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Riley aiming to flourish after signing for the Giants

By Stuart McKinley

Published 09/08/2016

Belfast Giants player-coach Derrick Walser
Belfast Giants player-coach Derrick Walser

Belfast Giants coach Derrick Walser has turned up the heat on his Elite League rivals by snapping up Canadian forward Blair Riley.

The 30-year-old, who has spent the last seven seasons in the American Hockey League, playing for six different clubs, joins the Giants after a year with Stockton Heat - an affiliate club of NHL giants the Calgary Flames.

Riley isn't expected to deliver big numbers in terms of goals, but he will bring a physical presence to the team as the Giants try to better last season's fourth-place finish in the league.

"Belfast seemed like a perfect fit and a great opportunity that I could not pass up," said Riley.

"I am a bigger, physical forward and I like to play a well rounded game.

"I was more of a scorer when I played NCAA and when I transitioned to the pro game, I was more of a 'bottom six' forward and was expected to play more of a physical brand of hockey, which is something that I will never shy away from.

"With the opportunity to play for the Giants, I hope to add a scoring punch also.

"I am looking forward to playing in front of the Belfast fans and I know we are looking forward to putting a good product on the ice for them."

Walser is expected to add two more defencemen and possibly one more forward to his roster before the start of the season.

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