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  Thursday, 29 August, 2002, 15:57 GMT 16:57 UK
Tough test ahead for Team GB
Great Britain coach Chris McSorley

Great Britain's ice hockey players will face a stiff test at the National Ice Centre in Nottingham this weekend.

They are set to face off against Olympic semi-finalists Belarus, along with Slovenia and Hungary.

The four teams are taking part in the first in a series of friendly tournaments organised by the International Ice Hockey Federation.

Great Britain begin their Euro Ice Hockey Challenge campaign on Friday against Slovenia before facing Belarus on Saturday in what will be their toughest game.


We look a bit like David against Europe's Goliath
GB coach Chris McSorley

The Belarusians caused one of the biggest upsets of the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City by beating Sweden 4-3 in the quarter-finals.

GB's final game is against Hungary, who beat them 4-1 at the world championships in April.

GB coach Chris McSorley will be using the tournament to try out some untested players ahead of next year's world championships.

Half of the team selected by McSorley and his assistants Rick Strachan and Gary Stefan has never faced senior international competition before.

"We look a bit like David against Europe's Goliath but that contest came out well for the little guy," said McSorley.

"I am confident that we will give a good show. Maybe our enthusiasm and will to win will be enough to weigh the pebble in our sling-shot heavier."

Partisan crowd

Skipper David Longstaff will play his first competitive games on home soil for more than a year.

The Tynesider, who last year became the first British player to join in the Swedish Elite League, has joined Manchester Storm.

Longstaff missed much of this year's world championships through illness and is eager to return to international duty.

"Naturally I'm very excited," he said.

"This is the first major tournament which Great Britain have played on home soil and it provides the unusual opportunity for all of our family, friends and supporters to be able to watch us play."


GB squad:

Forwards: David Longstaff (Manchester), Jonathan Weaver (Scottish Eagles), David Clarke (Guildford), Mike Ellis (Basingstoke), Paul Berrington (Basingstoke), Ashley Tait (Coventry), Nick Cross (Basingstoke), Ricky Plant (Guildford), Tom Watkins (Coventry), Gary Wishart (Dundee), Jeff Hoad (London), Marc Levers (Basingstoke), Mark Florence (Hull).

Defenders: Rob Wilson (Manchester), Rick Strachan (Solihull), Kyle Horne (Fife), James Manson (Cardiff), Brent Pope (Solihull), Neil Liddiard (Basingstoke), Richard Thornton (Newcastle).

Goaltenders: Joe Watkins (Bracknell), Stephen Murphy (Dundee).


Schedule:

Friday 30 August:
Belarus Vs Hungary 1500BST
GB Vs Slovenia 1900BST

Saturday 31 August:
Slovenia Vs Hungary 1430BST
Belarus Vs GB 1830BST

Sunday 1 September:
Slovenia Vs Belarus 1430BST
Hungary Vs GB 1830BST

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