Team GB ice hockey player Ricards Misins in action at the 2024 Winter Youth Olympics

Newham ice hockey player remaining positive after Winter Youth Olympic Games disappointment

A Newham teenager is keeping his head held high despite missing out on a medal at the Winter Youth Olympic Games in South Korea.

Ricards Misins, 15, was part of the 13-player squad that travelled to Gangwon in January to represent Team GB in the men’s U16 3v3 ice hockey discipline.

The Haringey Hounds Juniors player — competing in the first Winter Youth Games held outside Europe and the first to feature 3v3 ice hockey without mixed nationality teams — had hopes of returning home with a medal.

But after facing stiff competition from the likes of Denmark and eventual winners Latvia, Great Britain ultimately finished sixth in the eight-team round robin tournament, with wins coming against Spain and Chinese Taipei.

WINTER YOUTH OLYMPIAN: Ricards Misins represented Team GB in Gangwon, South Korea (Credit: Sam Mellish / Team GB)

Despite coming back empty handed, Misins insisted the experience of competing at the Games was a memorable one.

He said: “It was something special and I probably won’t get to experience something like that again.

“The scale of it was just unbelievable, it exceeded all my expectations.

“I was a bit nervous and didn’t really know what to expect going into it but reflecting on it now it really was much bigger than anything I’d imagined.”

Misins was one of 1,900 young athletes, and 39 from Team GB, to take part in what was the fourth edition of the Winter Youth Games.

One of 81 events across seven different sports, 3v3 ice hockey is played on a smaller rink than the traditional 6v6 format and permits each team three outfield players and one keeper, known as a goaltender, on the ice at any one time.

Matches consist of three periods of 16 minutes, with games lasting a total of 48 minutes.

ON THE ICE: Team GB in action against Denmark (Credit: Sam Mellish / Team GB)

Chosen from a pool of more than 50 players, Misins’ selection for the Games was all the more impressive given that this time last year he was recovering from a broken shoulder that kept him off the ice for three months.

And while Team GB had to contend with injury woes of their own just days before their tournament opener, Misins was proud of how the squad dealt with adversity.

He said: “It was a blow that two key players picked up injuries right before the tournament but we adapted well and maybe another time we could have had a shot at a medal.

“Personally, I was quite pleased with my performance. The coaches said I played really well and worked hard for the team.”

SOAKING IT UP: Team GB men’s 3v3 ice hockey squad at the Games (Credit: Tony Ellis)

Since returning from the Games, Misins admitted he has been on the receiving end of some playful ribbing from peers in his father’s native Latvia, but he also said he is more determined than ever to achieve his goals.

He revealed: “The short term plan for me is to finish the season with Haringey as strongly as possible.

“Then the long term plan is to try and seek an opportunity to play abroad next year.

“The United States is the place to be for ice hockey so that’s ideally where I want to be.”

Feature image credit: Sam Mellish / Team GB

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