Daniel Briere once said “All a kid wants is recognition that he’s playing hard and trying to win.”
That being said, there’s nothing like the fiery words of a proud Head Coach to stir up a little emotion and make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up! Makes you remember the time that you first put on a pair of skates as a young kid and fell in love with this great sport.
“Playing hard and trying to win.” These words resonate with me and that’s because Daniel Briere knows a little something about overcoming adversity and showing the world what he can do. Yet there’s nothing said about actually winning or being the victor nor is anything even said about playing well. It’s the effort that counts and the pride in doing your best. That’s all that anyone asks.
The players and the coaching staff of the U18 Irish National Team epitomise giving it your all and having pride in doing your best. They’ve done just that all this week in Mexico City and they’ve represented their country with honour. However, what can you expect from a team that is led by Head Coach, Kenneth Redmond, and General Manager, Jim Pepper. They are men who epitomise this passion and honour. That’s not to even mention the remainder of the coaching staff who bring much more of the same.
Then there’s the players themselves who have gone leaps and bounds above what could be expected of them. After months of preparation and travelling long hours from all over the country just to train, they’ve had to learn the hard way what it takes to play at this level. However, none of them have shirked at this task. They’ve just got on with it and put their bodies on the line; all for the honour that it is to represent their country.
Then there’s the players who couldn’t play or travel but would give their limbs to be there in Mexico with the team. They’re back in Ireland supporting and urging their teammates and friends on. The passion and dedication shown by everyone keeps those hairs on the back of your neck standing.
Ireland plays Israel today in their last game of the 2011 IIHF World U18 Championship Division III Group B at the Lomas Verdes Rink in Mexico City, Mexico. An interesting game could await us as neither team have won a game yet. Ireland goes in as the underdogs but we have a history of performing well in anything when we’re up against it and given no chance. It’s like we enjoy upsetting the applecart!
As usual, Israel v Ireland can be watched live tonight on Terra TV. A live stream is being provided on http://www.terra.mx/mundialdehockey. Coverage will start shortly after 01:30 am Irish time on Saturday morning. The video works best in Internet Explorer and it may take a few minutes after the faceoff to get the feed working.
Mind you, Daniel Briere also went on to say “Confidence is the biggest thing in hockey. When you don’t have it, you play scared. If you go out there afraid to make a mistake, you’re useless. The best advice I ever got was from my Midget Coach, who said, ‘Nothing is impossible, if you really, truly, believe in it.’ ”
The result of the game tonight won’t matter; the effort and pride in the performance is all anyone will be expecting out of these fine young men. However, you never know…
KEEP THE FAITH!!!