Hailing from Dryden, Ontario, ‘Rainer’ has been widely considered to be among the best defencemen in the Elite Ice Hockey League. The two-time Viaplay Elite Ice Hockey League Champion, and three-time Challenge Cup Champion has also indulged in winning ways elsewhere, having lifted the AHL’s Calder Cup and the OHL’s J. Ross Robertson cup in a glittering professional ice hockey career.
During his career with the Giants, the 29-year-old has been known to play a robust defensive game on the blue line – and not one to shy away from making crucial hits on the ice. Raine has appeared for the men in teal a total of 225 times (EIHL, Challenge Cup and playoff games) in five seasons. In this time, he’s notched up 13 goals, 60 assists, good for 73 points.
When Raine arrived in Belfast in 2017 from the ECHL's Florida Everblades, Giants’ head coach Adam Keefe called him “my type of player.” Leadership qualities have proven to be prevalent in Raine’s suite of skills, with being named as Giants’ Alternate Captain in his last two seasons with the club, he also previously held the Captaincy of the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves.
Whilst the tenacious 6’1” Canadian is established as a big-hitting d-man on the ice, Kevin’s off-ice demeanour couldn’t be more contrasting. Having voiced his passion for mindfulness and wellbeing, he recently became a charity ambassador with Action Mental Health NI, using his voice and platforms to open up important conversations around mental health, and to passionately support a cause close to his heart. During his time in Belfast, Kevin has also actively involved himself with campaigns and charities such as Movember, and Little Princess Trust.
Speaking of his retirement, Kevin Raine said: "It has not been an easy decision, but ultimately the best one for me at this time. I’ve been lucky to have played the way I have for so long and am excited to find similar success in what comes next.
“Since 2017, I’ve had the pleasure of playing alongside some of the best people I’ve ever met, in front of the best fans I’ve ever seen, in one the most special places I’ve ever been. The city of Belfast has a huge place in my heart – the time I’ve spent here makes up the most transformative years of my life. I thank the fans for their support – and I'll miss nothing more than everyone meeting me at the glass after a big home win.
“Next for me, I will continue to embody the Personal Best message. A huge transition period lies ahead, and it’ll be Belfast where I will remain throughout the duration. With the support of my friends and family, as well as my (now former) teammates – the city of Belfast is my home, and where I choose to stack bricks until the end of the 2022/23 season, as per the original plan.”
Adam Keefe, head coach, Belfast Giants said: “Rainer has done Giant things for this team, this organisation, and the fans that follow us. On the ice, he knew what it took to win and was willing to do anything to help his team do so. He was the league's best defenceman, that other teams feared playing against. Off the ice, he understood what it meant to be a Belfast Giant in the community.
“We’d like to thank Kevin, for five incredible seasons in Belfast. Whilst we're disappointed to see him go, this is the start of an exciting new chapter for him, and we wish him all the best for what lies ahead.”
This season, Kevin Raine will continue to be a sponsor of the Belfast Giants through his own business, Personal Best, that offers a range of services and apparel encouraging one’s continued pursuit of their very own personal best. Apparel and accessories can be purchased at merchandise stands at Belfast Giants’ home games throughout the season, and online here.