Belfast Giants announce first signings for 2021/22 season
Fan Favourites Darcy Murphy, Kevin Raine and Tyler Beskorowany will return to Belfast
The Stena Line Belfast Giants are pleased to announce the signing of Darcy Murphy, Kevin Raine and Tyler Beskorowany for the forthcoming 2021/22 season.
The trio of fan favourites return to Belfast with their EIHL Championship credentials still fresh in the hearts and minds of the Teal Army, as the club and fans gear up for a long-awaited return to the ice this autumn.
The news was announced during an exclusive virtual event for Season Ticket Holders on Wednesday evening, hosted by Giants commentator, Simon Kitchen.
Commenting on the signings, Belfast Giants Head Coach Adam Keefe said: “This day has been a long time coming for both the club and the fans. We’re gearing up to make a big impact when we get back on the ice in Belfast this season and these signings show we mean business. Darcy Murphy, Kevin Raine and Tyler Beskorowany are players of exceptional standing, each with significant on ice achievements here in Belfast and elsewhere.”
Further signings are expected to be announced in the coming weeks. Fixtures for the forthcoming ElHL2021/22 Season are expected to be announced in late July.
Season Ticket Holders that have yet to renew for the forthcoming season can still do so. Prices will be held at the 2019/20 rates until Monday 26th July 2021. Previously advertised incentives will also be honoured for any season ticket holders that sign up by this date. To purchase your Season Ticket,click here.
BEHIND THE SIGNINGS WITH A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE
In a special report for BelfastGiants.com, Joel Neill from the A View from the Bridge podcast caught up with the signings ahead of the official announcement.
DARCY MURPHY | #15 | MARYSVILLE, ONTARIO, CANADA
Forward Darcy Murphy got his first taste of hockey in Belfast when Colgate University took to the ice for the inaugural Friendship Four tournament in 2015. Citing this formative experience as a catalyst for the move, the free scoring Ontario native arrived in Belfast in 2017 and wasted no time in lighting up the fans and the lamp.
In his two seasons in Teal, Murphy posted a staggering 83 goals and 77 assists, good for 160 points. His offensive production and eye for a clutch goal helped the Giants achieve back-to-back Challenge Cup victories in 2017/18 and 2018/19, along with an unforgettable 2018/2019 EIHL Championship.
The first ever Giant to tally 50 goals in a single season, Murphy was also named EIHL Forward of the Year and earned a spot in the EIHL’s first All Star Team before his time in Belfast came to an end.
Making his return after spells in Germany, Switzerland and Poland, the 28-year-old is focused on picking up right where he left off.
Commenting on his return he said:“It’s going to be a new team, but you have to be ready for it. Every game counts! I have a good relationship with Adam Keefe and Steve Thornton and kept in touch over the last couple of years. I felt like it was a good fit and a good time to return.
“I’m excited to see all of the familiar faces. I’m excited to play hockey again in Belfast and I’m sure everyone else is excited after missing it for the last 15 months!”
Despite only having one season in Belfast under his belt, Tyler Beskorowany is regarded by many Giants fans as one of their all-time favourites.
The 6’4” goaltender’s knack for a highlight reel save routinely stunned fans and opposing forwards alike; often displaying the reaction speeds and fluid technique of players much smaller in stature.
The man known to the Teal Army as ‘Besko’ backstopped the Giants to a scintillating League and Cup double in 2018/19, posting a 2.09 goals against average, a .924 save percentage and eight shutouts in 71 games. An EIHL Goaltender of the Year award followed, before a move to HC Banska Bystrica in Slovakia.
After working at home in Canada during the pandemic, Beskorowany’s believes his fated return is well timed. Speaking ahead of the announcement, he said: “I went camping with my brother-in-law, and I was listening to some tunes and reminiscing about my time in Belfast. I started missing the game again. I started missing that feeling of playing, and being in those competitive situations.
“Two days after my camping trip, Keefer ended up texting me and I knew that had to be fate!
“I think Belfast expects success, they want to see the team do well. The fans really are the seventh man out there. We thrive off that, and to be able to get that feeling back again - I'm excited, I can't wait.”
KEVIN RAINE | #22 | DRYDEN, ONTARIO, CANADA
Returning for his fourth season in Teal, 28-year-old Kevin Raine is the old adage of ‘defence wins championships’ personified.
Hailing from the small town of Dryden, Ontario, Raine had trophy winning pedigree long before he first arrived in on these shores in 2017. The Defenseman was part of the London Knights roster who secured the OHL’s J. Ross Robertson Cup in 2011/12, before hoisting the AHL’s Calder Cup just two years later with the Manchester Monarchs.
It was no surprise that Raine’s first three years in Belfast produced back-to-back Challenge Cups and a League title. He earned an Assistant captaincy for Adam Keefe’s men in 2019/20, before the EIHL season was curtailed early due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
And after 18 months working construction at home in Ontario and pouring time into his own personal development, he’s relishing the chance to return to Belfast: “The people that you meet, the teammates I've had and the experiences we've had on the ice create this slide show of really great memories,” says Raine.
“Getting to win the Challenge Cup back-to-back years, getting to win the League title... the list could go on and on. Belfast is a special place for me.
“Ultimately, had Belfast not had a season this year I don't know that I would have played. I wanted to return to Belfast, to continue to play for the Belfast Giants.”
Photos by William Cherry/Presseye.
The Stena Line Belfast Giants have announced the signing of fan favourites Darcy Murphy, Kevin Raine and Tyler Beskorowany for the forthcoming 2021/22 season.