Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Belfast Giants: 22 giant facts about our heroes of the ice

The Belfast Giants are riding high after clinching the Elite League title by a massive 22 points ahead of their nearest rivals. Amanda Ferguson presents 22 fascinating facts you should know about our favourite ice hockey team

1The Stena Line Belfast Giants professional ice hockey team were founded in 2000 and have been based at the Odyssey Arena ever since, playing in front of more than 1.2m home spectators in that time.

2 They boast just three players from Northern Ireland – Gareth Roberts and Robbie Brown from Belfast and Andrew Dickson from Ballymoney.

3 The rest of the champs hail from Scotland (three), England (three) and America (two), with 10 Canadians.

4 Their victorious captain is Adam Keefe (above), who is seen as being particularly popular with the team's female fans. The Canadian pro has more than 7,500 followers on Twitter.

5 As if his winning style of play and hunky looks aren't attractive enough, Keefe is also a big-hearted soul and supports a number of charities in Northern Ireland, including the Oscar Knox Appeal.

6 Unusually, the Giants' fan base is an almost 50/50 split between men and women (most sports are 70-90% male dominated).

7 Canadian Darryl Lloyd (right) is another favourite with the ladies in the Odyssey. The handsome left-wing is 5ft 10ins, from Ontario and known for his hard-hitting style on the ice.

8 The Belfast Giants' motto is 'In the land of the Giants, everyone is equal.'

9 The Elite League is technically still ongoing, but the Giants' 3-1 victory over Nottingham means it is impossible for any other team to overtake them. The win puts the Giants a whopping 22 points clear at the top of the Elite League, ahead of Braehead and Sheffield.

Dustin Whitecotton of the Belfast Giants celebrates after scoring the second goal against Ben Bowns of the Hull Stingrays during the Elite League game at the Odyssey Arena, Belfast. Picture: Michael Cooper
Dustin Whitecotton of the Belfast Giants celebrates after scoring the second goal against Ben Bowns of the Hull Stingrays during the Elite League game at the Odyssey Arena, Belfast. Picture: Michael Cooper
Mark Garside of the Belfast Giants in action against the Hull Stingrays during the Elite League game at the Odyssey Arena, Belfast. Picture: Michael Cooper
Mark Garside of the Belfast Giants in action against the Hull Stingrays during the Elite League game at the Odyssey Arena, Belfast. Picture: Michael Cooper
Jeffrey Szwez of the Belfast Giants in action against Omar Pacha of the Hull Stingrays during the Elite League game at the Odyssey Arena, Belfast. Picture: Michael Cooper
Jeffrey Szwez of the Belfast Giants in action against Omar Pacha of the Hull Stingrays during the Elite League game at the Odyssey Arena, Belfast. Picture: Michael Cooper

10 The Giants have now won eight major trophies in their 14-season history: Super League Champions 2002; Super League Playoff Champions 2003; Elite League Champions 2006; Knock Out Cup Champions 2009; Challenge Cup Champions 2009; Elite League Playoff Champions 2010; Elite League Champions 2012, and Elite League Champions 2014.

11 The Giants won the league this season faster than any other team in its history.

12The tallest Giant on the team is defence man Cody Brookwell (above right), who is 6ft 4ins tall.

13 The shortest Giant is Robbie Brown (right), who stands at 5ft 7ins.

14The Giants have a number of rituals/habits they observe before taking to the ice. Darryl Lloyd never sits in the locker room in between periods – he sits alone outside in the hall.

15 Forward Dustin Whitecotton taps all of the starting line-ups' shin pads before the puck is dropped before every game.

16Scottish centre Colin Shields always goes on to the ice last.

17 A number of players eat peanuts before the game and refer to them as the "goal scoring nuts" after one of the Giants ate them before a game and scored two goals. Several play football to warm up.

18 English left-wing Craig Peacock is in charge of the music in the locker room.

19 General manager Todd Kelman holds a "Hockey Talk" fan forum in the Arena for fans to ask him questions before every match.

20 The Giants are the only ice hockey team in the world not to play a national anthem before their home games.

21 The Giants skate on to the ice to AC/DC's Thunderstruck. When the other team take to the ice, they play Welcome To The Jungle by Guns and Roses (left).

22The Giants are named in honour of giant Finn McCool.

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