With the coronavirus pandemic shutting down the 2020-21 Elite League season for now, a number of Great Britain players have made moves abroad.
Many British players are still deciding what is the best decision for them for the next few months, but some are already back in action.
We take a look at where some of the GB squad from the 2019 World Championship in Slovakia are currently plying their trade.
Netminder Ben Bowns has made the move to Graz 99ers in the top league in Austria
Upon his departure, Cardiff MD Todd Kelman, said: “I am immensely proud of him and I am so happy that he has been given this opportunity to prove himself at an even higher level in Europe. He deserves everything he gets but we are going to miss him, on and off the ice. He is a great goalie, a great team-mate and a great person.”
Bowns played the first three games of the season, posting an impressive goals-against of of 2.78 and a save percentage of 91%. However, the 29-year-old suffered a nasty injury and at present is waiting to hear how long he will be out for. Everyone connected with Great Britain wish Ben all the best.
Defenceman Steve Lee will spend the 2020-21 campaign in the Italian AlpsHL with HC Pustertal Wolves. This season was meant to be the second of a two-year deal in Guildford.
Guildford Flames head coach Paul Dixon, speaking ahead of the EIHL season being suspended, said: “Under the circumstances we didn’t feel we should try to stop him from making a decision that he believes is best for him and his family and we wish him all the best.”
Lee made his debut as Pustertal opened their league season with a 3-1 victory over Red Bull Hockey Juniors.
Defenceman Evan Mosey will play for Repaces de Gap this season in the top flight of French ice hockey.
His new side are no strangers to success with 29 national titles since being founded in 1937.
Cardiff Devils MD, Todd Kelman, is hopeful Mosey will return for 2021-22, saying: “He won’t be the last player to move on for the 2020-21 season, but we have already talked about getting him back in Cardiff for the 2021-22 season, which is a positive.”
Mark Richardson will play in the DEL2 this season with EC Bad Nauheim. Cardiff Devils announced on his departure that it was a one-year deal and they look forward to having the defenceman back in 2021-22.
Devils MD, Todd Kelman, said: “He is going to a very solid team with a good reputation. I am pleased he was able to get a job at this point because rosters are almost all filled by now. We all wish him the best of luck this season in Germany.”
The German season is set to get under way in mid-November.
Forward Robert Dowd will feature this season in Italy for HC Eppan Pirates. He made the move this week with team-mate Marco Vallerand.
Before making the switch, the GB international put pen to paper on a two-year deal with the Sheffield Steelers to take in seasons 2021-22 and 2022-23, which would see him to a testimonial year with the club.
Dowd said: “I’m excited for this new challenge with Eppan. It was important that I played this season and didn’t have a year off.”
Robert Farmer is back for a second season with DEL2 side Lausitzer Füchse, coached by Great Britain assistant coach Corey Neilson.
The DEL2 season is not set to get under way until mid-November and current government guidelines are suggesting clubs will be allowed 20% of their capacity.
Farmer scored 14 goals and contributed 21 assists for 35 points for Lausitzer last season, before covid-19 brought the season to an early end.
Mike Hammond, who was GB’s leading scorer with four goals at the 2019 World Championship, will play for Odense Bulldogs in Denmark in 2020-21.
He spent last season with Lausitzer Füchse alongside Corey Neilson and Robert Farmer where he scored 67 points, including 18 goals and 49 assists, before the season was cut short by the pandemic.
The DEL2 season is expected to begin in mid-November.
Forward Robert Lachowicz is set to play this season in the third tier of ice hockey in Germany, although his new club have yet to confirm his signing.
The Panthers announced earlier this month that he and fellow forward Jordan Kelsall – who has represented GB at both under-18 and under-20 level – would be spending the season in Europe.
Panthers director of hockey, Gui Doucet, said: “It’s so important for British players to find opportunities to play in the current circumstances. Both Rob and Jordan are black and gold through and through. We look forward to seeing them both back in our colours as soon as we can get back to work.”
Forward Joey Lewis has not played in the UK since 2008-09 when he iced for Swindon, before making the move to play in Germany.
The 28-year-old has spent the past three season with ESV Kaufbeuren in DEL2 and last season scored 34 points (17+17) before the season ended early because of covid-19.
The 2020-21 campaign in Germany is set to get under way next month.
Like his GB team-mate Steve Lee, Brett Perlini will ice in the Italian AlpsHL with HC Pustertal Wolves this season.
The 2020-21 season is already under way and Perlini grabbed an assist on the third goal as his new team secured a 3-1 victory over Red Bull Hockey Juniors.
Equipment manager Taffy – rarely known as Jason Ellery – will work with Great Britain head coach Peter Russell in Germany this season.
He has linked up with DEL2 side EHC Freiburg who announced his signing today, Thursday 8th October 2020.
Taffy has worked with GB Men in more than 125 games and domestically spent time with Cardiff and London, before moving to Belfast in 2003.
Photo credit: Dean Woolley.