice Hockey Association (IIHA), was full of praise for the players who represented the All-Stars, which where made up of the three ladies team in Ireland – Dundalk Lady Bulls, Cubs and the Belfast Ice Vixens.
Speaking to The Dundalk Democrat this week the chuffed coach said : ‘Latvia was a very good trip. I’m very proud of the team and very happy with the results. Because of the point system we came last of the group, but I’m not disappointed, the girls aren’t disappointed because at the end of the day we have only been playing hockey for three years and to lose by only one goal against an experienced team shows a great improvement’.
The ladies lost their first two games against Zemgale and Saga 1-0. They then took on Laima and took a 3-1 defeat but they finished the tournament on a high winning against Estonia’s Blue Whales 4-2.
Vytautas commented on a previous result against Laima two years ago. He said ‘Three years ago we lost 13-0 against Laima and that shows the improvement we have made and that is my aim; to improve ladies hockey’.
The well known player and coach said that the ladies gave it their all. ‘The team gelled very well and at the end of the trip they were a family’ he said, ‘They fight for each other and for the first time in woman’s hockey here in Ireland I saw a few girls diving and saving the puck and each and everyone of them gave it their all and that’s all I can ask for’. He continued ‘They have learned that hockey must be played as a team and you have to be part of the family and if your not willing to play as a team you will not play for my team, because playing as a team is the key to a good hockey team’.
Vytautas says he is certain that the All-Stars will take to the Latvian ice again next year by saying ‘I’m about one hundred percent sure that I will be taking the same team back over to Latvia next year and I think we will come back to Dundalk with a medal, but we will have to do a lot more preparation before the tournament if we are serious about picking up a medal’.