Belfast Telegraph

New boy Riley out to leave Giants fans hungry for more

By Stuart McKinley

Belfast Giants fans will get their first look at 6ft forward Blair Riley in two pre-season clashes with the Braehead Clan this weekend.

The Canadian power forward jetted into Belfast earlier this week after having his arrival delayed as he awaited clearance for a visa.

Now, with all the paperwork in place, the 30-year-old, who has previously played all of his hockey in North America - the last seven seasons in the AHL - is ready to shake up the Elite League with his physical presence.

"I am a bigger, physical forward and I like to play a well rounded game," said Riley, ahead of tonight's meeting at the SSE Arena, which is quickly followed by a rematch in Glasgow tomorrow night.

Riley isn't just about big hits, though - in his university days he was a regular goalscorer and he hopes to bring that element of his game to Belfast.

"I was more of a scorer when I played NCAA, when I transitioned to the pro game I was more of a 'bottom 6' forward and was expected to play more of a physical brand of hockey, which is something that I will never shy away from.

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

"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."

Despite tasting defeat in both of last weekend's exhibition games against Germany's Fischtown Pinguins, Giants player-coach Derrick Walser was pleased with aspects of his team's play.

He will be looking for further improvement before the 2016-17 campaign begins with a Challenge Cup trip to the Fife Flyers next Saturday.

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