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Team Great Britain name 31-player roster for Euro Ice Hockey Challenge

Team GB - Sam Ruopp, Belfast Giants (Image: William Cherry)

Team Great Britain head coach Pete Russell has named a 31-player squad for the Euro Ice Hockey Challenge.

Team GB’s roster is headlined by the return of Mikkelin Jukurit forward Liam Kirk, who missed the previous international window with a lower-body injury, and a handful of first-time selections for newly-eligible Elite League players.

Coventry Blaze duo Nathanael Halbert and Johnny Curran both earned their debut inclusions, with Belfast Giants defenceman Sam Ruopp also called-up for the first time.

Team GB’s roster for the Euro Ice Hockey Challenge includes five players based overseas: Josh Tetlow (Roki, Finland), Ollie Betteridge (Ferencvarosi, Hungary), Cade Neilson (University of Alaska Fairbanks, USA), Brett Perlini (Herning Blue Fox, Denmark), and Kirk (Jukurit, Finland).

Euro Ice Hockey Challenge -- Liam Kirk, Jukurit and Team GB (Image: Mikko Kankainen)

Euro Ice Hockey Challenge: Liam Kirk, Jukurit and Team GB (Image: Mikko Kankainen)

Netminder Jordan Hedley, who is on a two-way deal with Coventry and the Milton Keynes Lightning, is the only National League player to make the cut.

Forward Scott Conway is a notable omission from the squad, with the in-form Belfast forward opting to sit out of the Euro Ice Hockey Challenge.

“For everyone wondering why I am not playing for Great Britain this year: hockey takes a toll on players mentally and physically and I just need some rest time,” the 27-year-old tweeted. “The season this year is intense and the recovery days are much-needed.”

Forward Luke Ferrara is another notable absentee.

When asked about the composition of his squad, Russell said: “Naming a 31-player group gives us the perfect opportunity to run our eye over a number of players ahead of the World Championship. It’s important that we get together ahead of the Worlds and these three matches will be good preparation for us.

“It’s great that we are using the international break and I would like to thank everyone involved from the Elite League and Ice Hockey UK for making this happen.

“This is the start of an exciting year for us, with us having a World Championship on home ice in a few months too.”

The four-team tournament, which will see Team GB face Japan, Poland, and Romania in preparation for the IIHF World Championship, will be played on the weekend of 10-12 February in Nottingham, Milton Keynes, and Coventry.

Team Great Britain Roster, Euro Ice Hockey Challenge:

Quick Facts: Euro Ice Hockey Challenge

Team GB were relegated from the top pool of the World Championship last summer and will host the Division 1A tournament this spring.

Manchester Storm forward Cam Critchlow is set to make his international debut.

Team GB are the highest-ranked team at the Euro Ice Hockey Challenge: GB (18), Poland (22), Romania (24), Japan (25).

Sheffield Steelers forward Brandon Whistle is also set to make his first appearance for Great Britain.

Liam Kirk will make his first international appearance since leading the 2021 IIHF World Championship in goals.

Pete Russell’s squad includes zero players based in Scotland.

Jordan Hedley is the only National League player included.

Cade Neilson is the only NCAA player included.

Are you excited for the Euro Ice Hockey Challenge? Join the debate by tweeting @BritIceHockey.

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