Russell names team for Latvia

GB Men's head coach Pete Russell has name his team for Latvia (PHOTO: Dean Woolley)

Great Britain’s Men’s head coach Pete Russell revealed certain players just missed the cut – but believes his team have good depth.

Russell has named 27 players for the trip to Latvia next month, with one more name to come as squads are allowed to have 28 this year.

And he named two such players who will be on the plane for Riga if there are any withdrawals in the build-up to the competition.

“As with any Great Britain squad, the coaching staff had many difficult decisions to make concerning this year’s team,” Russell said.

“The squad has a good mixture of experience and fantastic young talent, but I do want to give a special mention to two players – Joe Hazeldine and Josh Waller – who just missed out.

“They are exciting prospects for the future and their day will come – and what I will say is that if anyone has to pull out, they will be on the plane.”

Notable absentees from the team that survived in that dramatic final day win over France in Slovakia two years ago include Mark Richardson and Stevie Lee, who have spent the season in Germany and Italy respectively.

While Robert Farmer, a hero for GB in the previous two tournaments for his country, hasn’t played since leaving DEL 2 side Lausitzer Fuchse in December.

Manchester Storm defenceman Joe Hazeldine was on the verge of a call-up, but could still feature if there are any withdrawals (PHOTO: Karl Denham)

However, there are five players who have been called up for a World Championship squad for the first time, David Clements, Jordan Hedley, Lewis Hook, Ciaran Long and Josh Tetlow while Sheffield Steelers’ Sam Jones is in a GB squad for the first time also.

Russell added there would be players who will be missed from those previous successful campaigns, but reiterated his thanks to the Elite League for the Elite Series tournament, which has allowed a number of players some crucial ice time in a season ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic.

He added: “A number of core GB players are unavailable for selection and we will miss those players for sure, but I still feel we have some great depth across our roster.

“Once again, this is the pinnacle of any player’s career and it will be a massive honour for them to step onto the ice against some of the best teams in the world.

“Much of this has been made possible by the Elite Series and I would like to thank the Elite League once again for their assistance and providing an opportunity for British players to get competitive hockey under their belt this season.”

GB are in Group A – based in the Olympic Sports Centre – where they will come up against Russia, Slovakia, Denmark, Belarus, Sweden, Czech Republic and Switzerland between 22nd May and 1st June.

Sam Jones is in the GB squad for the first time (PHOTO: Dean Woolley)

GB roster  (players listed by their Elite Series/NIHL Cup club or current club if playing in Europe) 

Netminders

Ben Bowns – Nottingham Panthers

Jordan Hedley – Coventry Blaze

Jackson Whistle – Nottingham Panthers

Defence

David Clements – Coventry Blaze

Dallas Ehrhardt – Manchester Storm

Mark Garside – Nottingham Panthers

Sam Jones – Sheffield Steelers

Evan Mosey – EHC Freiburg

Ben O’Connor – Sheffield Steeldogs

David Phillips – Sheffield Steelers

Josh Tetlow – Nottingham Panthers

Forwards

Ollie Betteridge – Nottingham Panthers

Brendan Connolly – Sheffield Steelers

Ben Davies – Manchester Storm

Robert Dowd – Sheffield Steelers

Sam Duggan – Coventry Blaze

Luke Ferrara – Coventry Blaze

Mike Hammond – Coventry Blaze

Lewis Hook – Nottingham Panthers

Liam Kirk – Sheffield Steelers

Robert Lachowicz – Nottingham Panthers

Ben Lake – Manchester Storm

Ciaran Long – Manchester Storm

Matthew Myers – Sheffield Steelers

Brett Perlini – Nottingham Panthers

Jonathan Phillips – Sheffield Steelers

Ross Venus – Coventry Blaze

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