Belfast Giants All Stars Roster News - Hockey Can't Stop Tour
A live feed of player news for the Belfast Giants All Stars line-up on Wednesday 19 April at The SSE Arena, Belfast vs Dnipro Kherson.
Taking place at The SSE Arena, Belfast on Wednesday 19 April 2023, a one-off international will be contested between a purpose-built Belfast Giants All Stars team – consisting of current and former Giants players and a few special guests – and Ukrainian National Championship side Dnipro Kherson. The two teams will face off in aid of the charity Ukrainian Hockey Dream which is part of the Ice Hockey Federation of Ukraine’s ‘Hockey Can’t Stop Tour’.
Find out more about this one-of-a-kind fixture here.
The Belfast Giants All Stars *roster will be gradually announced in the coming weeks. Check-in here, and on Giants' social media channels for updates as announcements are made.
*Player lineup for this game is subject to change.
First up to be announced on the Giants All Stars lineup, confirmed on Tuesday 28 March, is former Giant, Jonathan Boxill.
Across three previous seasons in Belfast, Boxill helped the Giants to two Challenge Cups and an EIHL League title, quickly becoming a fan favourite due to his on-ice tenacity and total commitment to the cause. An accomplished penalty killer, Boxill also took pride in the defensive side of the game and was known to stick up for his teammates when the situation arose.
It was during the 2019 Challenge Cup Final versus the Guildford Flames when ‘Boxy’ made an indelible mark on Belfast Giants history; throwing his body down in front of a ferocious Calle Ackered power play shot deep in the third period, sending a tied game to overtime, and ultimately resulting in a Giants victory.
Boxill has also tasted success on the international stage, helping Team GB secure back-to-back Div 1B silver medals in the IIHF World Championships in 14/15 and 15/16.
Announced on Wednesday 29 March, current captain of the Stena Line Belfast Giants - David Goodwin - joins the All Stars roster lineup.
Captaining the Giants to a historic Viaplay Elite League and Challenge Cup double last season (2021/22), he's already lifted the Challenge Cup trophy in Belfast this year. In his College senior year with Penn State, Goodwin was named Captain and led his team to a Big 10 Championship, posting 38 points in 39 games played. He also received an NCAA Sportsmanship Award.
No stranger to travelling to pursue his hockey career, Goodwin has an extensive suite of experience - starting off with NCAA College hockey at Penn State in the USA, he moved on to pro business, spending seasons in Sweden, Finland, and Poland, leading him to his captaincy today in Belfast.
Next up to join the Belfast Giants All Stars, as confirmed on Thursday 30 March, is former left wing Steve Saviano.
Having spent two seasons at The SSE Arena, Belfast between 2016 and 2018, icing over 100 times for the Giants, Massachusetts born Saviano is best known for being a truly outstanding skater, with excellent top speed and acceleration, as well as being a hard worker in the offensive zone.
Saviano played an integral part in the Giants reaching the playoffs during both of his seasons in Belfast, before moving on to play for Weißwasser-based Lausitzer Füchse in the German DEL2, where he finished his career in 2019.
As revealed on Friday 31 March, the Giants’ resident Texan Jeff Baum joins the All Stars roster.
Instrumental in last season’s (2021/22) Viaplay Elite League and Challenge Cup double success, Baum has established himself as consistent and reliable work on the blue lined earned him the ‘Unsung Hero Award’ at the 2022 Belfast Giants awards night.
Baum’s first experience of Belfast was during the 2017/18 season, when he arrived at The SSE Arena, Belfast for the Friendship Four NCAA tournament with the Providence College Friars.
Before his commitment to Providence, Baum hit the headlines in his home state of Texas, after he was invited to developmental camp with the NHL’s Dallas Stars.
Joining the Belfast Giants All Stars today - Monday 3 April, is Canadian forward Darryl Lloyd.
Lloyd, who spent five seasons in Belfast, racked up over 200 appearances for the Giants between 2011 and 2016, netting more than 50 times in the process. Lloyd was also part of teams that won the Elite League on two occasions in the 2011/12 and 2013/14 seasons.
Since retiring from the ice in 2020, Lloyd took up the role of head coach at Toronto-based North York Renegades in 2021, with the team currently sitting top of the Greater Metro A Hockey League’s South Division.
As revealed at the Belfast Giants awards night on Monday 3 April, Teal Army favourite JJ Piccinich returns to Belfast to join the Giants All Stars roster.
A fourth-round draft pick for the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2014, Piccinich registered 42 goals and 55 assists in 64 appearances for the Giants, before signing for Norwegian side Stjernen Hockey in 2022.
The former London Knights, Orlando Solar Bears, Toronto Marlies, Newfoundland Growlers, San Antonio Rampage, and Tulsa Oilers forward was instrumental in the Giants’ 2021/22 Elite League and Challenge Cup successes, with the New Jersey-born Piccinich also being voted ‘Forward of the Season’ by Giants supporters last season (2021/22).
IT JUST HAD TO HAPPEN!
Just announced, your head coach Adam Keefe will hit the ice for the Belfast Giants All Stars on Wednesday 19 April 2023.
For many, Adam Keefe is the human embodiment of the Belfast Giants. A player, turned captain, turned head coach who arrived on these shores in 2011, Keefe's fearless style of play captured the hearts of the Teal Army from day one.
Keefe was a no-nonsense Giant on the ice, quick to drop the gloves and defend his teammates when the situation arose, and with 121 total points (51 goals and 70 assists) in 300 total games, he also knew where the net was.
Giants' Assistant Coach George Awada is the latest name to be confirmed on the lineup. Having played for the team for seven seasons in total between 2004 and 2012, Awada spent five seasons as captain for the men in teal and, overall, spent the most part of his professional hockey career icing with the Giants.
Since retiring from pro hockey, Awada has been furthering his hockey career as a coach and mentor, having gained a wealth of experience across the Atlantic in the US, where he has been the head coach of his former high school, the Two Rivers Warriors. In addition, Awada has been training ice hockey players of all ages with the likes of CCM High Performance League in Minnesota, the Minnesota Advancement Programme, and Four Star Hockey, where he played a key role in the recruitment, scouting and advancement of some of the nation's top players from Minnesota.
Veteran Scottish defenceman, and current #7 on the Giants' lineup, Mark Garside is the latest addition to the Belfast Giants All Stars roster - as revealed on Official Belfast Giants podcast, A View From The Bridge.
Having arrived in Belfast from the Edinburgh Capitals back in 2010, Garside has earned himself 'legend' status, having seen 12 season with the Giants. In recognition of his outstanding service to the club, Garside was deservedly awarded a testimonial game in 2020.
Currently the longest serving active Belfast Giant, the versatile defenceman has won a staggering 12 trophies as a Giant, and no less than five World Championship medals with Team GB.
Ballymoney native Andrew Dickson is latest to be named on the Belfast Giants All Stars roster as he rounds off his eleventh year as a Belfast Giants goaltender.
‘Dicko’ is a beloved figure among the Teal Army, and now finds himself among the longest tenured Giants in club history, and as is often said, the importance of Dickson cannot be measured by stats and appearances. The long-time backup netminder does much of his hard work behind closed doors in practice, and his willingness to go the extra mile in team preparations.
Beginning his hockey journey by playing in local inline leagues, Dickson spent time in the NIHL (formerly the English National League) with the Invicta Dynamos, posting a .912 save percentage through 19 games played in 2010-11, before becoming a Giant on a permanent basis.
Next up to join the journey is former Giant Paul Swindlehurst.
Having retired from professional ice hockey in 2021 to pursue a career with the police, Swindlehurst also represented fellow Elite League sides Dundee Stars, Nottingham Panthers, Manchester Storm, and Coventry Blaze during his 10-year career on the ice.
The 25-year-old British defenceman is no stranger to success, having been awarded 'Young British Player of the Year' during the 2013/14 and winning the Elite League and Challenge Cup with the Giants in 2018/19.
The ever-reliable Mark Cooper will take to the ice as a Belfast Giants All Star against Dnipro Kherson.
Having arrived in Belfast in the 2021/22 season, the 30-year-old forward, who was named as one of David Goodwin’s assistant captains ahead of the 2022/23 campaign, attended Bowling Green State University, where he represented the NCAA D1 Falcons between 2012 and 2016, posting 91 points (45 goals and 46 assists).
Prior to joining the Giants, Cooper featured in 45 AHL games - North America’s second tier to the NHL, for the Chicago Wolves, Tuscon Roadrunners, San Antonio Rampage, and Charlotte Checkers.
Cooper has previously been compared to former Giant Kyle Baun, and is best-known as a big powerful forward who is unafraid to go to the net and work hard for points.
Your #12 Grant Cooper will join the Belfast Giants All Stars on Wednesday 19 April 2023.
Joining the Giants from NIHL side Leeds Knights earlier in the 2022/23 season, Cooper has previously represented a number of North American teams, including Cornwall Colts, Clarkson University and Reading Royals.
Cooper has made a fantastic start to his Giants career, scoring 15 points (five goals and 10 assists) in 22 Elite League and Challenge Cup games.
Belfast Giants ‘Defenceman of the Year’ Gabe Bast is the latest player to join the All Stars roster.
Arriving in Belfast at the start of the 2022/23 season from Finnish side Kalevan Pallo, Bast has quickly established himself as a key member of the Giants lineup this season, having made 68 appearances in all competitions - tallying 71 total points.
Bast, who was also voted Belfast Giants 2022/23 ‘Young Player of the Year’, has had championship pedigree throughout his career, winning no less than five junior titles before his enrolment at the University of North Dakota, where he went on to clinch back-to-back NCHC regular season Penrose Cups with the NCAA D1 Fighting Hawks, followed by an NCHC championship in his senior year.
Belfast's own Mack Stewart is an All Star.
As announced on Tuesday 11 April 2023, up-and-coming Giants forward Mack Stewart will take to the ice against Dnipro Kherson at The SSE Arena, Belfast.
Son of legendary Giant and current assistant coach Rob Stewart, Mack Stewart has risen through the ranks, having represented the Giants at U16 and U20, before making his debut for the senior team in the the 2021/22 season.
Stewart, who also has experience icing for Leeds Knights, Milton Keynes Lightning and Solway Sharks, has represented Great Britain at U18 and U20 level, scoring an impressive 14 points in 10 games.
Belfast-born defenceman Kell Beattie has been added to the All Stars roster.
A product of the Junior Belfast Giants setup, Beattie progressed through the Belfast U16 and U20 ranks, before making a move into the British lower leagues to further his development with ice time.
After his career with the Junior Giants, 19-year-old Beattie joined the NIHL 1’s Solway Sharks in 2021/22, scoring five goals and adding nine assists for a total of 14 points in 29 games played.
Beattie made his Belfast Giants debut in the 2021/22 season in a Challenge Cup double-header weekend against Fife Flyers, alongside fellow local lad Mack Stewart. Beattie went on to finish the season with EIHL League and Challenge Cup winners’ medals.
Currently the Belfast Giants’ only Scandinavian representative, Henrik Eriksson joins the All Star roster.
Prior to becoming a Giant, Eriksson played for several teams in his native Sweden, as well as Austria, Norway, Denmark and Italy, before landing in Belfast midway through the 2022/23 season.
It’s fair to say that Eriksson has adapted quickly to life in Northern Ireland, notching 11 points in 19 games during his debut season.
Eriksson is no stranger to success, having won the Italian Supercup in 2018/19 and the Elite League and Challenge Cup in the 2022/23 season.
Tim Cook returns to Belfast as an All Star!
The 39-year-old defenceman played over 130 NCAA games for the University of Michigan before going on to represent the Texas Wildcatters and Florida Everblades in the ECHL. Cook also had a stint with Danish side Totempo HVIK during the 2008/09 season.
Cook arrived in Belfast in the 2009/10 season, icing over 80 times across his two seasons as a Giant. During his time in the land of the Giants, Cook was a playoff champion during the 2009/10 season, netting a goal on the Giants' road to the final.
26-year-old forward Matt McLeod is the latest name to be added to the Belfast Giants All Stars lineup.
Joining the Giants in February 2023, McLeod arrived in the Elite League after two and a half seasons in the ECHL with the Cincinnati Cyclones and the Brampton Beast, where he recorded 65 points (31 goals and 34 assists). McLeod, who hails from Mississauga in Ontario, made 124 appearances for Canisius College in the NCAA, totalling 25 points (eight goals and 17 assists), before turning professional ahead of the 2019/20 season.
Since arriving in Belfast, McLeod, who is the older brother of New Jersey Devils’ Michael McLeod and Edmonton Oilers’ Ryan McLeod, has made an impressive start in teal, racking up 12 points (seven goals and five assists) in just 14 League and Challenge Cup games.
Having spent three seasons in Belfast, Ciaran Long joins up with the Giants All Stars ahead of Wednesday 19 April.
Icing well over 100 times for the Giants, Long is a product of the English youth system, going on to make his name in the EPIHL - most notably with the Swindon Wildcats.
The Birmingham native has 546 EPIHL games under his belt, during which time he dressed for the Wildcats, Slough Jets, Basingstoke Bison and Manchester Phoenix - netting 224 goals and 228 assists between 2005 and 2017, good for 452 points total.
Long had his breakout year in 2018/19 while with the Manchester Storm. With a staggering 29 goals and 36 assists, earning him 65 points, Long ended the season as the EIHL’s British Player of the Year, holding the record for most goals scored by a British player, before Belfast came calling.
The 2022/23 Belfast Giants' MVP and 2022/23 Viaplay Elite League top points scorer Scott Conway joins the All Stars roster.
Arriving in Belfast ahead of the 2021/22 season, Conway has established himself as a key member of the Giants roster, scoring an impressive 100 points in his debut season in Belfast. The Great Britain international exceeded his last season's points tally in fine fashion during the 2022/23 campaign, with a staggering 115 points in 68 games in all competitions.