Sheffield Steelers: Cole Shudra has eyes on the national team

Cole Shudra is not merely hoping to nail down a regular spot in Sheffield Steelers' line-up next season.

By Bob Westerdale
Tuesday, 09 July, 2019, 12:40
Cole Shudra

He also has ambitions to force himself into the Great Britain men's line up as they again try and survive among the world's elite.

Shudra didn't make the cut as his GB brethren secured their place in the top tier of the World Championship Group A with in Kosice, Slovakia in May. In doing so, Pete Russell's team moved up two places to 20th in the IIHF world rankings.

The GB squad celebrate their victory over France

And while the 20-year-old would have loved to have been there, he understands why other skaters with more experience got the nod over him.

Asked if he'd been envious of GB players, after they beat France to survive in the top pool, he said: "Of course, but I know that there are a lot of experienced guys there that should be there in front of me, right now.

"But I would love to be playing at a stage like that. I think it would be unbelievable, but I am just proud of where our country has come in terms of hockey - to be able to play and win at that level.”

Shudra has played for the national team's U20s and said he wants to be in a position to push for the next stage up.

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"Only time will tell, I just have to have a good season and hope to be there," he said.

The versatile Steeler complimented Sheffield team-mate Ben O'Connor on his performance in the crucial 4-3 overtime win against France in Kosice – a game in which they had looked dead in the water at 0-3 down.

And the pass of the game - which secured the winner from Ben Davies - came from Sheffield and GB skipper Jonathan Phillips, he noted.

"I thought that was a game where our boys really stepped up," Shudra said.

Britain will be in Group A in Lausanne, Switzerland next year, when they will face Belarus, Canada - who were beaten by Finland in May's final - the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Slovakia and Sweden.

The tournament will take place from May 8-24.

GB U20s will face Lithuania, Romania and Spain, Japan and Serbia in the Division II Group A tournament in Lithuania from January 6-12.