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New boy Riley out to leave Giants fans hungry for more

By Stuart McKinley

Published 27/08/2016

Excited: Blair Riley can’t wait to make his Giants debut at the SSE Arena
Excited: Blair Riley can’t wait to make his Giants debut at the SSE Arena

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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