SOLIHULL ice hockey star Ross Venus looks set to make his international debut after being called up to the Great Britain squad ahead of the Olympic pre-qualifiers that get under way this week in Cortina, Italy.
The Coventry Blaze forward is one of four players called into the side to replace Stephen Murphy, defenceman Jonathan Weaver and forwards Matt Haywood and Robert Farmer.
He will be joined by Swindon Wildcats netminder Stevie Lyle, Nottingham Panthers defenceman Sam Oakford and Belfast Giants forward Mark Garside.
“I’m young yes, but I have been around long enough now to make an impression,” said Venus.
“I am confident in my ability, and I am looking forward to having a good tournament and making a positive contribution.”
Team GB will face the Netherlands, Serbia and hosts Italy, with the winners progressing to the final qualifying stage for the 2018 Winter Olympics which will be held in South Korea.
Whilst still only 21, Venus is already something of an Elite League veteran with well over 300 appearances and a game-winning goal in the playoff final under his belt.
The Brit forward continued, “One of the things that I am particularly looking forward to is getting to know other players from around the league, especially some of the more experienced guys, the likes of Jonathan Phillips and Clarkey (David Clarke) for example.”
Venus is not the only Blaze player making the trip to the Southern Italian Alps, Captain Ashley Tait and Russell Cowley will also be in the dressing room with him.
“It’s good to have these two guys with me, it’s nice to see familiar faces that I play every week with, but we are all part of the same team for the next 6 days.
“I am lucky in my career that I have had the likes of Paul Thompson and Chuck Weber coach me, I have learned so many good things and it’s given me the grounding to be able to be called up for GB.
“Even when I went to Telford a few years back and played a few games on loan there, I played for Tommy Watkins, so I have learned from three great coaches already in my career. I’ve been fortunate in that respect.”
Great Britain fixtures:
Thursday 11th February: GB v Netherlands – 4:30pm UK time (5:30pm local time)
Saturday 13th February: GB v Serbia – 4:30pm UK time (5:30pm local time)
Sunday 14th February: GB v Italy – 7:45pm UK time (8:45pm local time)