Welshman Jonathan Phillips says Great Britain’s pre-World Championship ice hockey training camp has got off to a great start.
The 28-man squad reported to the Skydome this week and GB are preparing for two international matches against Lithuania this weekend.
GB host Lithuania in Milton Keynes on Saturday (7pm) and at Coventry’s Skydome Arena the next evening (5.15pm).
After those fixtures head coach Peter Russell will cut his 28-man squad to the 23 who will represent Britain at the World Championship in Budapest, Hungary from April 22 to April 28.
Cardiff-Born Phillips, who started his playing career with home city club Devils, now plays for Sheffield Steelers and said: “The squad is buzzing and we have already had some great sessions.
“The GB squad gets few chances to meet throughout the season and this training camp is a vital part of our preparations.
“It’s a quality roster and the coaching staff will have some tough decisions to name the final 23 players.
“Competition for places is intense as everyone wants to be on the plane to Budapest next week.”
GB meet Lithuania twice this weekend and although Britain have won the past two meetings between the two sides, Lithuania had won the previous two.
“We seem to have some great battles with Lithuania,” said Phillips. “Okay, we’ve had the upper hand in the last two years, but for a couple of seasons they had our number.
“They are sure to be two great games and we are looking forward to taking to the ice.”
There are four Cardiff Devils players in the GB squad and they are goaltenders Ben Bowns and Thomas Murdy plays Matthew Myers and Mark Richardson.
Britain play in Division One Group A following their gold medal promotion in Belfast last year and will face hosts Hungary, along with Italy, Kazakhstan, Poland and Slovenia in the Papp Laszlo Sportarena.
Great Britain squad:
Netminders: Ben Bowns (Cardiff Devils), Thomas Murdy (Cardiff Devils), Jackson Whistle (Belfast Giants).
Defence: Dallas Ehrhardt (Manchester Storm), Steve Lee (Nottingham Panthers), Jeremy Lundin (Guildford Flames), Evan Mosey (Nottingham Panthers), Ben O’Connor (Sheffield Steelers), David Phillips (Sheffield Steelers), Mark Richardson (Cardiff Devils), Zach Sullivan (Braehead Clan), Paul Swindlehurst (Manchester Storm).
Forwards: Ollie Betteridge (Nottingham Panthers), Brendan Brooks (Braehead Clan), Ben Davies (Guildford Flames), Robert Dowd (Sheffield Steelers), Robert Farmer (Nottingham Panthers), Luke Ferrara (Coventry Blaze), Mike Hammond (Manchester Storm), Lewis Hook (Milton Keynes Lightning), Liam Kirk (Sheffield Steelers), Robert Lachowicz (Nottingham Panthers), Ciaran Long (Manchester Storm), Matthew Myers (Cardiff Devils), Jonathan Phillips (Sheffield Steelers), Brett Perlini (Nottingham Panthers), Colin Shields (Belfast Giants), Ross Venus (Coventry Blaze).
GB v Lithuania ticket prices: Adult £18; Under-16 £10; 16-18 £13; Senior (60+) £13; NUS Extra £13; Family (2 adult/2 children) £47
To buy tickets for GB against Lithuania at Planet Ice Arena Milton Keynes click http://iceaccount.co.uk/events/tickets_select?embed=1&client_id=16 or telephone 01908 540020.
To buy tickets for GB against Lithuania at the Skydome in Coventry click here http://iceaccount.co.uk/events/tickets_select?embed=1&client_id=7 or call 02476 630693.