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   Monday, 27 January, 2003, 17:12 GMT
GB coach sees bleak future
Chris McSorley
McSorley believes radical steps must be taken
Great Britain coach Chris McSorley has issued a stark warning over the future of British ice hockey by claiming it could turn into a 'garage league'.

McSorley has already told Superleague owners their franchises will be 'worthless' if they do not limit the number of imports and increase the homegrown talent in their teams.

We are still fighting the forces of the professional leagues

Chris McSorley

He also said the game is 'dying on the vine' and fears for its future if radical steps are not taken.

Only four British-trained players began the season in the ISL - GB captain David Longstaff, Joe Watkins, Stevie Lyle and Jonathan Weaver - and two of them are netminders.

However, following the demise of Manchester Storm and Scottish Eagles in November, Watkins is now alone in flying the flag for Britain.

And McSorley feels the number must grow dramatically to safeguard the future of the sport in this country.

McSorley, also coach of Swiss side Geneva, said: "We are still fighting the forces of the professional leagues.

"I am in a country where the national programme dictates the professional leagues, and the professional leagues are thriving under its direction.

"I predicted three years ago the ISL will die on the vine due to a lack of support and my crystal ball has not got any foggier.

"If this continues and the national programme is not improved, professional hockey will become a garage league.

"I will continue to push but if they do not heed my warning the investment will suffer."

McSorley was speaking ahead of the last leg of the Euro Hockey Challenge in Austria starting on 6 February.

He has named a strong GB squad in preparation for the World Championships in April.


Great Britain squad:

Goaltenders: J Watkins (Bracknell), R Ford (Edinburgh).
Defencemen: C Bailey (Cardiff), S Campbell (Newcastle), N Liddiard (Basingstoke), S Moody (Slough), J Morgan (Nottingham), J Pease (Coventry), B Pope (Solihull), R Wilson (Newcastle).
Forwards: P Berrington (Basingstoke), D Clarke and M Galazzi (both Guildford), J Hoad (London), D Hopkins (Dundee), D Hurley (Bracknell), R Lamey (Isle of Wight), D Meyers (Solihull), G Owen (Milton Keynes), J Phillips (Cardiff), S Thornton (Belfast), J Weaver (Fife).

See also:

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