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Hand eager to reach out to new audiences

There may have been no British involvement in the sport that provided Sochi's grand finale but the head of Scottish ice hockey believes the Winter Olympics has shown the way forward for his sport.

David Hand, chairman of Scottish Ice Hockey, admits his sport has only had itself to blame for failing to claim the spotlight in recent years.

However, as a prime move in a bid to bring its governing bodies together in creating an integrated sport, he reckons the success of the women's Olympic tournament in particular can help introduce ice hockey to new audiences.

"We're hoping the Olympics will help people to realise it's a great sport to be in," he told Herald Sport. "My aim is to raise the profile as much as we can. I watched the women's hockey and some of that was fantastic. Some of them could play in Elite [men's] Hockey."

Having those four governing bodies - Ice Hockey UK (IHUK), the Elite Hockey League (EHL), Scottish Ice Hockey (SIH) and the English Ice Hockey Association (EIHA) - has been problematic in terms of attracting support, but Hand played a major part in the recent integration of SIH into IHUK and hopes EHL and EIHA can be persuaded to do likewise.

Until they do, however, he knows they will remain winter sport's poor relations. "We're being told we'd have more chance of getting grants and BOA and UK Sport money if we're seen as one, but with ice hockey classed as a minority sport we're not getting a lot of funding like curling is," Hand explained.

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