Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 28 May 2016

Sawada capture will be a major coup for the Giants

By Stuart McKinley

Published 15/08/2014

Big draw: Ray Sawada played for the Dallas Stars in the NHL
Big draw: Ray Sawada played for the Dallas Stars in the NHL

Steve Thornton has sent out a massive statement of intent with the signing of former NHL player Ray Sawada. The 29-year-old, who was drafted by the Dallas Stars in 2004, went on to play for the club in three successive seasons – the last of which was just three years ago.

Most of his career has been spent in the AHL with the Texas Stars – an affiliate club of Dallas – where he developed a reputation as a big goalscorer and a big hitter, making him a perfect fit for the Giants as Thornton sets about retaining the Elite League title, which was won under Paul Adey last season.

"Ray will bring quite a few very important elements to our team this season," said Thornton.

"He hits like a truck, has a great shot, can play big minutes on a top line and will be an impact player in this league.

"He is a team player, and that message was consistent when speaking to former coaches and players that he has played with.

"He will do whatever it takes to win and he will make us a tougher team to play against."

Sawada's signing is the the third in as many days, following the announcement of centre Mike Kompon and back-up goaltender Andrew Dickson earlier in the week.

Thornton isn't finished yet though. He still has one remaining import slot to fill, which is expected to be reserved for another power forward.

New Elite League rules on the number of non-British trained players also give the Giants the opportunity to sign another European, if they so desire.

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