Who is playing and who is not …?
Following the IIHF decision to withdraw hosting from the Belarus group, the 2021 World Championships is undergoing a rapid reorganisation with Riga, Latvia, now hosting the entire event.
Whilst everyone outside the IIHF Committee and the Belarus Government wanted the tournament removed from Belarus long ago it took the threat of sponsorship withdrawal from key partners Skoda, Tissot and Nivea to force the IIHF’s hand.
There is huge financial pressure on the IIHF to hold the tournament and it is likely to lead to a reorganisation using the ‘bubble format’ that was seen in the World Junior Championships held recently in Canada. Latvia is using its Olympic Centre close to the Riga Arena as a temporary facility with 6,000 capacity as a second venue. We are told fan tickets will go on sale soon but would expect severe limitations on numbers and have no indication whether this will be limited to local fans. Any GB fans will be hampered by any quarantine or travel restrictions in place.
How does this effect Great Britain given that most European and North American leagues are functioning? Whilst World Championship relegation is not possible, due to the cancellation of Division One, can GB raise a squad for 2021 and will our domestic leagues have recovered in time for us to challenge for retention of our top 16 status in Finland next year.
Maintenance of our World Ranking points, and the associated IIHF funding, is essential for IHUK to continue the ongoing development of the sport in our country.
Following on from the IHUK Media Article in October (link), we have revisited the latest updates on the GB players movements for the 2020-21 season.
GB’s netminder joined Graz99ers in the Austrian Elite League. After playing the first three games of the season he suffered an injury which kept him out until mid-January since which he has iced in the last three Graz games.
Along with GB teammate Brett Perlini, joined Val Pusteria in Northern Italy for the start of the season. With the Italian League closed the competition is limited to the Alps Hockey League covering teams in Italy, Austria and Slovenia. Stevie has featured in 15 of the 25 games through to late January.
Joined Dunaujvarosi in the Hungarian Erste Liga. With nine defensemen on the squad competition is fierce and Davey returned to the UK having iced 12 games for the side through mid-December.
Joined EHC Bad Nauheim for the start of DEL2 and currently leads their defensive scoring with 9 points.
Joined EV Duisberg in DEL3 in October 2020.
Along with GB teammate Stephen Lee, joined Val Pusteria in Northern Italy for the start of the season. His first 20 games saw him with a record of 9+18 for 27 points.
Started his second season with Lausitzer Fusche in DEL2 but left in early December after only 6 games (3+3).
Played in the NIHL Streaming Series, Milton Keynes Lightening and recently signed for Unia Oswiecim in Poland.
After spending October and November in Bordeaux, where he iced 4 games (1+3), he is now at Carcovia Krakow in Poland scoring 3+4 over 13 games through to mid-January.
The GB captain joined EHF Passau Black Hawkes in DEL2 for the start of their season but left in early January after a goal and assist in 8 games.
After icing 48 games for Lausitzer Fusche in the 2019-20 DEL2 season, scoring 67 points (18+49), Mike has moved to Denmark for the 2020-21 season, first with Odense Bulldogs and more recently with Frederikshavn White Hawks. So far in Denmark, Mike is averaging a point per game with 9+14.
After splitting his time between the AHL and ECHL in 2019-20, Scott joined ECHL Orlando Solar Bears and played 5 games before being released at the end of January.
Brendan has joined the Greenville Swamp Rabbits in the ECHL whose season started at the end of December.
Since 2009-10 Joey has been based in Germany and for the last six seasons has played in the DEL2. He is now in his fourth season at ESV Kaufbeuren and has played all their games in 2020-21.
Rob joined HC Eppan in Italy2 in October, so far featuring in 9 of their 12 games and leading their scoring with 4+7.
After a frustrating 2019-20 season where he was injured early on, Evan moved to Gap in the French Ligue Magnus for the new season, icing 8 times (4+6) before joining up with Pete Russell’s EHC Frieburg in DEL2.
After a second season at the Peterborough Petes where he turned in a 50 point return, Liam was loaned to Swedish side Hanhals playing through to mid-December before being recalled by the Petes. The original plan for the OHL was for players to return in January for a February 4th start but this has been delayed following Ontario lockdown on the 26th December.
Ben Lake and Ben O’Connor
NIHL Streaming Series, Sheffield Steeldogs.
NIHL Streaming Series, Milton Keynes Lightening.
Josh Batch, Ben Davies and Matthew Myers
NIHL Streaming Series, Swindon Wildcats.
DEL2 Coach of the Year 2019-2020 has remained at EHC Frieburg in what looks like another successful season. Through mid-January they were second in the table, but in the past week have dropped three games remaining firmly in the play-off zone.
Jason ‘Taffy’ Ellery
Where would the best GB Equipment Manager go to ply his trade? Obviously with the best GB Coach … Taffy joined Pete at EHC Frieburg in October.