GB won promotion to the top tier for the first time since 1994 and will compete against such leading lights as Canada, USA and Finland in Slovakia in May.
As part of their preparations, Russell’s team will take on Dinamo Riga – one of the leading teams from the Kontinental Hockey League, regarded as one of the world’s top leagues featuring sides from Belarus, Finland, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Slovakia.
Steelers’ forwards Robert Dowd and Jonathan Phillips are joined in Russell’s initial squad by defencemen Ben O’Connor and David Phillips, as well as netminder Jackson Whistle. They will face Riga at Coventry’s SkyDome Arena on February 6.
“It will be a massive test for us, but, the truth is we have to learn play against high speed as we are going to be have to be able to handle this in Pool A,” said Russell.
“For me, getting up to that speed and speed of thought will be the biggest challenge for us and we want to give as many players as possible the chance to impress.”