ICE HOCKEY: TWO Coventry Blaze players have been called up for Pete Russell’s 23-man Great Britain squad for the first men’s World Championship in the UK for 25 years.
Belfast’s SSE Arena will host the six-team IIHF World Championship Division 1 Group B from April 23-29, where GB will come up against Japan, Netherlands, Croatia, Estonia and Lithuania.
Liam Stewart is set to make his first World Championship appearance after being named in the 2015 squad in the Netherlands, but had to pull out because of injury, and he will be joined by Blaze team mate Russell Cowley.
There is however no place for Ross Venus who has been released from the squad which will fly out to Belfast on Thursday.
GB warmed-up for the World Championship with two games against Poland this weekend, with the Poles winning 4-1 in Nottingham on Friday before Britain won 5-4 after penalty shots on Saturday in Coventry.
Russell said: “Cutting the squad is never easy but I believe we have a fantastic 23 players who want to create some history next week.
“We have great balance across the squad and I think we will be very competitive.
“We know that the aim is the gold medal and there will be pressure on us to perform, but I believe we have the right group of players.
“The players will experience something a generation of players haven’t been able to do by playing a tournament on home ice.
“Everyone is so focused and excited about the challenges ahead.”