Welshman Joey Lewis is fired up for Great Britain’s opening World Championship ice hockey match on Saturday.
Newport-born Lewis, who came through the Cardiff Devils youth development system and plays in DEL2 ESV Kaufbeuren, is in Slovakia with the GB squad preparing for their opening match against Germany.
And it’s this game the 26-year-old, who hails from Newport in South Wales, is looking forward to the most.
“I moved to Germany nearly 10 years ago and it came about because of an old team-mate of mine, Andrew Hirst, who now plays for Sheffield Steeldogs,” said Lewis.
“He had a try-out in Germany and there was an extra spot. We both made the team.
“Sadly for him, he had to return to the UK, but I stuck it out and I’ve never looked back.
“I have to mention Andrew as it wouldn’t have been possible without him.
“I’ve climbed up into the DEL2 and adapted well into German life.
“I’ve learned the language and have my citizenship..
“But that first game against Germany is probably the one I’m looking forward to the most.
“I’m proud to be part of both nations and I hope to get the call to be in the line-up. It will be an amazing feeling to share the ice with my other country.
“I’ve played with and against quite a few of the German team and they bring a lot to their team.I don’t think it’s a far away reach for us.”
Lewis plays for Kaufbeuren, a team situated in the south of Germany, in Bavaria.
After leaving Swindon Cougars in 2009, he joined his pal Hirst on the plane to try out with Iserlohner’s Under 18 side.
Lewis took to the new country and new league like a duck to water and never looked back.
He’s established himself in Germany’s second tier, having just completed his fourth season at a highly competitive level and although he’s represented GB at Under 18 and Under 20 level,
Post season club commitments prevented him from any prior involvement with the senior team is until now .
“Being new to the team, I just want to show what kind of player I am,” says Lewis.
“I’m a pest for opponents and can be dangerous when I get those chances.
“I never stop working and my speed is one of my biggest assets.
“I am a bit of an unknown I suppose, but I’ve made a life for myself in Germany and I’ve kept in touch with GB and with Peter Russell.
“The World Championships are usually in the middle of April andI’ve never had the chance to be part of it.
“The timing has always been against me, but this year, it works out perfectly and it doesn’t get any better to be part of these championships.
“Unfortunately I wasn’t part of what the team has done in the last couple of years, but the boys deserve a huge amount of respect for getting the nation into the top level.
“It’s a once in a lifetime thing and to be part of that is a massive opportunity.
“I’m anxious to get going and its going to be a great challenge, but it’s what we dream of and play for.
“My family will be there, too, as well as friends from Germany so I’m all booked out for tickets.
Great Britain are in Kosice after a very successful week’s training camp in Michalovce.
GB warmed up for their first top-flight World Championship since 1994 with a game against Slovakia last weekend in Poprad.
Pete Russell’s side begin their Group A campaign against Germany on Saturday before games against Canada, Denmark, USA, Finland, Slovakia and France.