Mark Thomas will go into the final weekend of Steelers’ regular season determined to shrug off the blow of being dropped by Great Britain.
The Sheffield defenceman’s name wasn’t on the list of 28 players drawn up by GB and former Sheffield coach Doug Christiansen for the World Championship (Division 1B) in Lithuania.
Thomas, a GB regular since 2005, looks like he’ll miss out on games Croatia, Netherlands, Lithuania, Poland and Romania in the tournament in Vilnius.
The 30-year-old returned from back injury last weekend, and had feared that his inactivity would go against him.
He said: “I only found out on the morning the squad was announced that I wasn’t in it” he said.
“Nobody had told me, so obviously it’s disappointing. But I’ve been out for a long time, so now I have to prove my fitness to get back to where I was.”
Thomas’s GB spot could be re-considered if injury affects any of the 10 first-choice d-men. “I wouldn’t wish that on any of them” he insisted.
“I am proud to play for my country and I want them to do well.”
Danny Meyers, Robert Dowd, Jason Hewitt, Phil Hill and Jonathan Phillips were called up. Thomas missed nine games with a bulging spinal disc before returning for Sheffield last Sunday. “It was good to get back into it” he said. “It has taken longer than I’d wanted to get back.”
Steelers host Coventry on Saturday.