Tag Archives: Belfast Giants

Statiscally speaking, the Cardiff Devils are better this year

The Cardiff Devils currently sit second in the EIHL with 38 points, two points off top spot with two games in hand. That’s a very favourable position to be in.

There has been a lot of criticism of this team that I’m not going to get too into, What I am going to do is explain how the Devils have actually improved from last year, the issue is so has the league.

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Belfast Beat: An Appreciation of “Murph”

Players will come and go, that’s the hockey business.

However Belfast have had their fare share of players who seem to stick around season after season, current Head Coach Adam Keefe is an example of an import who loves just the Northern Irish capital. There are Brits too who enjoy it such as Mark Garside and Colin Shields, who will be in a feature I will write about sometime in the near future, but this piece is about the man who this season celebrates 10 years as a Giant with a well earned testimonial. This is about you, Stephen Murphy.

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Each EIHL teams top prospect

With Great Britain returning to the top group of International Ice Hockey for the first time since 1994, and Liam Kirk being drafted into the NHL, it’s an exciting time for British Ice Hockey, so what better time to examine each EIHL teams top prospect.

Now to define “top prospect” I’ll be looking at players who are on either a one-way or two-way deal with an EIHL team currently and are 23-years-old or younger, and British. If you want to see more about the top young stars of the EIHL from all nations, click here to see our countdown from 25 – 11, and here to see our countdown from 10 – 1 of our list of the top 25 players aged 25 or younger.

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Confirmed: No EIHL return for Sébastien Sylvestre following Zagreb departure

After the news broke of the financial status of EBEL side Medvescak Zagreb, it meant a few former EIHLers were potentially looking for work again.

Rumours and hopes of players such as John Armstrong, Yann Suavé and even David Brine making a return to the EIHL started, but one player many wanted to sign for their team has now confirmed to not be returning.

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Belfast Beat: Giant Thoughts for 2018/19

Road Warriors.

That’s the best description you could put on Adam Keefe’s Giants of 2018-19. On Sunday night, the Giants returned to home ice in the “O” against the Cardiff Devils after playing an astonishing 16 game road trip. No NHL side does this but the Giants take the “road trip” description to a new level. Here’s some thoughts on this excursion for the men in teal.

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EIHL 18/19 – 24 Leave in Opening 15 Weeks

With Manchester Storm announcing the departure of Brendan Brooks yesterday, the EIHL player departure headcount now sits at 24. In just 15 weeks, 7 of the 11 teams have lost at least 1 player, and in a couple of cases, also their coach. This week alone has seen 5 casualties – Is it poor recruitment, poor pay, or is the league just not a place players want to be?

There is an argument for all of the above, and hockey players getting gassed or moving mid-season certainly isn’t a new phenomenon. In season past, numerous EIHL players have changed teams, but to lose so many so soon? And alarmingly, the list of 24 does not include Danick Paquette or Tom Parisi, both who left their teams (Coventry & Cardiff respectively) before the season officially got underway.

CTP’s own Lucy Hamilton, has been tracking the movements for each club:

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7/11 – Ben Blood

4/12 – Justin Faryna

Blaze

4/12 – Miika Wiikmann

4/12 – Kelin Ainsworth

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3/10 – Kevin Phillips

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26/10 – Marcus Basara

20/11 – Jindrich Pacl

23/11 – Dylan Anderson

6/12 – Brendan Brooks

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2/11 – Joonas Houvinen

14/11 – Head Coach Doug McKay

21/11 – Eric Neiley

1/12 – Rihards Grigors

Panthers New

18/11 – Jacob Doty

27/11 – Sam Gospel

29/11 – Tyler VanKleef

3/12 – Tyler Biggs

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17/9 – Matt Rupert

17/9 – Ryan Rupert

1/10 – Head Coach Paul Thompson

24/10 – Brendan Brooks

28/10 Chris Lawrence

30/10 Jiri Gula

25/11 Bradley Day (loaned to Hull Pirates)


The League?

Despite dropping to 11 teams, the EIHL appears to be in good shape and is arguably more competitive than in recent times. The Devils have strengthened over the summer, but certainly do not look like they have the stranglehold on the league that they did last season. At the other end of the table, Dundee & MK have shown they can compete, and win, against anyone when on their game. The UK in general is still seen as a tourist destination, and is a big selling point for players who come to play in the league.

Poor Pay/Benefits?

On our list of 24, not all have been gassed by their teams. Several have moved to take up opportunities elsewhere. Is it purely money? Are there greater opportunities outside of the game which prompts the move or is it simply career progression? Regardless of motive, Cardiff were open in saying they were compensated for the loss of Ben Blood, but were Coventry compensated for Ainsworth?

Poor Recruitment /Coaching?

The Rupert brothers immediately spring to mind, but both appear to be picking up points since their return to the ECHL. Of course, clubs rely on various methods to pick up players, such as word of mouth or their contacts from years past, but does the blame lie with the contacts, or with the coach making the signings? In the case of the Rupert’s, was it purely the coach not knowing how to play them?

One thing is for sure – The issue with the vast amount of roster changes head resulted in some fans feeling somewhat disconnected from their teams. Coventry have seen 5 netminders this season, Sheffield have lost 6 players already, MK lost arguably their best player, Guildford lost a loyal Brit who was loved by many and Cardiff have lost 2 fan favourites. All mid-season.

Your Thoughts?

There is no doubt the player merry-go-round will continue, but what can teams do to stop the better players in the league from leaving? Or does the EIHL in general need to do more to promote itself and make it more appealing in general?

Information correct at time of publication [12:00 07/12/18] will be updated as things change

House Of Fun – A Weekly Steelers Perspective

I pen this week’s article on the Monday morning after an incredible weekend of games for the Steelers against the Belfast Giants. It was a weekend that was memorable for numerous reasons, some good and some bad, but the main consensus for us all at the final buzzer, we get to do this all again next month in the Northern Irish capital. The quirks of the fixture list.

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