SEPANG: National men’s ice hockey head coach Gary Tan is counting on his young squad to shine during their debut at the 2022 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championship Division IV in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan from March 3 to 9.

Although he admitted it will be tough for his team, Gary still hoped that all of his 20 players, aged 16 to 25, will do their very best and give their opponents a run for their money during their matches.

Gary also believed that his two youngest players, Muhd Amin Aisar Muhd Fadzli Amin and Austin Goh Chu Shern, both 16, will play an important role in his team.

“Youngsters like Aisar (Muhd Amin Aisar) and Austin will be a very important part in the team because they are actually good players.

“Even though they are 16, they just need to be brave...they will fight against real men and this is not a ‘kids’ tournament,” he told Bernama when met at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport yesterday.

Meanwhile, Gary described every game in this league-format tournament as a ‘gold medal match’ and hope that his charges will take each match seriously.

The Malaysian team will open their campaign at Gorodskoi Katok ice rink in Bishkek against Kuwait on March 3, followed by hosts Kyrgyzstan (March 5), Iran (March 7) and Singapore (March 8). - Bernama