GB TO FACE NORWAY AND POLAND

Great Britain will play two international games against Norway, along with two games against Poland, as part of their preparations for next year’s World Championship tournament in Belfast.

Norway are ranked 11th in the world and earlier this month qualified for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, Korea.

GB and Norway will meet at the National Ice Centre in Nottingham on Tuesday 1st November 2016 and at the Ice Arena Wales in Cardiff the following night, Wednesday 2nd November.

It will be the first meeting between the two sides since the 2004 World Championship (Division 1A) when they drew 4-4 in Oslo, with Ashley Tait, Colin Ward, Paul Dixon and David Clarke on target for GB.

Meanwhile, GB will play old rivals Poland at the NIC in Nottingham on Friday 14th April 2017 and in Coventry’s Skydome on Saturday 15th April 2017.

The 2017 World Championship (Division 1B) takes place on home ice in the SSE Arena in Belfast and will run from Sunday 23rd to Saturday 29th April 2017.

GB head coach, Pete Russell, said: “It will be great opportunity for all the coaching staff to get a real look at our depth of talent in a game situation and to involve prospects for the future as well.

“This will give us a better opportunity to evaluate all our players in a competitive environment and to give us the opportunity to implement our philosophy and systems.

“Having this extra time together for part of the international break is a huge step forward, not only for this season but for the future of GB hockey.

“It’s a very positive move and it’s all down to people working together to make steps to create a better process for our national team.

“I personally want to thank everyone for working tirelessly and pulling together to make this happen.

“Norway are a top-class nation and showed how good they are by qualifying for the Olympics recently.

“The task now for the coaching, management and off-ice staff is to pull it all together, on and off the ice, and be sure we have everything ready for the guys to fully maximise this time together.

“The Poland games are always excellent for us ahead of World Championship tournaments and we have built up a great rivalry with them.

“Once again, they will be two intense games and form a vital part of our World Championship preparations.”

Ticket details for all four matches will be announced shortly.