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SWINDON WILDCATS: Godfrey relishing GB chance
SAM Godfrey is relishing the chance to link up with Great Britain Under 20s for a European tournament and says that the Lithuania event will be ideal preparation for the Under 20 World Championships in December.
Defenceman Godfrey and fellow Swindon Wildcats man Ollie Betteridge are part of the 22-man squad that will take on their age group counterparts from the host nation and Poland, as well as Belarus Under 18s and Russian sides Omsk Hawks and Kapitan Stupino in the event that begins tomorrow.
The tournament is dedicated to the memory of Alexei Cherepanov, a Russian hockey player who died after collapsing on the bench during a KHL game between his club, Avangard Omsk, and Vityaz Chekhov in October 2008.
GB's players flew out to Lithuania yesterday and head coach Pete Russell – who formerly held that position with the Wildcats – will be hoping that his decision to select a number of younger players will be vindicated.
In the opinion of 19-year-old Godfrey, a former GB Under 18s assistant captain, bringing in new blood can only be a good thing.
“It's great to be going to Lithuania, summer is nearly over and the season is right round the corner,” he said.
“The tournament will give us a chance to try new things and bond as a team.
“We have a lot of young guys in the team and it will give them the opportunity to play at this level.
“It will be great preparation for the World Championships in December.”
Godfrey admits to limited knowledge about the teams that GB will be facing over the next few days, but believes that his team are in good shape to do themselves justice.
“I don't know much about the opposition, but from what I've heard all the teams will be strong,” he said.
“The boys looked good in our last camp in July and everyone has been training hard all summer.”
The recently-appointed Russell selected a number of EPL players in his squad including Milton Keynes' Jordan Hedley and Peterborough's Jordan Cownie, alongside the likes of Godfrey and forward Betteridge.
Presenting the opportunity for competitive hockey against technically-gifted opposition, the tournament is a significant part of Great Britain's build-up for the Under 20 World Championships.
Last year's Division 1B campaign in the Ukraine proved a miserable experience for as GB finished second-bottom of their group, with only Croatia lower in the standings.
This time round Russell's men will face France, Italy, Kazakhstan, Japan and Ukraine in Dumfries, Scotland.
Another Swindon Wildcats youngster, forward Floyd Taylor, is in the preliminary squad for the competition north of the border.
Taylor captained GB as they just missed out on a medal spot at the Under 18s World Championships earlier this year.
GB squad for Lithuania tournament: Adam Goss (Coventry Blaze), Jordan Hedley (Milton Keynes), Harvey Stead (Bracknell), Ben Russell (Milton Keynes), Danny Rose (Telford Tigers), Josh Grieveson (Northwood School, Lake Placid), Matt Selby (Coventry Blaze), Declan Balmer (Peterborough), Sam Godfrey (Swindon Wildcats), Jonanathan Kirk (Sheffield Steeldogs), Josh Cook (Loydminster Bobcats), Lewis Hook (Peterborough), Cameron Wynn (Basingstoke Bison), Jordan Cownie (Peterborough), Ollie Betteridge (Swindon Wildcats), Liam Morris (Toronto Attack), Adam Taylor (Telford Tigers), Sam Towner (Hull Stingrays), Ivan Antonov (Bracknell), JJ Pitchley (London Raiders), Lee Bonner (Hull Stingrays), Liam Charnock (Ontario Hockey Academy).
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