Posted on Wednesday, July 6th, 2011 at 7:43 am
The Belfast Giants have bolstered an already impressive defensive core with the signing of defenceman Nick Kuiper. The 6’2” 15 stone defender played the previous 3 seasons in the top league in Austria playing in 161 games for Graz EC.
Kuiper played 4 years at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in the prestigious Hockey East conference before turning pro in 2004 with the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League, the top affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks. In 2 seasons with the Admirals Kuiper played 143 games scoring 5 goals, adding 12 assists and amassing 213 penalty minutes.
Kuiper is expected to be a dominant force on the blueline this season for the Giants and adds size, strength and toughness to a very skilled defensive unit for the Giants.
“We targeted Nick from day 1 of the off-season,” said Giants Coach Doug Christiansen.
“He is an elite defender who plays physical and can shut down the best players from opposing teams. We were not the only EIHL team after him but we got our man. He will provide leadership for this team and stability to our defense next season.”
With over 170 games in the American Hockey League, Kuiper comes to Belfast ready to make an impact in the Elite League. His experience in North America shows that he can play a hard-nosed, intense brand of hockey and his time in Austria shows that he has the skill and speed for the European game.
Overall, a signing that Giants fans should be very pleased with and a player that should quickly win over the hearts of the Belfast supporters.
Click here to view Nick Kuiper’s career statistics: