The Team GB squad for the upcoming World Championships in Tampere, Finland has been released.
Team GB face Czech Republic in their first game on the 14th of May and will round out their tournament against Austria on the 23rd.
Head Coach Pete Russell has now named his 25-man squad that will be taken to Helsinki.
Ben Bowns – Dukla Trencin, Slovakia
Jordan Hedley – Coventry Blaze
Jackson Whistle – Belfast Giants
Josh Batch – Cardiff Devils
David Clements – Coventry Blaze
Sam Jones – Sheffield Steelers
Evan Mosey – Sheffield Steelers
Ben O’Connor – Csikszerda, Romania
David Phillips – Sheffield Steelers
Mark Richardson – Cardiff Devils
Josh Tetlow – Nottingham Panthers
Ollie Betteridge – Nottingham Panthers (Dependant on recovery from injury)
Scott Conway – Belfast Giants
Ben Davies – Cardiff Devils
Robert Dowd – Sheffield Steelers
Sam Duggan – Cardiff Devils
Mike Hammond – Hannover Scorpions, Germany
Lewis Hook – Belfast Giants
Robert Lachowicz – Guildford Flames
Ben Lake – Belfast Giants
Matthew Myers – Nottingham Panthers
Cade Neilson – Aberdeen Wings, NAHL
Brett Perlini – Ringerike, Norway
Jonathan Phillips – Sheffield Steelers
Josh Waller – Cardiff Devils
Netminders: Ben Churchfield (Vermilion County Bobcats, SPHL), Brython Preece (Dundee Stars). Defence: Dallas Ehrhardt (Manchester Storm), Joe Hazeldine (Manchester Storm). Forwards: Jordan Cownie (Guildford Flames), Luke Ferrara (Coventry Blaze), Mac Howlett (Guildford Flames), Jordan Kelsall (Nottingham Panthers), Ross Venus (Coventry Blaze), Brandon Whistle (Sheffield Steelers).
In a previous piece we looked at the top picks for this squad, everyone in that piece is in the squad.
Someone we did notice was mentioned a lot online was Josh Batch who has been included after a stellar season with the Cardiff Devils.
Him and Scott Conway were two of the most popular Elite League players for GB call-ups.
Batch grabbed 19 points in 54 games from Cardiff’s blueline and has been picked alongside fellow Devil Mark Richardson.
New Blood in GB camp
There are two senior debutants for this squad in the shape of Josh Waller and Cade Neilson.
At just 22 Waller has made 48 appearances for the Devils scoring 22 points in that time.
Neilson has just wrapped up his NAHL season scoring an impressive 75 points in 58 games.
Both Neilson and Waller have previously appeared together with the GB U20s side.
Russell believes this can be a good opportunity for them, saying: “One thing we wanted to do was add Josh (Waller) and Cade (Neilson) as they are the future and two talented young men who deserve this chance. This is going to be a great opportunity and experience for them both”
Another notable newcomer is 21-year-old Joe Hazeldine, he is on the reserves but has proven himself this season.
He has made 50 appearances for Manchester Storm scoring 11 points in those games.
He’s appeared for Team GB at U20 and U18s level multiple times so has experience at the top level.
Who Will Start in Net for GB?
An interesting inclusion is Jordan Hedley, the Walsall born goalie has had a senior call-up before, but hasn’t featured yet.
He has made three GB U20s and four GB U18s appearances before and did go to last years Worlds with the senior team.
It will likely be Ben Bowns who takes the lead in net, but Jackson Whistle cannot be discounted after some solid league performances for the Elite League Champions.
Defensive Experience in Abundance
As mentioned previously Josh Batch and Richardson have been picked from a solid Devils defensive line.
Steelers duo Sam Jones and Evan Mosey will also travel with the side and could compete for spots.
It would look as though Richardson and Josh Tetlow could be Russell’s preferred D-men from previous tournaments.
Ben O’Connor also appeared multiple times at last years tournament so expect him to feature too.
Ultimately Russell will want to utilise as much of his squad as possible with seven games in 10 days.
Every GB fan prayers have been answered as Scott Conway returns to the side after a blockbuster season.
The Basingstoke-born Centre scored 78 points in 53 games for Champions Belfast Giants.
Fans were hoping this would be enough to earn him a call-up by Russell and lo and behold it was.
It would be hard not to start Conway for most games after his only three games for Team GB resulted in three points.
Other than Conway it was the usual suspects with Robert Dowd also having a points-packed season.
Matthew Myers features in his 19th consecutive World Championships adding his vast experience to the side.
Team GB Preparation Begins
All that remains now is for the squad to get together and train, this begins on the 3rd of May with the first GB camp.
The side will then face Italy twice, once in Milton Keynes (5th) and once again in Coventry (10th).
Sandwiched in between these two fixtures is Denmark in Coventry (7th) and Nottingham (8th).
They will then depart to Finland on the 11th of May and play their first game on the 14th of May.
“Competition for places was tough,” says Pete Russell
Russell spoke about having to pick his squad, saying: “Despite a few injuries to key players, I really like the squad we are taking to Finland.
“As ever, competition for places was tough and I am sure there will be some disappointed players who have missed out.”
He continued: “We now firmly know what it takes to be competitive at this level and we can build on what we achieved at the past two tournaments.”
With some newcomers to the side and some experienced heads it looks to be a good balance in camp.
Despite this Russell acknowledges this is a big occasion for many, saying: “Once again, it will be a massive moment in the careers of these players to wear the GB shirt at a top-level tournament against some of the best teams in the world.”
14th May – GB vs Czech Republic
15th May – GB vs Norway
17th May – GB vs Sweden
19th May – GB vs USA
20th May – GB vs Finland
22nd May – GB vs Latvia
23rd May – GB vs Austria
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