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Kelman's aiming to go out on high

By Stuart McKinley

Todd Kelman is preparing to hang his skates up for good, but not before recording a couple of wins.

Now the general manager of the Belfast Giants, the club's record appearance holder was brought into the team for a couple of games earlier in the season to cover for injuries in defence.

Those couple of games have turned into 14 outings and two more will be added this weekend.

The Hull Stingrays visit the Odyssey tonight before the players board a plane tomorrow morning for a trip to Basingstoke Bison, with four points the aim for Ed Courtenay's men.

And Kelman is aiming to go out on a high.

"This weekend will be my last playing for the season," confirmed Kelman.

"I have registered and de-registered once already and now once I de-register for a second time I can't play again this season."

Kelman retired at the end of last season in order to run the team, off the ice, after becoming the first Giants player to be granted a testimonial.

Unless something strange happens in another 12 months it is unlikely he will ever be seen on the Odyssey ice in fully competitive action again, but he has enjoyed his brief return.

"It has been fun being back on the ice," he said.

"It's a familiar place for me to be, but as a general manager in this league it is too much to try and balance both."

The impending return of Trevor Johnson after surgery on his hand will allow Kelman to step out of the line-up.

Johnson has returned to training with his team-mates, as has Roman Gavalier. Johnson is expected to return next weekend for what will be a huge home clash with Coventry Blaze and Gavalier is likely to be back a couple of weeks later.

Kelman has played as much a part as anyone else in the Giants revival over the last six weeks - although Pete Campbell's goals have won him a lot of plaudits.

The team is now pushing for a place in the top half of the Elite League table and once they get there the teams are so tightly packed together that a run of results between now and Christmas could result in a strong title challenge.

"I will be glad to get Trevor back in the line-up," said Kelman.

"He will probably return next weekend against Coventry, Roman could be a few weeks away but it was reassuring to see them both back skating around.

"I plan on going out on a high, so anything less than two wins will be a disappointment.

"I believe we have a good chance of getting two wins this weekend and climbing up the tables.

"The season is still a long way from over and we aren't planning on being in sixth place for very long and I am pretty sure the teams above us are sweating a whole lot more now than they were at the beginning of the season when they had to face us."

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