Belfast Giants glory bid boosted by signing of Mitch Ganzak
New Belfast Giants coach Derrick Walser will arrive in Belfast next week with his roster almost complete.
The capture of Mitch Ganzak means that the Giants are just one player short of completing their defensive contingent, of which Walser himself will be a part.
And with nine forwards already on the list, as well as goaltenders Stephen Murphy and Andrew Dickson returning, the team is ready to hit the ice for the season opener away to Dundee Stars in the Challenge Cup on Friday, September 4.
Thirty-one-year-old Ganzak knows the European scene well, having spent a season in Italy and then moving to Denmark, where he stayed for three seasons before playing in Austria last year.
He comes with a reputation of being a goal provider and Giants Head of Hockey Operations Steve Thornton is excited about the club's newest recruit.
"He's been an East Coast All Star, an NCAA All Star, and All Star defenceman in Denmark, where he led all the D-men in scoring and he had a good year in Austria last year, in a league that has a good reputation," said Thornton.
"I think he'll provide everything. I don't think he's a one dimensional player and that's what we like.
"He's a player that can play in all three zones, he'll play on the powerplay, he'll block shots, he'll compete defensively in front of the net and he skates well and that's what we need to win."
Ganzak has been a winner throughtout his career, since being victorious in the NCAA Championship with Miami University in 2006.
While playing for Hening Blue Fox in Denmark he won the league, as well as lifting the Cup on two occasions.
That winning pedigree is something which attracted Thornton to the man from Redford, in Michigan.
"We look for guys with a history of winning and a history of wearing Cs and As just to have that leadership in the room and he fits in well with the good core of guys that we already have," said Thornton.