Holly captains ice hockey GB team in world games

Law student Holly Cornford says captaining Great Britain’s Ice Hockey team in the World University Games is an experience she wants to use to help boost the women’s sport back in the UK.

Law student Holly Cornford says captaining Great Britain's Ice Hockey team in the World University Games is an experience she wants to use to help boost the women's sport back in the UK.

Holly is in her third year of Law at Nottingham Law School, part of Nottingham Trent University. She has been balancing her studies with travelling long distances to train and compete in the sport she was introduced to ten years ago and which has become her passion.

Her hard work was rewarded when she was selected for the GB team and chosen as captain for the competition in Trentino, Italy last month. The World University Games sees nations compete in sports including curling, cross-country skiing and ice hockey.

"It was overwhelming when they asked me if I wanted to be captain. It was a silly question because of course I wanted to be!" said Holly.

In her role as captain, Holly said her main task was to bring the team together.

"Some players have played alongside each other before or met a couple of times but there were others who had never met and we barely knew each other's names," said Holly. "I tried to do some team bonding activities before we got in to the games and tried to get that family feel from the team because you perform better if you gel."

With teams such as Canada, Russia and Japan in the competition – all of whom are ranked in the top 10 in the world – Holly was aware just how seriously it would be taken.

"We knew it was going to be tough. In the Russian team there were players who had taken part in the last Winter Olympics, that's the calibre you are talking about. Our focus, realistically, was not on the score line but on our performance and bringing something back to the UK to help the sport here," Holly said.

"The experience and knowledge I have gained playing against world class teams is invaluable and it will, and is, doing huge things for my own game as player and captain. The knowledge that myself and the other GB players have gained will go on to aid the development of women's ice hockey in Great Britain."

The GB team beat Spain in a fifth place play off with Holly scoring one of their goals.

"It was my first GB goal and at the time you don't take it in but afterwards, when they present you with a puck for scoring your first GB goal, it starts to sink in and is great," said Holly.

Holly returned to her hometown of Grimsby on 20 December following the games and has already been back playing for Hull side, Kingston Diamonds whom she joined six years ago. She travels back to Hull from Nottingham each Tuesday to train from 9.30 pm to 11 pm before driving back to Nottingham ready for lectures again the next day. When she is in Nottingham, she uses the University's gym for her off ice fitness training.

"I'd be lying if I said it wasn't tough," said Holly. “Sometimes, when I have a lot of deadlines for work, I try to complete assignments a week or so early to fit around games. When I'm at competitions, sometimes when I should be resting, I'm on the laptop doing work which isn't ideal but it's what I need to do."

Alex Bailey, elite sports development officer at Nottingham Trent University, said: "It's fantastic to see students like Holly competing at the highest level in university sport and representing Great Britain. Holly deserves great credit for her efforts and ability to combine her academic studies with her sport as it clearly requires a great amount of commitment to achieve in both.

"We're proud to support Holly as one of the many student athletes studying at the University and I'm sure there are further successes to come in her academic and sporting career."

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Holly captains ice hockey GB team in world games

Published on 16 January 2014
  • Category: Sport; Nottingham Law School

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