David Longstaff, one of Great Britain’s most experienced international players of recent times, announced his retirement from international hockey two weeks prior to the Final Olympic Qualification in Riga.
The 38-year-old forward played in his major tournament for Great Britain back in 1994 and went on to play 101 games for the national team.
Longstaff, who reached his 100-cap milestone against Romania last November, was part of the GB side who won the Olympic Pre-Qualification in Japan last November to book a place in next month’s Final Olympic Qualification for Sochi 2014.
His first taste of senior competitive action was at the 1994 IIHF World Championship A-Pool – the last time Great Britain was in the top pool – and has since played in 17 major international tournaments.
Longstaff said: “It has been a tremendous honour to play for the Great Britain national side.
“I have so many proud and happy memories, right back from making my debut against Russia in Pool A back in 1994.
“I have played with so many great team-mates, too many to mention, but they have all played a part in my GB career.
“I am proud that the last game I played for GB helped them reach the final stages of qualifying for the 2014 Olympics.
“I would like to wish all the guys the best of luck in Latvia and I will be rooting for them back home.”
Great Britain’s head coach, Tony Hand, said: “David has been a terrific player in the GB set-up for the last 18 years.
“I remember him as young kid in the GB squad and he matured into a true leader on and off the ice for the national side.
“To play in 17 major tournaments shows how talented Lobby is and he has achieved so much nationally and internationally.
“He has been a popular figure in the GB dressing room for years and years and he will be sadly missed.
“I would like to place on record my thanks for what David has done for the Great Britain national side. He has been a credit to his country.”
Ice Hockey UK general secretary, Andy French, is a previous GB team manager and went to many of Longstaff’s World Championship tournaments.
“I would personally like to thank David Longstaff,” said French. “Lobby has given so much to the Great Britain programme over a great international career involving over 100 games.
“His involvement and character in the dressing room will be missed and Ice Hockey UK would like wish him all the best.”
Tony Hand will name his squad for the Final Olympic Qualification in Latvia on Saturday.
– with files from Ice Hockey UK