First step in new era for Team GB
In the first step down a new path for Team GB, two Under 20’s squad have been announced for forthcoming tournaments.
Lithuania will be the first port of call in a six team tournament held from 23rd to 28th August 2013.
The tournament is dedicated to the memory of Alexei Cherepanov, a Russian hockey player who died after collapsing during a KHL game in Russia in October 2008.
Team GB will face Lithuania Under-20s, Poland Under-20s, Belarus Under-18s and Russian sides Omsk Hawks and Kapitan Stupino.
A young squad of players has been selected with the emphasis on getting valuable experience.
Nine of the players are aged 16-17, with just four 19 year olds.
Without going through each member of the squad, I’ve selected a few interesting or notable players to note.
Defenseman Ben Russell is now with Milton Keynes but spent last season in the WSHL with the Ogden Mustangs.
Josh Grieveson will be a member of the Northwood School Boys hockey program in Lake Placid this year at the tender age of just 16.
Left handed shooter Josh Cook was born in Kelowna B.C. He spent last season with Brooks Bandits and Lloydminsters Bobcats in the AJHL.
Scottish born forward Liam Morris has spent the last two seasons with OEMHL team Maroon Mavericks Midget AAA.
Ivan Antonov could be an interesting story to follow. As his name suggests, the 16 year old has Russian heritage. He’s done well in his hockey in the UK thus far, improving every season.
JJ Pitchley, one of the four 19yo’s in the squad, spent last with the Dallas Snipers of the WSHL, recording 20 goals and 32 points in 44 games.
Liam Charnock has been a member of the OHA Maroon Mavericks Midget AAA for the two pervious seasons. In 28 games last year he recorded 7 goals and 11 assists.
On August 2nd a long-list preliminary squad for December’s World Championship (Division 1B) in Dumfries, Scotland was announced.
In Team GB’s group are France, Italy, Kazakhstan, Japan and Ukraine, with fixtures to be held from 9th to 15th December 2013.
All of the above players are in that preliminary squad along with the following additions.
Scottish goalie Niall Quinn, another member of the Maroon Mavericks, like a few of his squad mates.
Defensemen include Zach Sullivan of Basingstoke, Adam Jones who’s a member of the Okanagan Hockey Academy, Craig Moore of OHA Gold Mavericks Midget AAA (OEMHL) and David Clements of the Ogden Mustangs(WSHL).
Of the forwards the majority are UK based and include Ross Venus (Coventry), Cameron Wynn (Basingstoke), Harry Harley (Whitley Bay), Floyd Taylor (Swindon) and Bobby Chamberlain (Hull).
Taylor was Captain of Team GB U18’s last year and recorded 2 goals in 5 games, whilst Chamberlain spent last season with Ogden Mustangs recording 25 points in 33 outings including 15 goals.
Shawn MacKie is a member of the Port Hope Panthers(EBJCHL) that only just lost out in the finals last season. Mackie contributed with 46 points in 37 games
The highest profile player for several reasons to be named to the squad is Liam Stewart.
Yes he is Rod Stewart’s son but let’s not dwell on that. I write hockey not for Hello magazine or the like. The 18 year old forward spent two seasons with Los Angeles Jr. Kings U16 midget team before signing with the Spokane Chiefs of the WHL.
Stewart was named the team rookie of the year in 2011/2012 with 26 points in 66 games, +8 during the season and notched a game winning OT goal in Game Six of their Western Conference Semi-Finals versus Tri-City, forcing a Game Seven.
Despite this he was unable to push on last season, recording one fewer point in five more outings.
Undoubtedly though he’ll be an asset to Team GB.
This squad will have to be narrowed down to 22 but in creating some positive competition in the group, can hopefully push the standard of those who get to take the ice.
The first step in this new era for team GB should be interesting to watch.