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Garside striving to regain place in Great Britain panel by performing well for Panthers in EIHL Series


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Mark Garside

Mark Garside

©William Cherry / Presseye

Mark Garside

Belfast Giants defenceman Mark Garside is keen to force his way back into the Great Britain set-up after a three-year absence by impressing during the upcoming EIHL Series.

The 32-year-old has been unlucky with injuries over the last couple of seasons and but for them he would have likely been part of the squads which have risen through the ranks into the World Championships.

And with Great Britain heading to Riga next month for their second year in the top tier, Garside wants to be back in the squad selected by head coach Pete Russell and he knows performing well for EIHL Series club the Nottingham Panthers will help his cause.

"I really want to make the GB team this year. After missing out the last couple of years because of injuries, that can kind of take you out of the frame a bit because it's easier for the coaches to keep picking the same players," said Garside ahead of the Panthers' opening game against the Sheffield Steelers tomorrow.

"I'd spoken to Keefer (Belfast Giants head coach and GB assistant coach Adam Keefe) throughout the year and I said to him I really wanted to play this year now I'm injury-free.

"A few of the guys have been out playing in Europe, so for the ones that haven't had the chance to do that yet this is a good chance to impress. I'm looking forward to getting on the ice, getting training and hopefully getting picked again."

As for their chances over the next few weeks, Garside is encouraged by what he's seen with the Panthers.

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"I was able to get on the ice twice a week in Belfast, me and Jackson Whistle and a couple other guys, but it was nowhere near the level we've been playing at the last couple of days. It's good fun but it's been tough on the legs!" laughed Garside.

"Tim Wallace likes fast practices so it's been pretty good. It's been good to see a different coach and see different ideas. He's already talked to us about how he wants us to play and it's given me a new perspective.

"We've got a full squad and everybody's looking to impress. We've a lot of young guys who are full of energy and want to show what they've got."

Fellow Giants defenceman Paul Swindlehurst will miss at least the first weekend of matches after his EIHL Series club Coventry Blaze announced he is out with a shoulder injury.


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