With three months left in the off-season, you’ve probably seen a lot of teams releasing news of singings, both for returning players and some new recruits. The Belfast Giants have released eight names so far, so let’s take a look at who will be making their way onto the ice for the 2018-19 season:
First up, the man of the moment, #31 Stephen Murphy. Murphy is returning to the Giants for his tenth season and, because of his outstanding service to the organization, has been awarded a testimonial by the Odyssey Trust. Murphy has received many All- Star awards and has also been awarded British Netminder of the Year on eight occasions. He also helped Team GB win their first World Championship Gold Medal in the 2017 tournament held right here, in Belfast. It’s great to see you back Murph!
Next up we have #19, Colin Shields. Coming back for season eleven, Shields is the all- time leading points and goal scorer for the Belfast Giants and was awarded his testimonial in the 2017-18 season. Shields has played 574 games in his career so far, is also a Team GB Gold medalist AND runs his own gym in Belfast, known as Total Performance Fitness, where the Giants are known to train. A man of many talents, welcome back Shields!
Next, #8, Lewis Hook. Hook is a new recruit to the Giants for the 2018-19 season. Coming to us from MK Lightening, this talented player has earned call-ups to the Team GB Under 18s and Under 20s and was also selected for the Senior Men’s pre-Word Championship team this year. He is one of the youngest players (no offence guys) in the Belfast Giants so far, at only 21 years old. Welcome to the team, Hook! We’re all glad to have you!
Up next, #24 Jonathan Ferland and this will be his second season in Belfast. Hailing from Quebec, Canada, Ferland made his debuted with the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs, where he was also Assistant Captain for three years, helping them win the Clader Cup in 2006-7. Ferland was also drafted by the NHL’s Montreal Canadians in 2002. Great to see you back in Belfast, Ferland!
Next, #83, Dustin Johner. Johner is also in his second season with the Giants and was also an NHL draft pick, this time for the Florida Panthers back in 2001 and has also played a total of 57 AHL and 198 ECHL games before coming to Europe. A fun fact to note about Dustin Johner is that he is the only Giant to wear the number 83. Happy to see you back on our ice, Johner!
Next up we have #7, Mark Garside. Garside is in his ninth season with the Giants, having played a whopping 407 games. He has represented Great Britain at the Under 18s, Under 20s, at a Senior level and was also player to be part of Team GB at the 2017 World Championships in Belfast. A versatile player, Garside is known to be able to play either on defense or at center, which is an amazing skill to have. Welcome back, Garside!
Next on the list, #9, Jim Vandermeer. Vandermeer is coming into his fourth season with the Giants but this is a man with nine years of NHL experience under his belt. I repeat, nine years. Vandermeer has played a grand total of 482 games in the NHL under the Philadelphia Flyers, the Chicago Blackhawks, the Calgary flames, the Phoenix Coyotes, the Edmonton Oilers and the San Jose Sharks. This will be his second season in his role of Player/ Assistant Coach under Coach Adam Keefe and we wish him another successful year in that role. Welcome back, Vandy!
Next we have #15, Darcy Murphy. Murphy is returning for his second season in Teal. The Giants are Murphy’s first EIHL team and what a debut he made, helping us pave our way to the Challenge Cup victory last season AND revieving seven-that’s right, SEVEN- Man of the Match awards. Before coming to Belfast, he played for the NCAA with Colgate University and in his senior year became Assistant Captain after receiving the Rob Ries
award. A fun fact about Murphy; he had actually been to Belfast before, playing with Colgate University at the 2015 Friendship Four. Great to have you back, Murphy!
And last, but by no means least, our newest signing, #34, Tyler Beskorowany. Beskorowany is coming to Belfast from the Edinburgh Capitals and was drafted by the Dallas Stars in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft and in ’09 signed a three-year entry level contract. He also played for the AHL’s Texas Stars from 2010-2013. A big Belfast welcome to Beskorowany!
That’s all the Belfast Giants signings for now, folks! A huge welcome back to our returning players and a massive welcome for our two new recruits! I can’t wait to see who else is on the way!
All photographs are from BelfastGiants.com