Sheffield Steelers' GB centurions

Jonathan Phillips and Matt Myers are heading for remarkable, personal milestones during Great Britain's World Championship tournament in Latvia.

Tuesday, 18th May 2021, 9:53 am

The forwards, who played together for Sheffield Steelers in the EIHL 2021 series, should each chalk up 100 'caps' for the national side.

Skipper Phillips, aged 38, currently has 97 caps to his name. Myers, 36, has 95.

Both have played influential parts in the history of the GB programme, since 2002 and 2003 respectively.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Matt Myers out front. Pic by Mark Ferriss

Myers says he cannot wait to "get that 100th experience" in Riga and has no fears about facing such high-quality opposition, which includes Russia, Sweden and the Czech Republic.

In fact, being an underdog suits Myers and the other GB lads down to the ground.

"Is it daunting no? No it's going to be fun" said the former Nottingham Panthers and Cardiff Devils centre.

"People say we will be 'up against it.' Well we were up against it last time, it will be the same this time, the same next.

Jonathan Phillips.

"When I spoke with the Norwegian guys on the Sheffield roster, they said that when they go to this level they know they also are up against it.

"But it is not daunting, for any of us. We'll have a great time, work hard and try to win some games."

There is no IIHF relegation process this year, but Myers said "We don't want to be a team that goes there and doesn't win."

He said the campaign represents an "amazing opportunity to play the best players in the world.

GB team before flying to Riga. Pic: Dean Woolley

"Our guys would never have the exposure or training that all these other nations have had. So for us to get to that level is unbelievable and we are going to enjoy it."

Myers was delighted to have played club hockey with Phillips, in the mini series. It was an unusual reunion.

"Jona and I played junior together in Cardiff but we never really played any senior together apart from the national team.

"We are similar in age, grew up in the Cardiff junior system and grew up playing together as kids and as adults against each other.

Matt Myers doing what he does best. Photo: Dean Woolley.

"He is an excellent professional and takes care of himself. People harp on about his age, but look at sportspeople like him and Roger Federer (39) for example.

"They can keep on playing and competing at the highest level because they look after themselves on and off the ice.

"When we were in the five weeks' series he was always the guy in the gym making sure he was keeping his body healthy. Nine times out of ten he was always the first in there. That's what it takes."

Myers said players in their late 30s had to be mentally strong.

"Jona is quite a laid back character and doesn't have too many pressures or stresses. He is easy going.

"He has his kids and family. When you are solely focused on hockey it can be a bit mentally draining, quite hard and nice to have a life outside the rink.

"Playing for Sheffield with him in the EIHL series was short and sweet but thoroughly enjoyable and I understand why so many guys stay there.

*GB will have to compete without head coach Pete Russell, who had not made the trip because of family reasons.

*Goalie Will Kerlin, who was on Steelers' roster in the 2019-2020 campaign, has signed for Nottingham Panthers roster for next season.

The 20 year old junior GB player was part of Panthers' 2021 Elite Series winning team although he made no appearances as he was behind regulars Jackson Whistle and Ben Bowns.

Kerlin was released by Sheffield coach Aaron Fox after he signed Ben Churchfield.