Steve Thornton is returning to Belfast to take charge of the Giants for his third season as the Head Of Hockey Operations. Thornton, born in Edmonton, grew up in Ottawa Ontario where he played his Junior hockey before progressing to Boston University on a scholarship. Four successful years with the Terriers ended with a Bachelor of Science and Business Administration degree along with the coveted National Championship title in his Senior season.
He moved onto the pro ranks signing with the Peoria Rivermen of the former IHL before making the decision to “cross the pond”. The European career started in Austria, onto Germany before landing in the UK. He played for Cardiff and London before joining the Giants for his first stint in Belfast where he won the Playoff title in 2002/03.
When the Superleague collapsed, he moved to Italy, Switzerland, Sweden and then back to the UK. He was hired as the 5th coach in the Giants history and led the team to their biggest ever trophy haul winning the Challenge and Knockout Cup in his first season. The following year he missed out on the league trophy by a single point but was able to capture his second playoff title in Giants colours defeating Cardiff in a nail biting shootout.
Thornton, married with three daughters has made Belfast their home and is excited to defend the league crown.
James has grown up playing Ice Hockey in Northern Ireland and currently plays for the Giants in the Scottish National League. James is also involved in junior hockey and has recently represented Great Britain as coach of the Under12 national team.
Having graduated from the University of Ulster in 2006 with an Honours in Interactive Multimedia Design, James has worked with the Giants on all aspects of Web, Print and Graphic Design, and is also responsible for game night operations, season tickets and the day to day running of the office.
The 2015/16 Season will be the 15th year of Mark’s involvement behind the scenes with the Stena Line Belfast Giants. He has a Bachelors Degree in Marketing from Ulster University having graduated with Honours. Mark leads all of the Giants Commercial partnerships as well as all Communications and manages the official website and social media channels.
Rob Stewart rejoined the Belfast Giants in 2008, after spending two seasons as head coach of the Romford Raiders. No stranger to Belfast, Stewart played for the Giants for 3 seasons before becoming player/coach in 2003/04, the first season in the Elite League.The following season he coached in Sheffield and a year later he returned to playing with the Giants helping them to a League Title in 2006.
Jason “Taff” Ellery is the full-time Equipment Manager with the Belfast Giants. Taff plied his trade initially in his native Wales with the Cardiff Devils and then the London Knights. He has also been Equipment Manager with the GB team for the past 15 years and is involved with mentoring trainee Equipment Managers at IIHF Development Camps in the Middle East and Scandinavia.
Often first to arrive at the rink and last to leave, Taff plays a key role in the team’s preparation for games and training sessions, ensuring each player has the equipment needed in order to compete and that it is properly maintained at all times.
‘Gordy’, as he is more commonly known, is now in his eighth year with the Giants following over 30 years of teaching experience, more than half of which was spent as Vice –Principal in a large Primary School. Gordy takes responsibility for the planning, co-ordination and implementation of our Subway Healthy Lifestyle school visit programme throughout the season.
The Giants visit a large number of schools each year, meeting on average, 10,000 primary school children. The players talk to the pupils about Healthy Eating and Exercise to promote good health from an early age.