Hailing from Ontario, 26-year-old Cooper makes inroads to Belfast following a successful start to the season across the water with NIHL leaders, Leeds Knights – having notched up 35 goals and 35 assists in 30 games, good for 70 points since the beginning of the season.
In his journey to pro, Cooper played junior league in his native home country, skating in the CCHL for five seasons with the Cornwall Colts – during which time, he placed in a First All-Star Team, alongside being named the CCHL’s Outstanding Graduate Player, and lifted the CCHL championship trophy with the Colts in the 2012/13 season.
Cooper moved on to play NCAA college hockey with Clarkson University in 2017 – in his first year with the team, Clarkson arrived on these shores to compete in the Friendship Four tournament at The SSE Arena, Belfast, the home of the Belfast Giants – and ultimately emerged as champions, hoisting the coveted Belpot Trophy. His last stop before making his UK roster debut with the Knights, was in the ECHL with the Reading Royals.
Speaking of his impending arrival in Belfast, Grant Cooper said: “I’m looking forward to arriving in Belfast and getting started. I’ve heard great things about the club, the fanbase and the League – so that really influenced my decision to sign with the Giants. I loved my time in Belfast when I played Friendship Four with Clarkson, the city made a lasting impression for sure.
“My plan when I hit the ice is to get straight to work, compete to the best of my ability, make offensive plays, and hopefully win some games.”
Speaking of the signing, Belfast Giants head coach Adam Keefe said: “Grant Cooper has been on our radar throughout this season, since he signed with the Leeds Knights, he’s had a great season there.
“He comes with great references about his two-way game, and willingness to do whatever it takes to help the team win, and another Friendship Four alumni coming back to us from Clarkson University.”
The Stena Line Belfast Giants are set for a busy series of January home fixtures at The SSE Arena, Belfast – including their Challenge Cup semi-final second-leg battle at home on Wednesday 25 January, and a blockbuster double header weekend to finish the month vs Sheffield Steelers on Friday 27 and Saturday 28 January. Get your tickets HERE!