Warm-up games are ‘ideal’ for GB, says Russell

GREAT BRITAIN have arranged some further stern tests for themselves ahead of next year’s World Championships by lining up Poland and Kazakhstan as warm-up opponents.

Pete Russell issues instructions to his players from the bench during the World Championships. Picture courtesy of Dean Woolley.

Pete Russell’s side are already hosting world No 1 team Canada at Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena in May as part of their preparations for a second successive campaign at the top level of the world game which will be held in Lausanne Switzerland.

Before they take on Canada in a sold-out game in the East Midlands, GB will play Poland and Kazakhstan.

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Russell’s team will meet Poland on Friday, April 17 at the Skydome Arena in Coventry, before the two sides face-off against each other again at Cardiff’s Viola Arena 24 hours later.

Pete Russell, GB ice hockey head coach, 2016-17 Picture: Ice Hockey UK

Kazakhstan will provide the opposition on Sunday, May 3 in Milton Keynes, 48 hours ahead ahead of the clash with Canada.

GB’s last meeting with both sides came during their successful promotion-winning campaign at the 2018 Division I Group A in Budapest.

Brett Perlini, Colin Shields, Brendan Brooks, Ben O’Connor and Jonathan Phillips were the goal-scorers in a 5-3 win over Poland, while Luke Ferrara scored his first GB goal in a 6-1 defeat by Kazakhstan.

“These are two more excellent opponents and they are sure to be three great matches as part of our preparations,” said Russell.

Ben O';Connor (partly hidden) scores against Poland in the 2018 World Championships, Division One tournament. Picture: Dean Woolley.

“We have had some terrific battles with Poland at both world championship tournaments and in warm-up games.

“Kazakhstan are always tricky opponents for us so I am looking forward to seeing how we match-up against them.

“These games - and of course the one with Canada - are vital in getting ourselves ready for Switzerland.”