The Stena Line Belfast Giants are pleased to announce the signing of Canadian forward Brock McBride. The 24 year old joins the Giants after playing for the Elmira Jackals in the East Coast Hockey League in North America last season, scoring 9 times and adding 23 assists for 32 points in only 27 games. He was called up to the American Hockey League for 33 games split between the Houston Aeros and the Milwaukee Admirals before finishing the season with the South Carolina Stingrays for the playoffs.
Prior to turning pro in 2009, McBride was a standout player for St Lawrence University in the United States, leading his team in scoring in 2007/08 and finishing his University career with 40 goals and 110 points in 140 games over 4 years. The Scouting report on McBride is that he was one of the fastest skaters in the league last season and is a playmaking center that will work well with wingers that like to shoot the puck. At only 24 years of age, McBride is expected to make a huge impact in the Elite league this season.
Giants Coach Doug Christiansen spoke about McBride:
“Brock is the center we were looking for. He is an extremely fast player who can change the game on any given shift. He is a competitor. I know he is a confident player who has high expectations for himself.
“I am looking for him to be an impact player from day one. His experience last season in the ECHL and AHL shows his versatility. He is able to play on the powerplay and the penalty kill and can either be an offensive threat or play solid defensively.
“He was used as a defensive center in the AHL and played center on the top line for his team in the ECHL. He excelled at both roles. I am excited to bring him to Belfast and I know people are going to love watching him play.”
Joining McBride and the Giants this season is Ryan Crane, a player that has been signed as the 11th import to start the season. Crane can play both defence and forward and showed he can be a star at the Elite League level when he was with the Edinburgh Capitals 3 seasons ago, leading all Caps defencemen in scoring with 13 goals and 50 points in 54 games. That season was followed with stints in Denmark, the Central League and East Coast League in North America and most recently with the Geleen Smoke Eaters in Holland where he scored 7 goals and 20 points in 23 games last year.
Elite League teams can have a maximum of 10 import players in the lineup for any game with the rest of the squad being non-import players, which means British or Irish players. General Manager Todd Kelman spoke about why he wanted to sign an 11th import and why the signing of Crane is a good fit.
“Every season it seems that we suffer injuries that end up hindering our season. Last year, as early as October we had 4 or 5 players out injured and every season we end up having to bring in a player or two to replace the injured guys. This season we wanted to bring in an extra import from the start so that when injuries happen, we won’t be short handed.”
“Ryan understands the role he has signed up for and although he is starting on the depth chart as the 11th import, the fact that he can play both forward and defence and the fact that he is a great player that has proven himself at this level, he will not only be here for injury cover but he will be pushing players for a spot in the lineup.
“The reality of professional sports is that there is always going to be guys ready in the background to get their chance and to push the starting lineup for their jobs. In my opinion, it keeps players honest when they know someone could step in and take their spot in the lineup the next night.
“We should have been doing this for years, but the way we have always worked with our budget, as have most teams in our league, was to sign 2 goalies, 5 or 6 defenceman and 9 forwards and hope that nobody gets hurt. This is a flawed plan. You can’t play pro hockey and expect nobody to get hurt in 60 games. So when we set the budget, I immediately took out the money to sign an 11th import and let Doug sign his team with the reduced budget.
“Ryan is going to push players every day in training and he will be ready to jump in when he is given the opportunity. He is excited about playing for the Giants this season. I think the opportunity to be a part of a team that can win something is one of the biggest reasons he has come to Belfast.”