Luke Ferrara, Ross Venus, David Clements, Alex Forbes, and Jordan Hedley have been protected from the Elite Series Draft by the Coventry Blaze.
The Elite Series, a five-week mini-season due to begin next month, will see Danny Stewart’s side compete against the Nottingham Panthers, Sheffield Steelers, and Manchester Storm. Later this evening (8 March), the four participating clubs will draft British players from an 81-person pool.
Each team was able to protect five players from the Draft, meaning they are directly assigned to the club that protects them. In order to be protected, players must be eligible for Team GB and:
- Played for the team in 2019/20;
- Agreed to play for the team in 2020/21;
- Have agreed to play for the team in 2021/22.
The Coventry Blaze chose to protect three forwards (Ferrara, Venus, and Forbes), one defenseman (Clements), and one goalie (Hedley).
Ferrara, 27, is currently competing in the Polish Hockey League Play-Offs for Cracovia and is only allowed to compete in the Elite Series once his season ends.
Ferrara’s side finished sixth in the regular season and face top-seed Tychy in the Ekstraliga semi-finals. Cracovia’s best-of-seven series begins on 11 March, with game four – which could be the deciding fixtures – scheduled for 16 March. Cracovia defeated KS Toruń HSA 4-2 to reach the last four.
Forbes, 24, last took to the ice a year ago, when he appeared in Coventry’s last-gasp victory over the Dundee Stars.
A Coventry Blaze spokesperson confirmed to The Boar Sport that the team will be competing in a new 2021 jersey, with more details due to be released in the coming weeks.
The Elite Series Draft will be broadcast live on Facebook from 19:00, follow Luke James and Boar Sport for live updates.
Coventry Blaze: Luke Ferrara, Ross Venus, Alex Forbes, David Clements, and Jordan Hedley
Manchester Storm: Dallas Ehrhardt (D), Joe Hazeldine (D), Zach Sullivan (D), Ciaran Long (F), and Finlay Ulrick (F)
Nottingham Panthers: Jackson Whistle (G), Josh Tetlow (D), Robert Lachowicz (F), Brett Perlini (F), and Ollie Betteridge (F)