NEILSON APPOINTED GB ASSISTANT COACH

Great Britain have appointed Corey Neilson as an assistant coach to replace Chuck Weber.

The 39-year-old Canadian now joins the staff of coach Pete Russell and assistant coach Tommy Watkins.

Weber was assistant coach for last season’s World Championship in Croatia, but his new domestic coaching job in North America means he will be unable to continue his GB role.

Russell said: “I would like to thank Chuck for his time with Great Britain. He was exceptional for us in Zagreb and he will be missed that’s for sure.

“Chuck is a great coach. We really benefitted from having him as part of the set up and we are sorry to see him go, but his talent has been underlined by the job he has taken up in the AHL.

“It is great to have Corey back with Great Britain. He has a real passion to be involved and I trust him, which is really important.

“He is very calm and that can only add to the dymanic of coaching team – and I know he will do whatever it takes to help us be successful.

“Corey is one of the most successful coaches in the UK in the last 10 years – and he is standout in terms of developing British players at an Elite level.”

Neilson, who will begin his ninth year as Panthers coach next season, won the playoffs and Challenge Cup in 2015-16 to take his tally to 11 major trophies in charge of the Elite League club.

“I am looking forward to rejoining the GB set-up,” said Neilson. “Great Britain is a real passion of mine.

“Developing British players is something I really get satisfaction from and I cannot wait to get involved with GB again. I am excited to be working with the coaching staff, management and players.

“I have a lot of respect for Pete and Tommy – and I am looking forward to working with them both. I have known Pete a long time and we have a great chemistry.”

GB will host next year’s World Championship (Division 1B) with the tournament taking place at The SSE Arena, home of Elite League side Belfast Giants.

Ice Hockey UK chairman, Richard Grieveson, said: “These are excited times for Great Britain ice hockey.

“First of all, I would like to thank Chuck Weber for his input into the GB side. He was very popular in his short time with us.

“I would also like to welcome Corey Neilson. I had a good, long chat with him on the phone and it is clear his passion for GB is very high.”

Photo credit: Karl Denham.