Head coach Pete Russell has confirmed his final 23 players to represent Great Britain in April’s World Championship in Eindhoven, Netherlands and two international fixtures against Poland.
Russell has awarded six debut caps in his new-look squad, including Cardiff’s Josh Batch, Chris Blight (Dundee), Jonathan Boxill (Nottingham), Matt Haywood (Braehead) and two forwards currently playing in North America, Jack Prince (University of Alabama-Huntsville) and Liam Stewart (Spokane Chiefs).
Experienced internationals, Coventry’s Russell Cowley and Sheffield’s Mark Thomas, both earn recalls to the national side following strong domestic seasons – Thomas having been called into the squad late because of the injury to Nottingham’s Stevie Lee.
Despite getting closer to fitness, Belfast netminder, Stephen Murphy will not be risked, given the potential requirement to have to play five games in seven days.
Swindon’s hugely experienced keeper Stevie Lyle has been called up to form GB’s netminding duo with Cardiff’s Ben Bowns, while Telford’s championship-winning goalie Tom Murdy will travel with the team as the emergency netminder.
“I am delighted to announce my first Great Britain team to represent our country at the World Championship in Eindhoven,” said Russell.
“Since Christmas, we have watched a lot of hockey and evaluated all our available options but, more importantly, searched for the right players who we believe fit into our playing philosophy and identity.
“When taking on the role of head coach, I stated my goal to implement a new identity of play and to select players who fit into each role to make our group more balanced and complete as a unit.
“I believe we have done this and we have selected the right individuals for this period of the process.
“We have players returning with good international experience and we have some new blood coming into the fold as well, which is exciting.
“We have a good mix of speed, skill, power and grit. We also have the right mix of offensive-minded talent and more defensive-minded talent.
“For me, this is vital to us while pushing forward to reach our goals for not only this championship but for our future.
“A few months ago I openly said that the Great Britain player we are looking for should have the following must-have qualities; high levels of work ethic, good technique and technical ability, compete, good character and good mentality.
“We have selected players with those qualities and now it’s all about bringing them together as a team.
“I will not make any big predictions but what I will promise is these 23 individuals will work tirelessly to do our country proud every time we step on to the ice.”
GB will play two games against Poland next month as part of the training camp.
The two sides meet at the National Ice Centre in Nottingham on Thursday 9th April (7:30pm) and in Coventry’s Skydome on Friday 10th April (7:30pm).
Ben Bowns – Cardiff Devils
Stevie Lyle – Swindon Wildcats
Tom Murdy – Telford Tigers
Josh Batch – Cardiff Devils
Russell Cowley – Coventry Blaze
Ben O’Connor – Sheffield Steelers
David Phillips – Belfast Giants
Mark Richardson – Cardiff Devils
Paul Swindlehurst – Dundee Stars
Mark Thomas – Sheffield Steelers
Jonathan Weaver – Telford Tigers
Chris Blight – Dundee Stars
Jonathan Boxill – Nottingham Panthers
Robert Dowd – Sheffield Steelers
Robert Farmer – Nottingham Panthers
Mark Garside – Belfast Giants
Matt Haywood – Braehead Clan
Robert Lachowicz – Nottingham Panthers
Matthew Myers – Cardiff Devils
Jonathan Phillips – Sheffield Steelers
Jack Prince – University of Alabama-Huntsville
Colin Shields – Belfast Giants
Liam Stewart – Spokane Chiefs
Mike Will – Cardiff Devils
James Griffin – Coventry Blaze
Sam McCluskey – Dundee Stars
Sam Oakford – Nottingham Panthers
Ben Davies – Braehead Clan
Joey Lewis – Bad Tolz
Craig Peacock – Belfast Giants