With Great Britain returning to the top division of the IIHF World Championships for the first time since 1994, they’re embarking on an elaborate course of preparation for the competition in May, with their first test coming against Dinamo Riga next month.
On February 6th, GB will play host to the Latvian side who play in the Kontinental Hockey League, in the first of five games before the World Championships.
After the opening game against Riga in February, GB will take on Italy and Hungary in a three-team tournament in Coventry in April, before taking on another KHL side Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod in two games in Nottingham and Sheffield.
A lot of usual faces are back for Pete Russell’s squad, Ben Bowns and Jackson Whistle are called in for the goaltending duties, while there will be some players called in for the first time in Ben Lake and Tim Billingsley.
Head Coach Pete Russell has left out some of the usual suspects for GB in favour of getting game time for younger players, which will help create more competition for a spot on the final team.
There is still plenty of time for things to change before the full roster is announced ahead of the World Championships, but the general feeling is that a lot of names on the list will be in with a chance at making the final team, like Ciaran Long and Jordan Cownie who are called in for February’s game with the two players having great seasons for their respective clubs.
Great Britain come into the tournament in May on the back of two straight gold medals, earning back-to-back promotions, and while they come in as the lowest ranked side at 22nd on the IIHFs World Rankings, they’ll hope the warmup games will give them enough preparation to cause an upset or two in Slovakia to avoid relegation straight back down to Division 1A.
Ben Bowns – Cardiff Devils
Jackson Whistle – Sheffield Steelers
Tim Billingsley – Nottingham Panthers
Dallas Ehrhardt – Manchester Storm
Mark Garside – Belfast Giants
Steve Lee – Nottingham Panthers
Evan Mosey- Cardiff Devils
Ben O’Connor – Sheffield Steelers
David Phillips – Sheffield Steelers
Mark Richardson – Cardiff Devils
Zach Sullivan – Glasgow Clan
Paul Swindlehurst – Belfast Giants
Ollie Betteridge – Nottingham Panthers
Jordan Cownie – Dundee Stars
Ben Davies – Guildford Flames
Robert Dowd – Sheffield Steelers
Robert Farmer – Nottingham Panthers
Luke Ferrara – Coventry Blaze
Mike Hammond – Manchester Storm
Lewis Hook – Belfast Giants
Robert Lachowicz – Nottingham Panthers
Ben Lake – Coventry Blaze
Ciaran Long – Manchester Storm
Matthew Myers – Cardiff Devils
Brett Perlini – Nottingham Panthers
Jonathan Phillips – Sheffield Steelers