Injured Sheffield Steeler misses out on GB's World Championships

Brandon Whistle's hopes of making his mark on the international stage have had to be postponed because of wretched injury luck.
Steeler Brandon Whistle picture by Hayley RobertsSteeler Brandon Whistle picture by Hayley Roberts
Steeler Brandon Whistle picture by Hayley Roberts

The centreman had his best season in a Sheffield Steelers' shirt, helping him towards a well-deserved spot with the Great Britain national side.

But he was hurt in the second period of Tuesday's challenge game against Hungary at Planet Ice Milton Keynes and was one of eight players released from GB's training camp roster, along with ex-Steeler Kieran Brown, also injured, Cam Critchlow, Josh Batch, David Clements, Ben Davies, Sam Duggan, Sean Norris, and Ross Venus.

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It was a blow for the 25-year-old Whistle, who had been hoping his improving points tally in the EIHL and positive reviews from coach Aaron Fox would launch the start of a great career with GB.

Brandon Whistle  v Belfast Giants, picture by Dean WoolleyBrandon Whistle  v Belfast Giants, picture by Dean Woolley
Brandon Whistle v Belfast Giants, picture by Dean Woolley

GB Assistant Coach Corey Neilson said: “The coaching staff has had some very difficult decisions to make.

“The competition for places is as tough as it has ever been and it’s clear there are some very disappointed players – and that’s understandable.

“The players released showed incredible grace and genuinely wished the team much success upon hearing their personal bad news.

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“They are a credit to their families and have the heart and spirit of GB national team players."

Brandon Whistle in action against  ManchesterBrandon Whistle in action against  Manchester
Brandon Whistle in action against Manchester

There will be three new faces in the Nottingham squad with defencemen Nathanael Halbert and Sam Ruopp, as well as forward Johnny Curran, set to make their World Championship debuts.

On Wednesday night, Britain beat Hungary 3-2 at the Motorpoint Arena in their final warm-up game ahead of the Worlds' Division I Group A which gets underway in Nottingham this weekend.

Steelers' trio Evan Mosey, Robert Dowd and Davey Phillips all went close before Josh Waller found the net.

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Liam Kirk was denied on a breakaway but there were further goals from Cade Neilson and Ben Lake.

Full GB roster:

Netminders: Ben Bowns, Jackson Whistle, Jordan Hedley (emergency reserve). Defence: Nathanael Halbert, Sam Jones, Evan Mosey, Ben O’Connor, David Phillips, Mark Richardson, Sam Ruopp, Josh Tetlow. Forwards: Ollie Betteridge, Johnny Curran, Robert Dowd, Mike Hammond, Liam Kirk, Robert Lachowicz, Ben Lake, Matthew Myers, Cade Neilson, Brett Perlini, Jonathan Phillips, Josh Waller.

NHL draftee Kirk has sympathy for his injured, 22-year-old pal Brown.

The Maltby winger said recently: "You've seen what he did in National League, he's tearing it up.

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"He has got amazing talent, everyone knows he can play at a higher level."

Some EIHL fans would love to see Brown progress from Leeds Knights, to the top league.

But Kirk said Brown was currently doing what was "best for his career" with what Kirk jokingly referred to as "stupid" minutes-per-game ratio and big numbers on the scoreboard.