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- Me, Myself, and I
- well the 07/08 Coors belfast giants season has come to an end so it that time of the year again were every body waits to see who has signed for us and who is leaven us to go eles were. and in past seasons the giants have had wait until about june to say who coach is going to be but this season todd kelman wasted no time and and told everybody who the new coach was going to be in fact i dont think everybody was even home form the play offs before it went up on the site? and yes it was the one the only Mr Steve Thornton so with him as coach he wasted no time in signing dave phillips form the stingrays.and colin Shields from the vipers.
the 08/09 team
Steve Thornton player/coach
Dave Phillipes (D)
Colin Shields (f) 2 year deal
Shane Johnson (D)
Graeme Walton (D)
Nathan Craze (NM)
Stevie Lyle (NM)
Adam Cree (nm)
Mark Morrison (F)
Andrew Martin (F)
Bobby Robins (F)
Paul Sample (F)
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Monday, June 23rd, 2008 - The Coors Belfast Giants are delighted to announce the double signing of former college teammates Bobby Robins and Andrew Martin for the 2008-09 ice hockey season. Both players played under Steve Thornton's former college coach, Blaise Macdonald, at University of Massachusetts-Lowell and came with glowing references. They have both made smooth transitions to pro hockey and are excited to start their European careers with the Coors Belfast Giants.
Bobby Robins spent last season with the Elmira Jackals of the ECHL where he produced 35 points and 151 penalty minutes in 68 games. He comes to Belfast with over 100 games of AHL experience in the last 2 and-a-half years.
Player/Coach Steve Thornton had this to say:
"I have been chasing these 2 guys for quite a while now and I think that they are going to be very important players for us next year. The teams with 10 imports in our league seem to be leaning towards speed and skill with the other teams going for more size and toughness. Bobby Robins will tick both boxes for us. He will be able to play on a skilled line and at the same time keep other teams honest with his big physical presence. He has been described as a devastating hitter that can change the momentum of a game at any given moment. I spoke to 6 pro coaches about him and 3 of them tried to trade for him last season."
Bobby Robins, speaking from his home in Wisconsin is looking forward to dawning the Giants jersey:
"I can't wait to get there now and for the season to start. I have heard great things about the Belfast Giants and the fans you have there and this was a big influence in my decision to sign. I have been speaking to Steve for quite a while now and despite interest from some AHL teams, I really believe Belfast was the right choice for me."
Andrew Martin's biggest weapon is his speed. He had a very successful college career and has continued to impress since turning pro. He spent the last 2 seasons in the ECHL scoring 72 points in 93 games.
Thornton on Martin:
"Andrew is a guy that I didn't think we would be able to get because there was interest in him from some other European leagues, as they love the speedy offensive guys. He has a great all round game and we expect him to score some big goals for us next season. When I spoke to his college coach and presented him with about 30 names that we were looking at, Andrew and Bobby were at the top of his list. He described Andrew as the complete package on and off the ice."
Andrew spends his summer as a fitness coach to young aspiring hockey players in Toronto and is more than happy to be a Giant.
"I think my game is suited to the big European rinks. Speed is probably my best asset so I think that the big surface will be a bonus for me. I have spoken to Bobby and we both can't wait to get over there now. Signing in Belfast felt like the right option for me at this stage in my career as I have had the chance to talk to quite a few people about the team and the city and it sounds like playing in Belfast is pretty tough to match elsewhere."
General Manager Todd Kelman spoke about the two newest Giants:
"These 2 players are the type of people we expect to take the Giants to the next level on and off the ice. They both are captain material and have worn letters before. They both have been describes as animals in the gym and most importantly they both are very good hockey players that play both ends of the ice and are coming here with aspirations and expectations of winning. I think that Bobby and Andrew have potential to become fan favourites very quickly for different reasons. Steve and I speak everyday about players and we feel that the team is really starting to take shape now. With the players we have and the other guys we are talking to, Steve is going to have a hard time deciding who will wear the letters next season."
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Monday, April 14th, 2008 - New player/coach Steve Thornton added his second signing of the off-season sticking with his promise of improving his non-imports by signing Colin Shields to a two year deal.
Shields led the Newcastle Vipers in scoring this year with 36 goals and 37 assists, good for 73 points in only 56 games. This will be his second stint in Belfast, his first was as a member of the League winning side of 2005/06. That year, Shields finished with 53 points (15 goals, 38 assists) despite joining the Giants late and only icing in 38 of their 55 games.
Thornton, who is in Austria watching Team GB in the World Championships was extremely pleased to get Shields locked up for the next two seasons.
"Colin is an offensive juggernaut who makes players around him better. He has tons of speed, a great shot, tremendous playmaking ability and a real mind for the game. He is going to get a lot of points for the Giants over the next two seasons. Any fans that watched him in 05/06 know how smooth he is on the ice and playing against him all season, I saw how he can break open a game at any time, which is exactly the type of player every team needs."
Unfortunately, Shields is not in Austria with his GB team-mates, he is nursing a broken foot suffered in the Vipers semi-final loss to Coventry two weekends ago in Nottingham. The injury to his foot is a standard break that occurred when he blocked a shot from GB Captain Jonathan Weaver, meaning it will take around 6 weeks to heal completely and then Shields will be back on the ice and in the gym preparing for the upcoming season.
"I enjoyed my time in Newcastle a lot and I have nothing but good things to say about the Vipers organization, the fans and the city," said Shields. "I have played in Belfast before, my wife and I made a lot of friends there and knowing where I will be playing for the next couple of years will allow us to put down some roots and settle for a while."
"I won a Championship with the Giants before and I believe that Steve can build a team that can do the same. I am really looking forward to next season and I'm sure all of the fans in Belfast are as well!"
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Thursday, April 10th, 2008 - The Coors Belfast Giants new Head Coach didn't waste any time making his first signing, and it's a big one! 6'3" British Defenceman Dave Phillips from the Hull Stingrays is the first player to sign up for the 2008/09 season under Thornton.
Phillips has spent the last four seasons with Hull and has blossomed into one of the top British Defencemen in the Elite League. This year he was an assistant captain with the Stingrays as well as their top defenceman scoring 5 goals and 13 assists for 18 points playing in all 62 games for the Stingrays.
Steve Thornton had this to say about his first signing, "I saw a lot of Phillips this season and I would rate him as the second best British Defenceman in the league behind Jonathan Weaver. He has size and strength and a ton of skill. Every guy I asked about him said he was a superb player and a great guy to have in the locker room. You don't see many 20 year olds in this league wearing an 'A' (assistant captain) on their jersey."
Hull counted on Phillips to log a great deal of ice time for them this season in every situation. He was a regular on the Stingrays powerplay and 2 of his 5 goals came with the man advantage. He is currently preparing for the World Championships with Team GB and his signing with the Giants will surely raise a few eyebrows of the teams around the league.
Thornton continued, "When I took this job, I asked Todd who had to come back and he told me to build the team I want that will win championships. He didn't give me any names of players that were guarantees. It's nothing against the players from last season, but if I think I can get better players for the same money that will improve this hockey team, that is what I am going to do. I am sure this signing will surprise a few people around the league and maybe a few of the players from last year and that's not a bad thing. It's nobody's right to play for the Giants, in my eyes this is the best place to play in the UK and I want players that understand the commitment that will come along with being a Belfast Giant, on and off the ice. Phillips is a young player that wants to win, works hard in the gym and on the ice. I have heard nothing but great things about this guy and I look forward to working with him next season."
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