Great Britain netminder Jackson Whistle say playing against the top nations in the world at a World Championship is an “awesome” experience.
The 25-year-old was part of the 2019 World Championship squad in Slovakia, which stayed up with the dramatic 4-3 overtime victory against France in their final game.
This year, GB will face Russia, Slovakia, Denmark, Belarus, Sweden, Czech Republic and Switzerland between 22nd May and 1st June at the Group A venue of the Olympic Sports Centre in Riga.
Speaking to Ice Hockey UK TV – in association with SMP Europe – Whistle said: “To be in the top flight and play against some of the best players in the world, it’s a pretty cool experience for anybody. It’s awesome.
“It’s going to be a little different to last time with the covid situation. I am not sure how it’s going to be but we’ll just deal with it when we get there.”
Whistle is part of the current Elite Series at the National Ice Centre and secured the tournament’s first shutout last night, as he turned away 30 shots in Nottingham Panthers’ 2-0 victory over Coventry Blaze in the first leg of the playoff semi-finals.
Six players – David Clements, Jordan Hedley, Lewis Hook, Sam Jones, Ciaran Long and Josh Tetlow – have been named in a senior GB squad for the first time in their careers.
All of them are also involved in the Elite Series and Whistle feels this has been of massive benefit to the GB players in their preparations for Latvia.
“The new players are obviously very excited about it and they’re playing good hockey,” added Whistle.
“The Elite Series is a good thing that we have set-up for us to get ready to go. A lot of British players are playing a lot of minutes and I think it is only going to help.
“The World Championship is a tough tournament to be a part of but I know we’re excited about it.”
Photo credit: Dean Woolley.