Sochi 2014: Great Britain's squad for Olympic qualifiers named

Great Britain ice hockey

Winter Olympic qualifier

Venue:
Riga Arena, Latvia
Date:
7, 8 and 10 February
Coverage:
Listen to match commentary on radio 5 Live sports extra

Britain's ice hockey coach Tony Hand believes he has assembled one of the best teams he has ever worked with.

After naming the squad that will attempt to qualify for the Olympics for the first time since 1948, Hand said the side could defy their underdog status.

"I believe this is a very competitive squad and one of the most talented GB squads I have ever known," said Hand.

Team GB must win a four-team tournament in Latvia to qualify for Sochi 2014.

Currently 21st in the world, GB will face their Latvian hosts, France and Kazakhstan, all ranked higher in the global standings, from 7-10 February.

Sheffield Steelers, currently third in the UK Elite League, are the squad's largest club contingent with seven players.

Team GB coach Hand added: "We are going to Latvia as the underdogs and I am sure most people in the ice hockey world don't expect us to qualify.

"But this is the most close-knit squad I have worked with and they believe in their own abilities.

"There is no doubting that it is going to be tough but we are going out there and will do Great Britain proud."

Earlier this week it was revealed that the British team had been handed a grant of just over £63,000 from the International Olympic Committee to help meet the cost of training and travel.

Great Britain squad in full:

Netminders

Ben Bowns (Hull Stingrays), Stephen Murphy (Belfast Giants)

Defencemen

Danny Meyers (Sheffield Steelers), Ben O'Connor (Arlan Kokshetau), Dave Phillips (Belfast Giants), Mark Richardson (Cardiff Devils), Rod Sarich (Sheffield Steelers), Mark Thomas (Sheffield Steelers), Jonathan Weaver (Nottingham Panthers).

Forwards

David Clarke (Nottingham Panthers), Robert Dowd (Troja-Ljungby), Robert Farmer (Braehead Clan), Mark Garside (Belfast Giants), Jason Hewitt, (Sheffield Steelers), Phil Hill (Cardiff Devils), Robert Lachowicz (Nottingham Panthers), Matthew Myers (Nottingham Panthers), Greg Owen (Basingstoke Bison), Craig Peacock (Belfast Giants), Jonathan Phillips (Sheffield Steelers), Colin Shields (Belfast Giants), Ashley Tait (Sheffield Steelers).