Doug Christiansen believes he has ‘unearthed a gem’ after completing the attacking line-up he hopes will keep the Elite League title in Belfast.
The Belfast Giants coach has secured the signature of 24-year-old Andrew Fournier and with a reputation as a lethal goal-getter teams across the league will already be on their guard.
Fournier graduated from the East Coast Hockey League ranks — where he repeatedly proved his goalscoring credentials — and on to Europe, playing in Sweden last season.
And now he’s coming to Belfast with great expectations surrounding him.
“Andrew Fournier has all the qualities to be an exceptional goalscorer in the Elite League,” said Christiansen.
“Twice he has finished in the top-10 scorers in the East Coast League, one of them in the top three.
“He has been in successful teams in both college and pro, so he knows what it takes to be a winner.
“He has a great season in Sweden last year and I think we have unearthed a gem.”
Ironically Benoit Doucet, who was the leading scorer for the Giants before his season was cruelly cut short by a knee injury last November, has signed for the Swedish team that Fournier was with last year.
And with Mike Hoffman expected to be playing elsewhere in Europe in the new season only Adam Keefe and Darryl Lloyd are returning from last season’s import forwards.
Christiansen is now just one player away from completing his roster for the title defence, which is now only a month away.
“We have a player in mind who we want and if he agrees that will finish off our recruitment,” said Christiansen.
“I am very happy with the team that we have put together.
“There is creativity and now we’ve got Fournier in who I believe will finish off our chances.
“We’ve kept the main core of our British talent and once we get the new guys on the ice I think we’ll see everything coming together quite quickly.”
Giants fans will have the first chance to see the new-look team in action when they face the Tilburg Trappers in a pre-season game at the Odyssey on Saturday September 1.
The competitive action starts a week later with a Challenge Cup trip to Braehead, before the Elite League title defence begins with a double header in Nottingham on September 15 and 16.