As the countdown to ice hockey’s IIHF World Championship reaches the two month mark, Great Britain Men’s head coach Doug Christiansen today announced an initial 35-man squad.
Nine uncapped players feature in Christiansen’s first squad since taking over, with Coventry Blaze’s Russell Cowley declaring himself unavailable because of work commitments.
The squad will be cut to 27 for the start of Great Britain’s pre-World Championship training camp in April and then reduced to the 23 players for Lithuania after GB’s two home internationals against Netherlands.
The Great Britain squad will travel to Vilnius for the World Championship (Division 1B) from 20th to 26th April and will come up against hosts Lithuania, along with Croatia, Netherlands, Poland and Romania.
Christiansen said: “We wanted to get a nice blend. There are a number of players knocking on the door and also a number of top-quality players in our league.
“We want to get to Lithuania and hit the ground running. Our expectation and goal is to finish top of the group.
“But you look at the teams in our group – Netherlands have done well and Poland have been excellent.
“Poland have beaten Italy, Hungary and Ukraine. They are a team who views this as the same opportunity that we do.”
GB’s warm-up games with the Netherlands will take place at Ice Sheffield on Saturday 12th April (7:30pm) and in Coventry’s Skydome (5:15pm) the following day.
“Being able to get the guys together and put them on the ice is important,” added Christiansen.
“It is great there is a quality team coming in to play us before we travel and being a team in our World Championship group it will give us the opportunity not only to see our own players, but to see them.
“I think it is going to be something for us which is very, very important.”
GB LONG-LIST PRELIMINARY SQUAD
Ben Bowns – Hull Stingrays
Stevie Lyle – Swindon Wildcats
Stephen Murphy – Belfast Giants
Mike Will – Braehead Clan
Josh Batch – Cardiff Devils
James Griffin – Coventry Blaze
Steve Lee – Nottingham Panthers
Sam McCluskey – Dundee Stars
Danny Meyers – Sheffield Steelers
Ben O’Connor – Arlan Kokshetau
David Phillips – Belfast Giants
Kevin Phillips – Belfast Giants
Mark Richardson Cardiff Devils
Paul Swindlehurst – Dundee Stars
Mark Thomas – Sheffield Steelers
Jonathan Weaver – Nottingham Panthers
Jonathan Boxill – Nottingham Panthers
David Clarke – Nottingham Panthers
Ben Davies – Cardiff Devils
Matty Davies – Hull Stingrays
Robert Dowd – Sheffield Steelers
Robert Farmer – Nottingham Panthers
Mark Garside – Belfast Giants
Matt Haywood – Braehead Clan
Jason Hewitt – Sheffield Steelers
Phil Hill – Sheffield Steelers
Robert Lachowicz – Nottingham Panthers
Matthew Myers – Cardiff Devils
Aaron Nell – Swindon Wildcats
Craig Peacock – Belfast Giants
Jonathan Phillips – Sheffield Steelers
Colin Shields – Belfast Giants
Ashley Tait – Coventry Blaze
Matt Towe – Braehead Clan
Ross Venus – Coventry Blaze