Belfast Telegraph

Thompson confident young team can build for the future

The Great Britain coach Paul Thompson would be "delighted if we are challenging for a medal this year" as the team prepare for the World Championships in Austria.

Great Britain face Poland in their first game tomorrow and then take on the hosts, followed by Korea and the Netherlands before rounding off the tournament against Kazakhstan.

Thompson said: "It is a very tough group. Some of the teams have played Pool A before and will be experienced.

"We are perhaps missing that little bit of depth and our defence, apart from Jonathan Weaver, is inexperienced at national level but they have been playing top-level hockey in the UK for a few years now.

"The key for us is progression. We have a very young team and we are building for the future. We won't run before we can walk.

"It is going to be tough but I will be delighted if we are challenging for a medal this year."

Four players are in line to make their World Championship debuts, but Belfast Giants' Canadian-born defenceman Shane Johnson is not participating as he will not receive his British passport in time.

Forwards Greg Chambers and Matt Towe have been rewarded for impressive seasons with Basingstoke Bison and Cardiff Devils respectively, while Milton Keynes Lightning forward Gary Clarke is the sole representative from the English Premier League.

Hull defenceman Luke Boothroyd is also included after Johnson's withdrawal.

Sheffield Steelers forward Warren Tait and Nottingham Panthers defenceman Danny Meyers, who had previously been unavailable for selection, were called into the squad.

The Canadian forward Joe Tallari will not be returning to Manchester Phoenix next season after accepting an offer from a club in Italy.

Tallari posted 55 goals and 38 assists in 59 appearances last term, finishing fifth in the overall standings in the Elite League.

Player-coach Tony Hand said: "Joe has an Italian passport and wanted to investigate his chances of playing in Italy in order to try to qualify for the national team."


From Belfast Telegraph