Fans of the Belfast Giants are gearing up for an ice hockey bonanza this weekend as negotiations over the team's ownership and future direction continue.
Thousands of supporters will descend on the Odyssey Arena tonight and tomorrow for two key matches critical to the team’s aspiration to clinch the top spot in the Elite League table within the next week.
Attendances at the Belfast arena have shot up in recent times, with more than 5,000 fans attending a clash with Sheffield Steelers last Saturday.
The Giants moved last night to clarify ongoing negotiations to change the ownership of the team following revelations in the Belfast Telegraph.
American businessman Christopher Knight, who has interests |in banking, insurance, telecommunications and travel, confirmed that he is “currently negotiating the full acquisition of the Belfast Giants”.
“We anticipate these negotiations to complete fairly soon, with the intention of continuing what (stakeholder) Jim Gillespie has started, and making Belfast the envy of the nation,” he said in a joint statement with the team.
The statement said that, contrary to reports earlier in the week, neither Giants manager Todd Kelman, nor local politician Lord Laird, own any shares in the Giants at this time. His statement added: “Despite what has been reported, I am not the CEO of Knight Communications.
“Although I do travel to London and Belfast frequently, the majority of my time is split between New York City, Geneva and Kiev.
“Lord Laird has inspired me with the passion and resolve for Northern Ireland.
“He has shown me what drive, desire, and potential lies here in Belfast, and for this reason I have taken a strong interest in showing a side of Belfast to the world that is often blemished by the Troubles, which so often overwhelms the media abroad.
“As a life-long ice hockey fan, I am proud to be part of the tradition which is what the Giants are made of, and to have the honour of being able to contribute to such a proud organisation.”