Cardiff Devils netminder Ben Bowns says the Great Britain squad have remarkable belief in each other.
The Yorkshireman who backstopped Devils to play-offs glory and Britain into the top flight says that belief will key to their hopes the longer their World Championship tournament goes on.
GB begin their first top-flight World Championship campaign since 1994 on Saturday when they face Germany in Kosice, Slovakia.
This is followed by matches against Canada, Denmark, USA, Finland, Slovakia and France, with the group stage running until May 20.
— Belfast Giants (@BelfastGiants) May 9, 2019
Asked whether GB could extend their stay in the top flight beyond a year, Bowns said: “Why not? Not many people gave us a chance in Budapest of avoiding relegation last year.
“The key thing is that we believe in ourselves and we will go to battle for each other. The team spirit in the GB camp is always key. We all get along on and off the ice.”
The Rotherham-born goalie made his debut in 2013 and has since established himself as GB’s first-choice netminder.
He played a major part in their promotion in Budapest last season, saving two penalty shots in the tournament, including one in the gold medal-winning final game against Hungary.
“It is amazing to think the type of player we are going to play against at the tournament,” said Bowns.
A @IIHFHockey Facebook Live went behind the scenes with GB and @Oconnor81ben81 today as they squad prepared for and undertook their headshots photography and animated GIFS #IIHFWorldshttps://t.co/bPbo8qR4Y8 pic.twitter.com/rmkKlgEB6h
— Team GB Ice Hockey (@TeamGBicehockey) May 9, 2019
“It is hard to explain how you feel to win something like we did in Hungary.
“We win with our clubs and that’s great, but to win for the nation with all these guys is literally indescribable.
“Everyone is looking forward to playing these top-class players and testing ourselves against the best in the world.
“We have come so far in short space of time. Two promotions in two years was a massive achievement.”
GB forward Luke Ferrara said: “We had a fantastic training camp week in Michalovce, but it now feels very real by being at the tournament venue.
“The team are raring to get started if I am honest. This is the most exciting thing to be a part of for a generation.
“We know we are going to have to raise our game and we saw that against Slovakia last weekend.
“But it is a challenge we are really looking forward to undertaking.”
Forward Robert Lachowicz says there is an air of anticipation like he has never known as Great Britain continue their preparations for their first top-flight World Championship game in a quarter of a century.
“Any build-up to a World Championship is exciting but this is something else,” said Lachowicz.
“We know we are about to embark on something special and you can tell there is an amazing feeling of anticipation in the camp.
“To be able to play the best teams and some of the best players in the world is something that will live with us all I am sure for a long time.
“But we are not coming here just to make up the numbers, we believe we can make an impact at the tournament.”