Off Ice Staff
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.
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 Under 12 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 now responsible for event management and the delivery of game night operations.
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 content on the official website and social media channels.
Shane Johnson played professionally for 12 seasons and spent 9 of those with the Belfast Giants winning every major trophy in British ice hockey and earning a prestigious jersey retirement from the Giants organisation.
Shane who hung up his skates in 2010 is now settled in Northern Ireland and returned to the Giants in 2015 as a Project Manager, responsible for delivery of the successful NCAA Friendship Four tournament.
Since joining the Belfast Giants in 2009 Brandon has played in the United Kingdom, splitting time between the Belfast Giants and Nottingham Panthers. Signed as an extra import by the Giants in 2015 Brandon started working behind the scenes as a project manager whilst continuing his playing career.
Susan has been a fan of the Giants since day one and has worked in the arena box office for the past 6 years. With a vast amount of customer service and ticketing experience Susan joining the Giants full time 2015 and is responsible for all aspects of Giants ticketing including season tickets, group bookings and corporate hospitality.
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 eleventh 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, engaging with around 10,000 school children throughout the season.
Appointed as Head Coach on a two year contract as part of an exciting restructure of the organisation’s on-ice management Derrick Walser joins the Stena Line Belfast Giants.
Walser is a 37 year old defenceman who boasts experience in the NHL with the Columbus Blue Jackets, over 200 games with the DEL’s Eisbären Berlin as well as Spengler Cup success twice with Team Canada.
The new Giants player coach who hails from Nova Scotia, Canada joined the club from Rapperswil-Jona Lakers of Switzerland’s famous ‘A’ league – posting 123 points in 185 games during his previous four years there while being leading scoring defenceman in the 2013/14 & 2014/15 seasons.
Walser is without doubt one of the most creative players in the league and views the ice extremely well. That coupled with poise and composure on the puck has seen Derrick average almost a point per game in Giants colours and sits amongst the top scoring defencemen in the Elite League.
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.
Mark is in his third season as the Giants Team Doctor. He is a Sports Medicine Physician and runs a sports and musculoskeletal clinic at Malone Medical Chambers Belfast. Mark is a Fellow of the Irish College of Sports and Exercise Medicine and works with other local orthopaedic sports specialists including the Belfast Knee Clinic as well as providing musculoskeletal clinics for local GPs and hospitals.
A former County Level Gaelic Footballer with Armagh and Antrim, Mark was a member of the St Galls All-Ireland Club Winning Team in 2010. He still works closely with St Galls during the summer season as their club doctor. Mark is partner in a North Belfast general practice and is married to Nuala with 4 small children who are now all big Giants fans.
This is Petrina’s third season as the team Physio with the Belfast Giants.