International Ice Hockey Federation pays tribute to Steelers' GB captain

World ice hockey is tipping its hat to Jonathan Phillips.

Monday, 31st May 2021, 8:27 am

The Sheffield Steelers' winger will lead Great Britain into battle in the final game of the 2021 World Championships in Latvia on Tuesday.

GB play Switzerland and, as always, will be underdogs.

But with players who possess the discipline, fitness and leadership of Phillips, you can never rule anything out.

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The International Ice Hockey Federation has paid tribute to Phillips, who is captaining the Lions' men’s senior national team at this year’s tournament for an amazing ninth time.

The IIHF stated: "It’s not a record, but it is a long and impressive achievement not just to play in nine World Championships but to be good enough and respected enough to be handed the 'C' year after year."

"Being a captain is a responsibility and an honour" said the world's governing body.

"It is conferred only to players who have earned great respect for their quality of play and their leadership, their dedication to their national team and, of course, to the game itself."

GB's Jonathan Phillips pic by Dean Woolley

A total of 14 men who have worn the “C” for nine years or more and they "form the core of the IIHF’s 'captain's hall of fame' and deserve recognition for their achievements, said the IIHF website.

Phillips will be an implacable presence on the GB roster for the last game of the series in Riga.

While Britain have only won once, so far, they have proven that they belong on the same ice pad as the world's elite.

GB have four points from their six matches thanks to a victory over Belarus and an overtime defeat by Denmark.

Phillips playing for Steelers

They have lost to Russia (7-1) Slovakia (2-1) Denmark (3-2 overtime) Sweden (4-1) and Czech Republic (6-1,) beating Belarus (4-2) along the way.

This is a plucky but tired outfit.

But they will give their all and will be a better team by the time they compete against similar opposition in a year's time in Tampere, Finland.

And who is to say that Jonathan Phillips who turns 39 in July, won't be leading the team again in 2022?

Holmfirth-based GB forward Ben Lake says the team are determined to end the Championships on a good note.

“We want to show the hockey world we can compete at this level,” said Lake.

“Finishing above that bottom place is our number one goal, but also finishing the tournament on a high would be a nice thing.

“We have four points so far and if we can put together a good performance against Switzerland on Tuesday, that would be great.

“We could end the tournament on a high here.”