ICE HOCKEY: TeamGB 2014 Olympic Qualifiers – Live on ESPN

Ice Hockey UK has announced that all of Great Britain’s matches at the Olympic final qualifiers in Riga, Latvia, will be shown on ESPN.

The winners of the Group E qualifying tournament will progress through to next year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Currently 21st in the world, Great Britain will face their Latvian hosts, France and Kazakhstan, all ranked higher in the global standings, from February 7-10.

Great Britain, led by head coach Tony Hand, begin their campaign with a match against hosts Latvia on Thursday, February 7, starting at 5:30pm.

They will then face France on Friday 8th February (start: 1.30pm), and both matches of these matches will be be shown live and exclusively on ESPN.

Their final match with Kazakhstan on Sunday, February  10, will be shown either live or on delay and viewers should check listings for details.

Team GB must win the four-team tournament in Latvia to qualify for Sochi 2014.

Great Britain won Olympic gold in 1936 in Germany after winning a bronze medal at the 1924 Olympics in France.

However it has been more than half a century since their last appearance in the Olympic ice hockey competition, which came back in 1948 in Switzerland where they finished in fifth place.

Commentary on all the matches from Latvia will come from Aaron Murphy and David Simms.

IHUK general secretary Andy French, said: “The board of Ice Hockey UK are absolutely thrilled to be able to announce this deal.

“GB Men are on the verge of something historic and this is reflected by the media interest in the trip to Latvia.

“We would like to thank ESPN for working with us for live coverage in the UK and Ireland.”

BBC Radio 5 live Sports Extra will also have coverage of all three of Great Britain’s matches.

Seth Bennett will lead the BBC commentary team, plus reporter Nick Hope will cover the tournament providing news, features and interviews back to audiences in the UK.

Commenting on the BBC’s coverage, French added: “This is a fantastic showcase for the national team and we are proud to be linking up with such a prestigious organisation.

“Interest in GB is at an all-time high and we are so pleased the BBC will be with the team in Latvia.”

Jonathan Wall, Acting Controller of BBC Radio 5 live and sports extra, says: “We’re excited to be covering the ice hockey for these important qualifying games for Team GB, as the UK’s attention turns to the forthcoming Winter Olympics.

“We aim to bring audiences as wide a range of sports as possible on the radio and these matches should provide fast-paced action, thrills and spills to make for great commentary.”

Thursday 7th February
Great Britain v Latvia – Olympic Final Qualifiers (Group E)
Face-off: 5.30pm | LIVE: 5.30pm-8.00pm – ESPN
Commentary on BBC Radio 5 live Sports Extra
Friday 8th February
Great Britain v France – Olympic Final Qualifiers (Group E)
Face-off: 1.30pm | LIVE: 1.30pm-4.00pm – ESPN
Commentary on BBC Radio 5 live Sports Extra
Sunday 10th February 
Great Britain v Kazakhstan – Olympic Final Qualifiers (Group E)
Face-off: 11.00am | DELAYED: 10.30pm-12.30am – ESPN
Commentary on BBC Radio 5 live Sports Extra

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