Leeds Knights coach Ryan Aldridge backs decision to look outside Elite League for Great Britain squad
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Brown was one of 32 players named by head coach Pete Russell on Monday morning as part of a provisional training camp squad for this month’s World Championships. The long-list roster will assemble next week after the domestic play-off campaigns are concluded.
Milton Keynes’ forward Sean Norris, who has also played 15 games for EIHL champions Belfast Giants this season, is also called up for the first time.
Former Bradford Bulldogs’ junior Brown has represented his country at Under-18 and Under-20 level and it was a surprise when he wasn’t named in the GB squad for February’s Euro Hockey Challenge tournament, given it was an opportunity for Russell to look at younger players with one eye on the Worlds which GB host at Nottingham’s National Ice Centre between April 29-May 5.
But it seems the GB chief has had a rethink, little surprise given Brown’s second stellar campaign for the Knights, one where he has skippered them to the NIHL National league title while posting a remarkable 121 points in 56 games, including 57 goals.
“It’s unbelievable news for him and completely deserved and I think it’s right that they are starting to look outside the Elite League for British players,” said Knights’ head coach Aldridge.
“In Kieran and Sean Morris you’ve got two players there who have had great seasons for their clubs and they deserve to be looked at.
“Kieran is the kind of player who is going to be part of this GB team’s future and he needs to be given his chance soon.
“I hope he goes down to that training camp, smashes it and makes it onto that roster for the tournament itself - there wouldn’t be anyone that wouldn’t want that to happen. He’s a phenomenal kid and clearly a very talented hockey player.”
As hosts, GB are hoping to gain an instant return to the top-flight of the world game after their relegation last year.
As part of the training camp, GB will play warm-up matches against Latvia on April 22 (7pm), April 23 (5:30pm) before taking on Hungary twice on April 25 and 26.
Once those games are concluded, Russell will trim his squad down to 22 for Nottingham.
Brown isn’t the only British player to have excelled for the Knights this season, with fellow forwards Cole Shudra, Matt Haywood and Mac Howlett all standing out, not just in terms of points production but in the way their respective games have developed.
"I’ve got three or four guys who, if they are going to start looking at younger players, have to be looked at,” added Aldridge.
“A lot of people think you have to play in the Elite League to play at that level but I think British players are starting to understand that, if they drop down a league, they can play their game and they can play a more skilled game as they get more time on the puck in all situations.”