Thompson confirms squad for Mont Blanc Euro Challenge Tournament
Great Britain ice hockey Head Coach, Paul Thompson has today announced his 33 man squad for February’s Euro Challenge Tournament in France.
The team will fly out from the UK on Monday 4th February and will play three international fixtures before returning to the UK on Friday 8th February.
The team will play Lithuania in Morzine on Tuesday 5th, Norway in Courchevel on Wednesday 6th and hosts France in Meribel on Thursday 7th February.
All players in the squad will play in two of the three games with the Belfast Giants and Sheffield Steelers players missing the last game to enable them to return to the UK a day early for their domestic fixture on Friday 8th February.
Stevie Lyle - Belfast Giants
Stephen Murphy - Stjernen, Norway
Joe Watkins - Guildford Flames
Luke Boothroyd - Hull Stingrays
Paul Dixon - Guildford Flames (withdrawn due to injury)
Leigh Jamieson - Belfast Giants
Jez Lundin - Newcastle Vipers
Paul Moran - Belfast Giants
James Morgan - Peterborough Phantoms
Ben Morgan - Sheffield Scimitars
Ben O’Connor - Edinburgh Capitals
James Pease - Coventry Blaze
Mark Thomas - Sheffield Steelers
Graeme Walton - Belfast Giants
Jonathan Weaver - Coventry Blaze
Greg Chambers - Basingstoke Bison
David Clarke - HC Alleghe, Italy
Gary Clarke - Milton Keynes Lightning
Russell Cowley - Coventry Blaze
Mark Garside - Edinburgh Capitals
Jason Hewitt - Sheffield Steelers
Marc Levers - Nottingham Panthers
David Longstaff - Newcastle Vipers
Greg Owen - Basingstoke Bison
Jonathan Phillips - Sheffield Steelers
Nathan Rempel - Peterborough Phantoms
Mark Richardson - Nottingham Panthers
Colin Shields - Newcastle Vipers
Ashley Tait - Sheffield Steelers
Warren Tait - Sheffield Steelers
Matt Towe - Cardiff Devils
Adam Walker - Manchester Phoenix
Tom Watkins - Coventry Blaze
Robert Dowd - Sheffield (replacement for Paul Dixon)
All three broadcasts will be available anywhere in the world through the BBC Coventry & Warwickshire website. To listen in, just go to www.bbc.co.uk/coventry and click on the link to the commentary.
GB Prepare for Euro Challenge
The Great Britain Ice Hockey Team fly to France on Monday morning to take part in the “Mont Blanc” Euro Challenge against Lithuania, Norway and the host Country France.
Team GB Head Coach Paul Thompson has named a 33 man squad including 7 new caps.
“It’s going to be a tough but hopefully very beneficial, few days,” explained Thompson. “This is the first time we have been able to get together mid season and play in a tournament like this. We play three tough games in three nights and that’s why I wanted to take a large squad of players and so many new faces. I want every player to play in two of the games so I can have a good hard look at how they fit in to this style of hockey.”
“Raising the ranking and profile of the National Team is so important, not just to the Great Britain team, but to the sport of ice hockey in the UK. We have the World Championships coming up in Austria in April and last year in Slovenia we missed out on a medal on goal difference. We are desperate to go one step better in Austria and taking part in this tournament makes our preparation for that event so much better. Also this time next year we could have the first round of the Olympic qualification tournament, so it’s going to be a busy time ahead.
”I think the team has a good balance, a good mix of experience and youth. Players like Weaver, Tait and Longstaff have seen it all before, they are my leaders. I want the new guys like Garside, O’Connor, Ben Morgan and Lundin to learn off them, to enjoy this whole new experience and want more. To want to make the final squad going to Austria.
”Just taking part in this event is a huge step forward for our programme. The rest of the ice hockey world has taken Team GB so much more seriously in the last year. They all know we are working very hard to make our team and our programme better. The clubs have to take a huge pat on the back for this. All the domestic clubs have been so supportive. They see that a prominent and improving national team helps raise the profile of the sport and the domestic game all around the country.”
Thompson has also confirmed that Guildford defenceman, Paul Dixon has had to withdraw from the squad through injury. Sheffield’s Robert Dowd has been called into the party.
And now after losing Dixon, apparently Weaver is also out for a month with a broken foot. He's our only good defensemen at this level and I was looking forwards to him and Dixon leading our young dmen.
Indeed, was very suprised to see Dixon included after he hadn't played for GB for years and aparantly was retired, also EPL playoff finals are during the Worlds so it is unlikely Dixon, Watkins, Gary Clarke will be available.
Shame he couldn't be ther to help out the young guys.
Losing Weaver is huge. Not really much more to say, should be back for the Worlds though.
Longstaff out as well. It's a good thing we have added Greg Chambers because we're starting to run out of our top players! Looking at other tournaments it seems as though the other nations (FRA, NOR, LTH) have played several tournaments already. I dont think GB will win a game.
Seems like almost all our best players iced - the only exceptions being Cowley and G.Clarke. Garside, Wood, O'Connor and Lundin I think were all making their debuts. Probably see Archer, Towe and Dowd and the Morgans in the next game.