The Elite Series will begin in April and will feature Coventry Blaze, Manchester Storm, Nottingham Panthers and Sheffield Steelers all playing each other to assist with the build-up to the World Championships.
And Russell spoke his delight that many of his potential squad members for the trip to Riga will get some badly needed ice time.
“It’s superb news that the Elite League are going to be active this season in this mini-series,” he said. “Firstly, it’s great for ice hockey in the UK; and secondly, it’s great for the British players to be able to get back to some normality and get active before the up-and-coming World Championships.
“Many of the potential players in the squad will now get competitive ice time ahead of May’s tournament in Latvia.
“Some of them haven’t played in a long time and others have had interrupted seasons, so it was vital they have some competitive matches ahead of a massive tournament where we will, once again, play the best teams in the world.
The entire event will be organised under the government’s Elite Sport Guidance, with regular testing and a full COVID-19 protocol in place.
The four teams will contest a regular season with 24 games in total, culminating in a best-of-three Playoff Final series with all games will be played at the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham. All games will be available to stream online from the beginning of April.
Further info on about the schedule, format, and rosters will be released in the coming days.
Elite League chairman Tony Smith revealed they worked closely with Russell to try and involve as many players in contention for the Riga trip as they could
“Our number one priority in the Elite Series is to make sure that most of the Great Britain national team players are included,” he said.
“We have already been working with Pete Russell to ensure that as many of the players that he has in mind for the World Championships in May, as possible, will be included, if they’re not already playing abroad.
“In addition to this, we are hoping to provide roster spots for as many other elite British players as want to play in this series, regardless of which teams they played for last season, plus a fine continent of import players that will ensure compulsive viewing for all hockey fans in the UK and beyond.”
“All of this combined means we can promise our fans that these games will stay true to the Elite League product they know and enjoy. Everyone is raring to go and, although it will be behind closed doors, I hope the 2021 Elite Series gives our fans back some of what they’ve been missing since September.”