The fresh beginning for Great Britain men’s hockey team start’s here.
New head coach Doug Christiansen, has named an initial 35-man squad for the IIHF World Championship to be held in Lithuania this April.
The initial squad will be cut by eight for the pre-tournament training camp before being finalised at 23 players for the World Championship.
There are some less familiar names as nine uncapped players have been selected.
Goaltender Mike Will (26) Braehead Clan.
Defensemen: Josh Batch (23) – Cardiff Devils, James Griffin (20) – Coventry Blaze, Sam McCluskey (23) and Paul Swindlehurst (20) – Dundee Stars.
Forwards: Jonathan Boxill (24) – Nottingham Panthers, Matty Davies (23)- Hull Stingrays, Matt Haywood (23) – Braehead Clan and Ross Venus (19) – Coventry Blaze.
There will be two warm-up games with the Netherlands taking place at Ice Sheffield on Saturday 12th April (7:30pm) and in Coventry’s Skydome (5:15pm) the following day.
Both teams will face one another in Lithuania but not until the penultimate round of games.
Doug Christiansen had this to say about the warm-up games.
“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.”
He went on to talk about the squad.
“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.”
Refreshing to hear a hear say these words, whether you believe them or not, and it’s encouraging that he’s selected a batch of newer players, even if they don’t make the cut this time around.
A reminder that in the upcoming group, GB will be facing hosts Lithuania (26), along with Croatia (29), Netherlands (24), Poland (23) and Romania (27).
The Preliminary full squad list is below.
Ben Bowns – Hull Stingrays
Stevie Lyle – Swindon Wildcats
Stephen Murphy – Belfast Giants
Michael 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