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Lake tops list of Giants stars set to make return

 

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Around 70 British players will go into tonight's Draft as the four EIHL Series teams - the Coventry Blaze, Nottingham Panthers, Sheffield Steelers and Manchester Storm - select their rosters for the 28-game tournament, set to be held in Nottingham. (stock photo)

Around 70 British players will go into tonight's Draft as the four EIHL Series teams - the Coventry Blaze, Nottingham Panthers, Sheffield Steelers and Manchester Storm - select their rosters for the 28-game tournament, set to be held in Nottingham. (stock photo)

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Around 70 British players will go into tonight's Draft as the four EIHL Series teams - the Coventry Blaze, Nottingham Panthers, Sheffield Steelers and Manchester Storm - select their rosters for the 28-game tournament, set to be held in Nottingham. (stock photo)

Tonight's EIHL Series Draft should hold plenty of interest for Belfast Giants fans despite the team not being involved in the return of elite ice hockey in the UK next month.

Around 70 British players will go into tonight's Draft as the four EIHL Series teams - the Coventry Blaze, Nottingham Panthers, Sheffield Steelers and Manchester Storm - select their rosters for the 28-game tournament, set to be held in Nottingham.

The Series has been set up to help Pete Russell's Great Britain side get ready for May's World Championships in Riga and there are several Giants players who will be hoping to make their mark after 12 months without any competitive action.

Lewis Hook, Ben Lake and Ciaran Long are all known to be on the list of draft players after playing in the recent NIHL Spring Cup, while defenceman Mark Garside and netminders Stephen Murphy and Andrew Dickson may also be on offer.

As one of the top scoring forwards in the Elite League, Lake is in contention to be selected first overall - the Storm hold the first pick - while Long and Hook will likely be drafted early as well given their EIHL experience. If he is in the draft, Garside would come off the board pretty early as well.

A wildcard could be defenceman Paul Swindlehurst, who had been playing in Poland for Unia Oswiecim, however, they were eliminated from their play-offs on Saturday, freeing up the GB international to return for the EIHL Series, where he too would probably be an early pick.

In a snake-style draft system, the order has been set according to the teams' points totals from the 2019-20 season, meaning the Storm will pick first, followed by the Panthers, then the Blaze and finally the Steelers. In the second round, the order will be reversed.

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The draw takes place at 7pm tonight and will be streamed live on the EIHL's Facebook page.


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