China won all of the five games in Division I Group B at the Women's Ice Hockey World Championships in Katowice, Poland between April 8 and 14. As the leader of Group B, China will be promoted to Group A.
Yu Baiwei, captain of the Chinese national team, believes the franchise' incredible performance came from the experience and confidence they have built at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games at home.
China beat South Korea, Italy, Slovenia, Kazakhstan and Poland in the tournament. "We have overcome various difficulties and performed well at the World Championships," Yu said in an interview with Xinhua News Agency. "As captain, I was so glad to see we secure victory and gain confidence via teamwork in the game."
The Chinese national team was participating in the tournament with an incomplete squad as it took place right after the Winter Games, meaning some of the first team players were still carrying injuries. This made the victories even more precious.
"Both individual players and the team have more trust in the group," Yu said. "We were faster in driving counter attacks and scored a lot of great combinations. Teamwork made the games easier and smoother. We enjoyed it and pocketed good results in the end."
China played against the Czech Republic, Denmark, Japan and Sweden at Beijing 2022, beating Denmark and Japan. Yu said the team never gave up even facing strong opponents and fought until the last second in every game at the Winter Olympics. The four games made the Chinese national team a more confident and united franchise.
"The team is now at a new level," Yu told Xinhua.
China made it back to Division I Group A after 11 years. They will face much stronger rivals including Norway and Austria. Yu admitted the team still has a lot of problems to fix. For example, they need more time to adapt to unfavorable situations in the games; sometimes the team couldn't find their best form quickly enough and conceded goals early.
"First we need to set a clear goal, which is to prepare for the next Winter Olympic cycle, and work hard to beat every challenge on our way to the goal," Yu said. "The latest challenge will be the "World Championships next year. We will meet some of the opponents we haven't played before. Before that we will study their games while trying to improve ourselves to accomplish a good result at the tournament. We will keep moving forward for victory.