Mark Cooper has been selected as the Giants’ new captain, with experienced players Ben Lake, Mark Garside, and Ciaran Long named assistant captains for the upcoming season. The line-up sees Lake and Garside return as assistant captains for the third successive season, with Ciaran Long deservedly re-joining the leadership group following his initial appointment during the 2022/23 season.
Following David Goodwin’s departure from the club in the summer, treble-winning forward Cooper takes up captaincy after two influential seasons as assistant captain.
Adam Keefe, head coach of the Belfast Giants, said: “I’m incredibly happy with the leadership group that we’ve got in place this season. All these guys led from the front throughout the duration of last season and played a huge part in the successes we had on the ice. Mark Cooper has been a standout individual – both on and off the ice, for a number of seasons now. His attitude, work ethic, and leadership has been second to none, and I can’t think of anyone better to lead the team this season.
“We’re fortunate to have a group of leaders, who always go above and beyond for the team, week in and week out. Ben Lake’s tenacity and intensity, Ciaran Long’s flexibility on the ice and presence in the locker room, and Mark Garside’s wealth of experience and mentor mentality make them ideal assistant captains for 2023/24.”
First arriving in Belfast for the 2021/22 season, 31-year-old Cooper has iced over 100 times for the Giants, fast establishing himself as one of the cornerstones of the team. Contributing an impressive 54 total points in 50 games during the 2022/23 season, Cooper played a pivotal role as the club secured its first domestic treble in history.
The Belfast Giants return to The SSE Arena, Belfast on Saturday 9 September 2023, taking on Italian side, HC Bolzano in the Champions Hockey League group stages. Tickets are on sale here.