Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Stephen hits money shot at Belfast Giants game

The Belfast Giants claimed maximum points against the Nottingham Panthers and Hull Stingrays over the weekend — but it was a fan who was celebrating the most.

And if coach Doug Christiansen’s goalscorers begin to suffer from a lack of form, he can always call Stephen Bannister down from the stands.

The Moneyreagh-man walked away from the Odyssey Arena £5,000 richer on Saturday night after being the first ever winner of the Ladbrokes ‘Shoot For Loot’ competition.

Stephen’s accuracy in sending the puck through a hole measuring just over an inch high and three inches wide from a distance of almost 90 ft won him the big prize — but only after video evidence proved that his shot had been successful.

Initially it looked as if the puck had lodged just outside the hole, but after viewing the tape Giants general manager Todd Kelman announced to the Odyssey crowd that Bannister had won the cash.

“We have been doing this for three years now and nobody has even come close but it indeed went in and the 4,000 people in the Odyssey went nuts,” said Kelman.

Hayley O’Connor of Ladbrokes said: “This was verging on the impossible, I’m guessing a 1000-1 shot so we weren’t expecting the payout, but hats off to Stephen who raised the roof on the arena last weekend.

“Stephen says he’s going to take his girlfriend on a trip to the Big Apple with the winnings and plans to get in some NHL action while he’s there.”

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