Ice Hockey UK have launched plans for new under-12 and under-14 elite development squads ©IHUK

Ice Hockey UK (IHUK) has announced plans to launch under-12 and under-14 elite development squads to help develop the sport in Britain.

The decision was the key point to emerge from the  inaugural meeting of the newly established GB Programme Board

Both squads will be split into North and South and will run from the 2017-2018 season.

Britain already has elite development squads at under-16, under-18 and under-20 level. 

The new performance and technical director (PTD) - a role which IHUK is currently seeking to fill - will oversee these squads and will be supported by Mark Beggs in his role as national development officer.

"The GB programme was a priority area for review and development for me when I was appointed," IHUK chairman Richard Grieveson.

"One of the areas of focus was to review and to develop proposals to change the fragmented development continuum in place.

"The Board approved proposals to implement a new approach aimed at ensuring our talented athletes were engaged in a quality development pathway at an earlier stage in their development, at a life stage when they can start to be taught and coached the same style, philosophy and ethos.

"This style, philosophy and ethos will run as a golden thread throughout the whole programme from under-12s to the the men’s team and will be overseen to ensure the quality of delivery by our new PTD.

"I’m delighted that the Board have, in a relatively short period of time already, supported the employment of a PTD, the establishment of a GB Programme Board to provide guidance and support to our GB staff and now a new sports development continuum to provide better opportunities for our future GB players to reach their maximum potential.

"This is another step forward in terms of evidencing our ambitions as a Federation."