World Championships: Netminder Murphy seeks home comfort for GB

Stephen Murphy is aiming for promotion to ice hockey's top division in the Belfast tournament
Stephen Murphy is aiming for promotion to ice hockey's top division in the Belfast tournament

Playing in Belfast could be key to Great Britain's hopes of qualifying for the 2019 World Championship, says Team GB netminder Stephen Murphy.

Britain are playing in Division 1, group B against Croatia, Estonia, Lithuania, Netherlands and Japan.

The winners qualify for next year's group A, and the top two from that tournament advance to the 2019 Worlds.

"The home crowd can be important," said Murphy, who plays for Belfast at the SSE Arena, which hosts the tournament.

Only the winners will gain promotion with Great Britain having narrowly missed out following second-place finishes in the last two years.

Passion from the stands

Murphy added: "Everyone is excited to be playing on home ice this year, it will be something very special.

"UK hockey fans are very passionate and that is obvious throughout a league season. Players who come to this country from abroad often comment about the passion shown in the stands.

"Then there's the GB Barmy Army who support us across the world and are like an extra man out on the ice for us.

"We can achieve something special here but we know there are no easy games at this level. Hopefully we can perform throughout the week to set us a chance of winning the gold medal and promotion."

GB begin their campaign against Croatia on Sunday.

It's the first men's World Championship event to be held in the UK for 25 years.

The 2017 Worlds will be hosted in Paris, France and Cologne, Germany and run from 5-21 May.

Great Britain squad for the World Championship

Netminders: Ben Bowns (Cardiff Devils), Stephen Murphy (Belfast Giants), Thomas Murdy (Cardiff Devils, reserve)

Defence: Mark Garside (Belfast Giants), Steve Lee (Nottingham Panthers), Ben O'Connor (Sheffield Steelers), David Phillips (Sheffield Steelers), Mark Richardson (Cardiff Devils), Paul Swindlehurst (Manchester Storm), Jonathan Weaver (Telford Tigers)

Forwards: Brendan Brooks (Fife Flyers), David Clarke (Nottingham Panthers), Russell Cowley (Coventry Blaze), Robert Dowd (Sheffield Steelers), Sam Duggan (Orebro, Sweden), Robert Farmer (Nottingham Panthers), Robert Lachowicz (Nottingham Panthers), Evan Mosey (Rockford Ice Hogs, USA), Matthew Myers (Cardiff Devils), Craig Peacock (Braehead Clan), Jonathan Phillips (Sheffield Steelers), Colin Shields (Belfast Giants), Liam Stewart (Coventry Blaze)

Top Stories