Giant Martinelli can make huge impact, says patient Thornton
Ryan Martinelli has signed for the Belfast Giants, ending an 18-month long pursuit by the club's Head of Hockey Operations Steve Thornton.
Thornton's interest in Martinelli was sparked when the 6ft 5in Canadian defenceman played against the Giants in the Continental Cup 18 months ago and he has been tracking the player ever since.
Martinelli was in the Fischtown Penguins team that reached the final stage of the Continental Cup - where they came second - and spent last season in Austria with Szekesfehervar before being tempted to Belfast by Thornton's persistence.
"Ryan is a big guy, 6'5", who clears the net really well," said Thornton.
"He is a winner, who won in Bremerhaven (with the Penguins), and he is a great skater.
"We wanted more size without sacrificing speed so he is the perfect guy for that job.
"I think the Giants fans will really like Ryan as he is a big guy who plays hard and takes away time and space.
"He is mean in front of the net and is also a really good player. We are excited to have him."
Player-coach Derrick Walser now has 12 players on his roster for next season, but has yet to confirm the signing of a goaltender.
Darryl Lloyd looks like leaving Belfast after five years in the team to take up a new challenge with Braehead Clan.