Welshman Joey Lewis is living the World Championship ice hockey dream with Great Britain in Slovakia.
Newport-born Lewis is in the GB squad for their top flight challenge against Canada, USA, Finland, Germany and more in Kosice.
The 26-year-old admitted he was ‘gutted’ to miss out on playing in Britain’s opening match, a 3-1 defeat against Germany, but will hope to play against Canada at the Steel Arena this evening.
Lewis started his playing in South Wales at the old Wales National Ice Rink and says: “I always wanted to play for Cardiff Devils growing up.
— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) May 9, 2019
“It would be emotional and a proud moment if that ever happened.
“Devils were the ultimate club for me when I was young.”
Lewis now plays for ESV Kaufbeuren and admits it would be a big wrench to leave Germany after living and playing there for almost a decade.
“I have a German passport and German citizenship,” he says. “I see a long-term future there. I love Germany.
“Of course, it’s great to go home, see mum and eat fish and chips, but I’ve been in Germany for nine and a half years.
“That’s where my future is unless something changes. I could see myself finishing my career there.
“I just want to go out, play hockey and see how things go.”
Former Great Britain under-18 and under-20 international Lewis has been called up to the World Championship squad for the first time and is rooming with Paul Swindlehurst at the team hotel.
“I know Paul from juniors and that helped me settle in quickly,” says Lewis. “I also knew Ben Bowns, Thomas Murdy and Ben Davies from junior hockey.
“For most of the other guys it was my first time meeting them, but everybody has made me welcome.”
Lewis joined BBC commentator Seth Bennett to describe the action during a live broadcast on the Germany v GB match.
“I enjoyed it and would love to do that again,” said Lewis. “But it would be good to be ruled out because I’m on the ice.”
When Lewis was a teenager he scored 100 points over three years playing DNL (Deutsche Nachwuchs Liga), icing for EV Füssen and Iserlohner EC.
He later played for EC Bad Tölz, scoring 54 points in 44 games (19 goals, 35 assists), and Heilbronn.
Lewis made 20 Great Britain appearances in four Junior World Championships (U18/U20).
He was prolific for Hammer Eisbären and Tölzer Löwen, firing 159 points scoring 57 goals and 102 assists.
In his first two DEL2 seasons Lewis, who wears number 11, scored a respectable 60 points (24 goals/36 assists).
GB were beaten 3-1 by Olympic silver medalists Germany and defenceman David Phillips said: “We gave it a great go, but came up a little short.
“We matched the eighth best team in the world for much of the game, but just let them get away at the end.
“We all feel disappointed which shows how far we have come in recent years.
“If a few chances had gone our way – and we had some great opportunities – who knows what might have happened.”
GB return to action this evening when they face Canada (8.15pm local time, 7.15pm UK).
“It’s going to be a big challenge that’s for sure,” said Phillips.
“It’s one of the more high-profile games of the tournament for us, but we have such a great spirit so we will give it our best shot.”
Schedule for GB at the 2019 World Championship in Slovakia (face-off times local time).
Saturday, May 11: Germany 3 Great Britain 1
Sunday, May 12: Great Britain v Canada 8.15pm
Tuesday, May 14: Great Britain v Denmark 4.15pm
Wednesday, May 15: USA v Great Britain 4.15pm
Friday, May 17: Finland v Great Britain 8.15pm
Saturday, May 18: Great Britain v Slovakia 8.15pm
Monday, May 20: France v Great Britain 4.15pm
Ben Bowns – Cardiff Devils
Thomas Murdy – Cardiff Devils
Jackson Whistle – Sheffield Steelers
Tim Billingsley – Nottingham Panthers
Dallas Ehrhardt – Manchester Storm
Steve Lee – Nottingham Panthers
Evan Mosey – Cardiff Devils
Ben O’Connor – Sheffield Steelers
David Phillips – Sheffield Steelers
Mark Richardson – Cardiff Devils
Paul Swindlehurst – Belfast Giants
Ollie Betteridge – Nottingham Panthers
Ben Davies – Guildford Flames
Robert Dowd – Sheffield Steelers
Robert Farmer – Nottingham Panthers
Luke Ferrara – Coventry Blaze
Mike Hammond – Manchester Storm
Liam Kirk – Peterborough Petes
Robert Lachowicz – Nottingham Panthers
Ben Lake – Coventry Blaze
Joey Lewis – ESV Kaufbeuren
Matthew Myers – Cardiff Devils
Brett Perlini – Nottingham Panthers
Jonathan Phillips – Sheffield Steelers
Colin Shields – Belfast Giants
Canada squad: Mackenzie Blackwood; Carter Hart; Matt Murray; Thomas Chabot; Dante Fabbro; Brandon Montour; Darnell Nurse; Damon Severson; Troy Stecher; Shea Theodore; Tyler Bertuzzi; Anthony Cirelli; Sean Couturier; Adam Henrique; Mathieu Joseph; Anthony Mantha; Jonathan Marchessault; Jared McCann; Sam Reinhart; Dylan Strome; Mark Stone; Kyle Turris
Note: John Tavares was named to the roster but will not participate due to injury.