Giants Complete 2022/23 Roster with Investment in Local Talent
The Stena Line Belfast Giants are pleased to confirm the return of young home-grown players, Mack Stewart and Kell Beattie for the 2022/23 season.
The news, which demonstrates the Giants’ commitment to developing local talent, is a fitting way for the team to tie off its summer recruitment campaign.
In their professional debuts last year, Stewart and Beattie each made double-digit appearances for the Giants, securing EIHL League and Challenge Cup winners’ medals, before going on to impressive performances at the Under 18 World Junior Championships with Team GB this summer.
Mack Stewart, son of Giants legend and assistant coach Rob Stewart, returns following an impressive first season in teal, making 18 appearances and collecting two assists before ultimately scoring his debut pro goal in a season-closing overtime win against the Sheffield Steelers.
This year, the 18-year-old left-winger/centreman will split his time between the Giants and Milton Keynes Lightening as part of a two-way deal. Securing a place on the Giants roster, alongside valuable ice time across the water in Milton Keynes represents an exciting new chapter in his career.
18-year-old Belfast-born defenceman Kell Beattie, will continue to skate with the Giants’ this season, with a two-way deal agreed with Scottish side, Solway Sharks. The deal follows a strong first season, where he played a core role in Solway’s NIHL National Championship and Playoff title wins, alongside 11 appearances on the blue line for the Giants, finishing the season with a plus/minus of +3.
Both players are products of the Junior Giants system, having met on-ice at just five years old. Both progressed through the Belfast U16 and U20 ranks, before making a move into the British lower leagues to further their development with ice time.
Commenting on the announcement, head coach Adam Keefe said: “Investing in local talent is incredibly important to this organisation. Mack and Kell made a big contribution on and off the ice last season, playing well beyond their years and helping the team out when we needed it most, and we see these players as a crucial part of the team.
“Mack has earned a place on the Giants roster this season and his two-way deal with Milton Keynes Lightning, will give him the opportunity to get regular ice time that is key to his development. Kell’s deal with Solway Sharks will allow him the flexibility to train and skate with the Giants, and we look forward to seeing him back at The SSE this season.
"Belfast is proud of its local players, and we will do all we can to continue to provide chances for young talent to grow and improve.”
Rob Stewart, Belfast Giants assistant coach and head of the Junior Giants programme said: “This is an exciting time for Mack and for Kell. These two-way contracts will help them build on the success of last season and the character-building experiences they have had, both with the Giants, Team GB and in the NIHL. There is quality pipeline of talent coming through the Junior Giants programme and this investment in young players is critical to the ongoing development of homegrown players.”
This final announcement signals the completion of the 2022/23 player roster, ahead of the season kickstarting later this month. Tickets for the 2022/2023 home Pre-Season, Premier Sports Elite League, Challenge Cup, and CHL home games at The SSE Arena, Belfast are on sale NOW.
More information and a full list of fixtures are available here.
MORE ABOUT OUR LATEST SIGNINGS
MACK STEWART | BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND | #86
18-year-old forward Mack Stewart graduated from the Junior Giants U20 side into GB’s second tier of hockey, the NIHL, with a move to the newly formed Leeds Knights in 2021-22, following a brief stint in Scotland with the Solway Sharks.
Having secured a silver medal for GB at the Youth Winter Olympics in January 2020, his breakthrough on the international stage came at the Under 18 World Junior Championships with Team GB this summer, where he made waves by scoring three goals and two assists in five games as an Alternate Captain. The side would go on to clinch the bronze medal.
Stewart made 18 total appearances for the Belfast Giants in 2021-22, collecting two assists and ultimately scoring his debut pro goal in a season-closing overtime win against the Sheffield Steelers.
KELL BEATTIE | BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND | #21
After his career with the Junior Giants, 18-year-old defenceman Kell Beattie joined the NIHL 1’s Solway Sharks in 2021-22, scoring five goals and adding nine assists for a total of 14 points in 29 games played. The Sharks finished the 21/22 season as NIHL 1 National Champions, NIHL 1 North Champions and NIHL 1 Playoff Champions.
Beattie also represented Scotland in the EIHA Conference at U11, U13, U15 and U17 levels- winning three Championships (U11, U13, U15). He was selected to the Team GB World Junior Championships squad this summer, adding one goal and two assists to a solid defensive performance on the way to a bronze medal.