Nottingham Panthers are nearing the start of the 2021 Elite Series – a four team tournament that see’s the return of top level ice hockey to England after a year layoff through coronavirus and yesterday the teams involved went draft crazy as their picks for the competition were placed.
The Panthers can confirm their protected list of players for the upcoming tournament includes Jackson Whistle, Josh Tetlow, Ollie Betteridge, Robert Lachowicz and Brett Perlini with draft picks made for the likes of Ben Bowns, Lewis Hook, Mark Garside, Owen Griffiths, Kieran Brown, Jordan Kelsall and Craig Garrigan.
The club also made draft picks to their taxi-squad with Liam Stenton, Morgan Clarke-Pizzo and Will Kerlin all assigned, the competition starting early next month will involve the likes of Sheffield Steelers, Coventry Blaze and Manchester Storm with all games being played at the Nottingham Motorpoint Arena.
After the draft, Panthers Director of Hockey Gui Doucet said he was disappointed that more senior British players had not put themselves forward for selection but added that he understood why they had withdrawn.
Doucet said “everyone involved, Brits and imports, will be going for it as they battle for a place on the ‘plane to the World Championships or even a contract for next season.”
The competition between the four sides will provide a huge opportunity to Team GB’s development and the players pressing to get in the squad prior to the IIHF World Championships which start on the 21st May which will be held in Latvia.
*Main image @GB_IceHockey GB netminder Ben Bowns was first draft pick for the Panthers.