Leeds Knights captain Kieran Brown vows to use injury blow to fuel his future Great Britain ambitions
The 22-year-old’s inclusion in Pete Russell’s long-list squad for the World Championships was widely hailed earlier this month.
But a cruelly-timed injury sustained in the NIHL National play-off final for Leeds Knights means Brown will have to wait a while before making his senior GB bow.
His understandable disappointment at missing out on the chance of making Russell’s final 22-man squad for the tournament which gets underway in Nottingham on Saturday will have been somewhat eased by the double-winning achievements of his Leeds team.
And, despite the Knights’ captain not being allowed on the ice since lifting the play-off trophy in Coventry on April 16, he has at least been able to spend time at the GB training camp, where he has received first-class physio treatment for his lower-body injury.
It has also given him a glimpse into what might have been – meeting up with several former Sheffield Steelers’ team-mates in the shape of Liam Kirk, Rob Dowd and Jonathan Phillips in the process – and it has fuelled his desire to earn another call-up next time out.
“It was great when I got named in the initial GB squad, something I was really proud of,” said Brown, whose former Leeds team-mate Brandon Whistle also missed out on the final squad after picking up an injury in a warm-up game against Hungary earlier this week. “So it was hugely disappointing to get injured when I did – I was gutted.
“But, hopefully, I’ve got plenty of time to have other opportunities with GB and, when I sit down and think about it, it won’t take away what a great season we have had in Leeds.
“It was frustrating not to be able to get out on the ice with the other GB players, but I still wanted to get my foot in the door, go down and meet some of the guys that I’ve not met before and meet the coaches, too. So it was still a good experience for me.
“It’s a big ambition of mine to play for the GB senior team one day and this little taste of it has just given me even more drive to try and make sure I can be part of the squad next time around, hopefully.”
Brown, who finished top points scorer for the second season running in NIHL National, has represented his country at Under-18 and Under-20 level.
He believes the fact he and Milton Keynes Lightning duo – forward Sean Norris and goaltender Jordan Hedley – were called up to the initial, long-list squad by Russell is a step in the right direction.
Hedley, as third-choice goalie, was the only one to make the final cut.
“It’s a big feather in the cap for our league and great they are even looking at our league for players,” added Brown.
“I know neither Sean or me got into the final squad but it’s a big move in the right direction for our league. I believe there are plenty of other players in our league who could potentially go on to play for GB one day.”