LAST YEAR: 2nd in IIHF World Championship Division 1 Group B
COACH: Peter Russell.

As the countdown to the historic World Championship Division 1 Group B in Belfast continues, we take a look at the six teams who will play in the first men’s World Championship in the UK for 25 years. Here’s the lowdown on hosts Great Britain…

Silver medallists in the last two World Championships, Great Britain are the host nation for the first time in a generation.

Coach Peter Russell has named his 23-man squad who he hopes will make use of home ice and a home crowd to take that final step and gain promotion back to Division 1 Group A.

Last weekend the team split a two-game warm up series with D1A side Poland, going down 4-1 in Nottingham before a thrilling 5-4 shootout win the following day in Coventry.

As far as tournament opponents are concerned Croatia, Estonia and Lithuania return from last year’s group at Dom Sportova in Zagreb.  Great Britain won 4-1 against Croatia, 4-3 against Estonia and 8-0 over Lithuania.

Britain also beat Romania 6-1 – Romania were relegated – before losing 2-1 to eventual gold medallists Ukraine on the final day.

Netherlands replace Romania from D2A while Japan come down from D1A to fill the top seed spot.

GB play their opening match at 4pm before taking the evening face off (7.30pm) for the rest of the week.