Monday, June 23rd, 2008 – The Coors Belfast Giants are delighted to announce the double signing of former college teammates Bobby Robins and Andrew Martin for the 2008-09 ice hockey season. Both players played under Steve Thornton’s former college coach, Blaise Macdonald, at University of Massachusetts-Lowell and came with glowing references. They have both made smooth transitions to pro hockey and are excited to start their European careers with the Coors Belfast Giants.
Bobby Robins spent last season with the Elmira Jackals of the ECHL where he produced 35 points and 151 penalty minutes in 68 games. He comes to Belfast with over 100 games of AHL experience in the last 2 and-a-half years.
Player/Coach Steve Thornton had this to say:
“I have been chasing these 2 guys for quite a while now and I think that they are going to be very important players for us next year. The teams with 10 imports in our league seem to be leaning towards speed and skill with the other teams going for more size and toughness. Bobby Robins will tick both boxes for us. He will be able to play on a skilled line and at the same time keep other teams honest with his big physical presence. He has been described as a devastating hitter that can change the momentum of a game at any given moment. I spoke to 6 pro coaches about him and 3 of them tried to trade for him last season.”
Bobby Robins, speaking from his home in Wisconsin is looking forward to dawning the Giants jersey:
“I can’t wait to get there now and for the season to start. I have heard great things about the Belfast Giants and the fans you have there and this was a big influence in my decision to sign. I have been speaking to Steve for quite a while now and despite interest from some AHL teams, I really believe Belfast was the right choice for me.”
Andrew Martin’s biggest weapon is his speed. He had a very successful college career and has continued to impress since turning pro. He spent the last 2 seasons in the ECHL scoring 72 points in 93 games.
Thornton on Martin:
“Andrew is a guy that I didn’t think we would be able to get because there was interest in him from some other European leagues, as they love the speedy offensive guys. He has a great all round game and we expect him to score some big goals for us next season. When I spoke to his college coach and presented him with about 30 names that we were looking at, Andrew and Bobby were at the top of his list. He described Andrew as the complete package on and off the ice.”
Andrew spends his summer as a fitness coach to young aspiring hockey players in Toronto and is more than happy to be a Giant.
“I think my game is suited to the big European rinks. Speed is probably my best asset so I think that the big surface will be a bonus for me. I have spoken to Bobby and we both can’t wait to get over there now. Signing in Belfast felt like the right option for me at this stage in my career as I have had the chance to talk to quite a few people about the team and the city and it sounds like playing in Belfast is pretty tough to match elsewhere.”
General Manager Todd Kelman spoke about the two newest Giants:
“These 2 players are the type of people we expect to take the Giants to the next level on and off the ice. They both are captain material and have worn letters before. They both have been describes as animals in the gym and most importantly they both are very good hockey players that play both ends of the ice and are coming here with aspirations and expectations of winning. I think that Bobby and Andrew have potential to become fan favourites very quickly for different reasons. Steve and I speak everyday about players and we feel that the team is really starting to take shape now. With the players we have and the other guys we are talking to, Steve is going to have a hard time deciding who will wear the letters next season.”