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Sheffield Steelers fans will get compensation for 1D takeover of Belfast Giants game

By Stuart McKinley

Published 12/11/2015

Old hand: James Desmarais has seven goals in 20 games
Old hand: James Desmarais has seven goals in 20 games

A compensation package has been thrashed out between the Belfast Giants and Sheffield Steelers following the cancellation of the teams' match at the SSE Arena last month at less than 48 hours notice.

The deal was struck at an Elite League board meeting on Tuesday, but Steelers chairman Tony Smith remains angry that the planned double-header became a one-off match in order for a cancelled One Direction concert to be rescheduled.

"I am still very annoyed at the course of action the Belfast owners took in cancelling a game at such short notice," said Smith.

"It took some time, but in the end we got the fans some compensation and that was our number one priority."

Three weeks on, the Giants home game with the Edinburgh Capitals will go ahead as scheduled tonight and player-coach Derrick Walser believes that his team's elder statesman can get even better.

In his short time in Belfast Desmarais (36) has already displayed the class that saw him drafted by the St Louis Blues in 1999 - although he never played in the NHL - with impressive statistics of seven goals and 14 assists in his 20 appearances and Walser is backing him to score even more goals as the Giants chase the Elite League title.

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"James is good, but I knew that before I came here," said Walser.

"I didn't see much of him before when he was in Switzerland, but I had heard of him and I knew how good he was.

"Even before I had taken the job here I knew James had signed and spoke to Steve Thornton and told him that he'd got a good player.

"The great thing about James is that I think there is more in the tank. There is more to come from him both in terms of his goals and his all-round contribution to the team."

The Giants currently top the Elite League table, with a one-point lead over the Cardiff Devils.

Victory tonight will allow them to go to Wales to take on the Devils on Saturday night knowing that whatever happens they will still be in first place on Sunday, when they are back in Belfast to face the Dundee Stars in a Challenge Cup game.

Belfast Telegraph

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