Equipped with a strong defensive game, and wearing the #2 jersey, Friend is set to arrive in Belfast off the back of three seasons with ECHL side Jacksonville Icemen; affiliate club of the NHL’s New York Rangers. The last two seasons, he reached Playoff rounds with the Icemen, shyly missing out on the Kelly Cup championship title each time.
In the earlier days of his ice hockey journey, Jacob Friend spent four seasons in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) with Owen Sound Attack and earned captaincy for his final season spent with the side in 2017/18. From the OHL, Friend moved on to play College hockey for Saint Mary’s University with the Saint Mary’s Huskies between 2018 and 2020. Since graduating college, Friend has also iced two loan spells with AHL sides, Charlotte Checkers and Manitoba Moose.
Commenting on the signing of Jacob Friend, head coach Adam Keefe said: “We are excited to add Jacob to our blue line. He’s one of the best shutdown defencemen in the ECHL and will make it difficult for players in other teams. He’s a very capable two-way defenceman, and I think he will also add some offence whilst protecting our blue line.”
“Jacob comes highly recommended to us as a tough and strong character guy, with great leadership skills. We look forward to welcoming him to Belfast.”
Speaking of his signing with the Belfast Giants, Jacob Friend said: “I am stoked to join the Belfast Giants for this season! Belfast is renowned for its passionate fan base and closeknit team culture, and I can’t wait to be involved in that legacy.
“I’m looking forward to embracing a new challenge, push myself to new limits, and make memories with my teammates. Here’s hoping we can bring some silverware home, too.”
Further signings are expected to be announced in the coming weeks - keep an eye on Belfast Giants’ website and social media channels for the latest news and signing announcements.
Belfast Giants 2023/24 pre-season home fixtures have been confirmed to take place on Friday 25th August at 7pm vs Cardiff Devils, and Saturday 16th September at 7pm vs Glasgow Clan. Tickets are available for purchase here.