Updated: 15/04/2012 21:23 | By pa.press.net

Hand names GB squad

Ice Hockey

Ice Hockey

Coach Tony Hand has named his first GB squad for the upcoming World Championships in Slovenia.

Hand took over from previous coach Paul Thompson last year after the Coventry Blaze boss stepped down to concentrate on domestic matters with the midlands outfit.

The only men unavailable for the tournament which begins on Sunday are Coventry defenceman Russ Cowley, who is recovering from a concussion, and fellow Blaze blueliner Jonathan Weaver, who has personal commitments.

GB narrowly missed out on promotion to the world group last year but face an even tougher task this time, with the hosts, Austria, Ukraine, Japan and Hungary all battling it out to get into the top tier.

And while Hand knows his side face an uphill battle, he also believes they are capable of springing a surprise.

He said: "We are taking another very competitive squad and there is great confidence amongst everyone that we can do well.

"With the new format for the World Championship, it means it will be much tougher than in previous years, but we are up for the challenge. We will be playing two nations relegated from Pool A last year in our first two games.

"Paul Thompson and his staff have given us a great platform to build on and I reckon we can surprise a few people again this year. There is no doubt we have five tough matches ahead, but I am confident we have the experience and talent to compete in every game. Anything is possible in World Championship hockey and we cannot wait to get started.

"Every time you pull on a GB shirt or tracksuit it is a great honour and every one of us has a feeling of pride at the moment. We intend to make everybody back home proud of our performances."

Team GB squad for World Championships (Division 1A): Stephen Murphy (Belfast Giants), Geoff Woolhouse (Sheffield Steelers), Ben Bowns (Sheffield Steeldogs); Stephen Lee (Nottingham Panthers), Danny Meyers (Nottingham Panthers), Corey Neilson (Nottingham Panthers), David Phillips (SønderjyskE), Mark Richardson (Cardiff Devils), Mark Thomas (Sheffield Steelers); David Clarke (Nottingham Panthers), Robert Dowd (Belfast Giants), Robert Farmer (Coventry Blaze), Owen Fussey (Coventry Blaze), Mark Garside (Belfast Giants), Jason Hewitt (Sheffield Steelers), Phil Hill (Cardiff Devils), Jeff Hutchins (Dundee Stars), Robert Lachowicz (Nottingham Panthers), David Longstaff (Guildford Flames), Matthew Myers (Nottingham Panthers), Craig Peacock (Belfast Giants), Jonathan Phillips (Sheffield Steelers), Colin Shields (Sheffield Steelers).

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