ICE HOCKEY: TWO Coventry Blaze players have been called up for Pete Russell’s 23-man Great Britain squad for the first men’s World Championship in the UK for 25 years.
Belfast’s SSE Arena will host the six-team IIHF World Championship Division 1 Group B from April 23-29, where GB will come up against Japan, Netherlands, Croatia, Estonia and Lithuania.
Liam Stewart is set to make his first World Championship appearance after being named in the 2015 squad in the Netherlands, but had to pull out because of injury, and he will be joined by Blaze team mate Russell Cowley.
There is however no place for Ross Venus who has been released from the squad which will fly out to Belfast on Thursday.
GB warmed-up for the World Championship with two games against Poland this weekend, with the Poles winning 4-1 in Nottingham on Friday before Britain won 5-4 after penalty shots on Saturday in Coventry.
Russell said: “Cutting the squad is never easy but I believe we have a fantastic 23 players who want to create some history next week.
“We have great balance across the squad and I think we will be very competitive.
“We know that the aim is the gold medal and there will be pressure on us to perform, but I believe we have the right group of players.
“The players will experience something a generation of players haven’t been able to do by playing a tournament on home ice.
“Everyone is so focused and excited about the challenges ahead.”
Ben Bowns – Cardiff Devils
Stephen Murphy – Belfast Giants
Thomas Murdy – Cardiff Devils (reserve)
Mark Garside – Belfast Giants
Steve Lee – Nottingham Panthers
Ben O’Connor – Sheffield Steelers
David Phillips – Sheffield Steelers
Mark Richardson – Cardiff Devils
Paul Swindlehurst – Manchester Storm
Jonathan Weaver – Telford Tigers
Brendan Brooks – Fife Flyers
David Clarke – Nottingham Panthers
Russell Cowley – Coventry Blaze
Robert Dowd – Sheffield Steelers
Sam Duggan – Orebro (Sweden)
Robert Farmer – Nottingham Panthers
Robert Lachowicz – Nottingham Panthers
Evan Mosey – Rockford Ice Hogs (USA)
Matthew Myers – Cardiff Devils
Craig Peacock – Braehead Clan
Jonathan Phillips – Sheffield Steelers
Colin Shields – Belfast Giants
Liam Stewart – Coventry Blaze