The Nottingham Lions have announced three special guests that will joining their roster for their charity challenge match against Great Britain Under-20s on Tuesday 4th November, at the National Ice Centre.
Former Lions Marc Levers and Tom Norton will make a return to their former home ice pad to boost the Nottingham ranks, along with the imposing figure of former Nottingham Panther and current Solihull Baron Perry Doyle.
Both Levers and Norton currently play for EPL side Peterborough Phantoms and are former GB Under-20 internationals themselves.
33 year-old utility player Levers iced for the Lions during the 2000/01 season and has had a glittering career in UK hockey, winning two Elite League titles, six Challenge Cups and three Elite League Play Off championships, during his time with the Panthers and the Belfast Giants.
Nottingham-born defenceman Norton spent four seasons with the Lions between 2006 and 2010. The 24 year-old then went on to be part be part of a Panthers squad that won a plethora of trophies between 2010 and 2014.
Veteran D-man Doyle, currently with the Lions' NIHL Laidler D2 rivals Solihull, spent a season with the Panthers during their 1993/94 campaign before moving onto the Sheffield Steelers and Solihull Blaze. The 41- year old came out of retirement for the 2012/13 season and recently helped the Barons to a league and play off double back in April.
Perry Doyle faces off against the Lions' Dan Hazeldine last season.
Lions head coach Matt Bradbury, clearly excited at the prospect of an entertaining and action-packed encounter, spoke of his admiration for his new recruits for the evening, saying:
"The three players we're adding to the line-up have a huge history with Nottingham and also add strength to complement our current team - it’s going to be great for our younger and older crop of players to learn something from these guys both on and off the ice."
"There’s no getting away from it Marc Levers has been a huge servant to both Nottingham and British ice hockey and it’s a pleasure to say that the Lions were the team to really spark and ignite his career playing professional hockey."
"I’ve coached Tom with the GB Universities team and really tracked his playing journey for a long time - he's one of the nicest players you could wish to meet and I’ve always been around to offer him a bit of advice here and there and also being an ex-Lion, he’s always welcome to our summer training and I know the team really enjoy having him around and involved."
"Perry is a player that you would want on any team and he jumped at the chance when playing in support of the charity and also to assist the development of the youngsters on show - he previously played with the Panthers as a sprightly 21 year-old, so it will be great to see Perry on the ice again wearing the Nottingham colours."
"I'd also like to say a big thanks to their respective coaches Slava (Koulikov) and Daz (Darren Bellerby) for allowing them to join us for this exciting evening of hockey for such a great cause."
Marc Levers in action for the Panthers – Photo courtesy of www.uniqueimages.co.uk ©
Pete Russell's GB Under-20s side will head to Nottingham as part of their preparations for the U20 World Championship (Division 2A) in Tallinn, where they will come up against hosts Estonia, as well as Korea, Lithuania, Netherlands and Romania, in the six-team IIHF tournament from 7th to 13th December 2014.
You can see the full GB squad, which includes former Lions forward Ollie Betteridge, by clicking here.
All tickets are priced at just £3 and can be purchased from the NIC box office on the night of the game, with all proceeds going to the Lions' 2014-15 charity partner Special Olympics Nottinghamshire.