Great Britain can legitimately claim to have invented ice hockey, and even won gold at the 1936 Winter Olympics -- but its modern-day heroes are struggling to uphold that heritage.
When some British solders first ventured on to the ice in Ontario, Canada in the mid-19th century to play a modified version of field hockey, they could never have dreamed a multibillion-dollar business would be the legacy.
However, while the sport has flourished in North America and other European nations, in the UK it battles a chronic lack of funding and fights for snippets of media coverage in a country where football dominates the back pages.
Team GB has not played in the Winter Games since 1948, and suffered another heartbreaking failure last week in the final round of qualifying in Riga.
Despite the setbacks, stalwart player David Clarke remains optimistic for the future of the sport.
"Great Britain isn't renowned for its ice hockey talent, but it's growing and we've made a great account for ourselves over the last four or five years," Clarke told CNN's Human to Hero series.
"So, I think gradually we are getting more respect but with that comes expectation."
A squad coached by Scotsman Tony Hand, who briefly played alongside Wayne Gretzky in the NHL, lost to 11th-ranked hosts Latvia, France and Kazakhstan, ending their hopes of going to Sochi in 2014.
"We gave a decent account of ourselves, but it would have been nice to have been able to get together as a team for more than just two days to properly prepare," said Clarke.
Andy French, general secretary of Ice Hockey UK, which now boasts over 10,000 registered players, is dismayed they receive no funding from the British sports authorities.
"Extra backing would create more revenue to enable all our teams from junior to senior level to have four international breaks per year to prepare for world championships, to bring on board a sports psychologist, team nutritionist, better preparation," he told CNN.
Clarke could have followed Hand over the Atlantic to try his hand in the toughest league of all, but decided to stay home after becoming a father at the age of 18.
He also had trials for his local professional football club Peterborough, but chose hockey.
If he has any regret at missing out on the possible riches in the NHL, or even the EPL, the 31-year-old does not show it.
He has forged a reputation as one of the star players in the British domestic league, being the all-time top scorer, and has helped Nottingham to a Playoffs and Challenge Cup double the past two seasons.
Matches are played in purpose-built arenas, with the capital cities of Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland hosting the Cardiff Devils, Belfast Giants and Edinburgh Capitals before audiences of between 5,000 to 8,000 partisan fans.
London had a team, for which Clarke briefly played, run by the Anschutz Entertainment Group -- one of the world's largest sporting owners and investors. The London Knights were wound up in 2003 after only five years when the competition they played in folded and their home stadium was sold.
The NHL hosted two fixtures between the Anaheim Ducks and the Los Angeles Kings at London's 02 Arena in 2007, but French bemoans the fact the English capital is not represented in the GB professional league.
"I think having the NHL play here is great for the fans and also does encourage people to find out where their nearest ice rink is either to go and watch a game or for the youngsters to start playing," he said.
"But one big issue that we have is that we do not have a professional team playing in London. We used to have the London Knights but they finished a few years ago now."
But Clarke is encouraged by the rise of homegrown talent in a GB team which used to be packed with dual nationality players, often of Canadian and U.S. heritage.
So can a GB team make it to a future Olympics and take a short step towards emulating the 1936 heroes?
"Without a doubt," he said. "But if we don't start now we are going to miss the opportunity.
"It's a case of getting that talent to play to the best of their abilities. Slovenia, who we have beaten, came through the qualifying to make it to Sochi, and so can we at future Games."