Keefe is backing Belfast Giants goaltender Whistle to shine on international stage
Jackson Whistle is in line to make his competitive international debut next month after being selected in the Great Britain squad for their World Championship series in Hungary.
The Belfast Giants goaltender has been instrumental in the team's success this season, playing a big part in their Challenge Cup final victory over the Cardiff Devils.
He joins the Giants' and GB's record goalscorer Colin Shields in the squad.
He is expected to face the Fife Flyers tonight when the Giants begin a series of three games in four nights as the fight to secure at least second place in the Elite League title race hots up, before home games against the Cardiff Devils on Friday and a return game against Fife on Saturday.
Giants coach Adam Keefe, who will be part of the GB coaching set-up under head coach Peter Russell, said: "Jackson has been huge for us this season, especially with Stephen Murphy being out injured since early on in the season.
"He deserves this recognition and I have no doubts over his ability to step up onto the international stage.
"He is still a young goaltender and he can be a big asset to the GB team for many years to come."
Although born in Canada, Whistle qualifies for Great Britain as he was trained by the Bracknell Bees, where his father Dave was coach before coming to Belfast in 2000.
He did play in a friendly against Norway in November 2016 before injury robbed him of a first full international cap a year ago, but he will now compete with Cardiff Devils pair Ben Bowns and Thomas Murdy for the games against Hungary, Italy, Kazakhstan, Poland and Slovenia in the tournament which starts on April 22.
Murphy and Mark Garside are ruled out after missing most of the season through injury and there is no place for Matt Towe, the Giants' other GB-born player.