Surbiton captain Chris Grassick has declared the upcoming summer as an exciting time for British hockey and is eager to make it into the GB final squad with gold medal success the target.
The summer kicks off with the Champions Trophy in London June 10-17, followed by the Rio Olympics in August, and Grassick is hopeful of involvement having played full-time for GB for the past three years.
The 25-year-old forward has featured 14 times for GB, a further 85 times for Scotland, and appeared in the World League Final in India at the end of last year, scoring once in five matches as GB finished in sixth place.
But despite training with GB on a full-time basis, Grassick knows it will be tough to make the 16-man squad for the two major tournaments.
But he remains hungry for further involvement following game time in India.
The Scottish international said: “It’s really hard to tell if I will make it into the final squad. There are 25 in the squad currently and as only 16 make the final cut, it’s going to be really difficult.
“But things are going well with the team and I will give it all I can and work hard to make it.
“The World League Final was my first major tournament for GB and I loved it, it was a great experience for me and has made me really want to be involved more.
“I captained Scotland in the Commonwealth Games which was one of the highlights of my career and can only hold me in good stead for future international tournaments.
“It’s an exciting time for hockey in the UK and me personally with these big tournaments coming up.
“It’s fantastic for the Champions Trophy to be held here in the UK and hopefully we get big crowds.
“We are in it to win it and go for medals. Our target is gold and we are ranked fourth in the world but there is not much between the top teams in the world so we have a chance.”
Now in his sixth season at Surbiton, Grassick called the move one of the best decisions he’s ever made and is thankful to them for allowing him to be able to reach his goals.
“It is one of the best decisions I have made in my life to move from Edinburgh,” he added.
“I moved to Surbiton to make it in the GB team and that’s what I have done since 2012, so I owe the club a lot in that regard.”
Surbiton finished second in the Premier League regular season and will meet Reading in the play-off semi-final on April 16 at Lee Valley, a team they’ve beaten twice already this campaign.
The club finished third last season, losing 2-0 to Wimbledon in the play-off semi-finals and finished runners-up in 2013 and, with no league title since 2001, Grassick knows it would be a huge achievement to put this right.
He said: “This is my sixth year at the club and we have always been in the top three after the regular season. It would be huge for us and a great statement to make if we were to win the league.
“We had a really strong start in first half of the season then we fell away after Christmas but now everything is coming together for us.
“The most important thing is the play-offs and going into them in good form.
“Reading are a very good team and we have had two good games against them in the league so we will be confident going in to it.
“They have quality players so you have to give them respect but anything can happen in a one-off game.”
Image courtesy of Tim Reder Photography, with thanks