Sheffield Steelers defenceman encouraged by call-up

Davey Phillips has received a major morale-booster as he battles his way back to fitness.

Thursday, 10th January 2019, 1:21 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 1:24 pm
Davey Phillips

The Sheffield Steelers' defenceman has missed a significant number of  games since damaging his wrist in an incident on the boards.

But Great Britain national team head coach Pete Russell has named the 31-year-old Yorkshireman in his 26-man squad for next month's international challenge game with Dinamo Riga.

The friendly encounter with the top-class KHL side takes place at the Skydome in Coventry on Wednesday  February 6, 7:30pm.

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It sends a signal that Phillips may be out of sight, but is not out of mind.

Also in the squad are Steelers Jackson Whistle, Jonathan Phillips, Ben O'Connor and Robert Dowd.

GB's game is the first of five ahead of May's World Championship in Slovakia.

Nottingham Panthers' defenceman Tim Billingsley and Coventry Blaze forward Ben Lake are named in a GB squad for the first time.

Russell said: 'This game will be a great start to our preparations for the World Championship in Kosice in May.

'We want to give as many players as possible the chance to impress and this game will just be the start of the process.

"We have left out some experienced hockey players for this camp and opened the door for others to stake a claim - and also gain valuable experience at the highest level.

'Riga are a KHL organisation and it will be a massive test for us, but I know the players will be excited for the challenge.

"The truth is we have to learn play against high speed as we are going to be have to be able to handle this in Pool A.

"For me, getting up to that speed and speed of thought will be a the biggest challenge for us, but what a great test in Riga to face those qualities.

"We have some big decisions to make before the end of April, but we have this every year.

'It is not often we get the chance to meet during the season, so we will make the most of it ahead of a very exciting opportunity for GB ice hockey.'

Steelers entertain DundeeStars on Saturday night.