Belfast Telegraph

Peacock so proud to be in Belfast Giants’ A team

By Stuart McKinley

There will be something different about Craig Peacock’s shirt when he hits the Odyssey ice tonight.

It’s just one thing, but that single, ever so slight, alteration to his attire will speak volumes about how important the Englishman is to the Belfast Giants.

Coach Doug Christiansen could talk him up at great length. Actions speak louder than words though and his latest decision is almost ear-splitting.

Peacock will have a large A on his chest when he steps out to face the Edinburgh Capitals tonight, having been named as an assistant captain in the absence of recently appointed skipper Jeremy Rebek — which is expected to last until mid-November.

The 23-year-old didn’t seem an obvious choice, particularly as there are plenty of players who have experience at a higher level.

For Christiansen, though, the decision was one of his easier ones of late.

“Craig has done it himself. He has sought more responsibility on the team and in the community,” said Christiansen, ahead of tonight’s Odyssey Arena meeting with Edinburgh, which will be worth points in the Challenge Cup as well as the Elite League.

“Belfast is his home now and although he’s only 23 he is one of the most experienced players on our team in terms of playing in the Elite League.

“He’s been part of the team that missed out on the league by a point in each of the last two seasons, so he knows the value of every game and every point.

“He also knows the venues, which means he can help the new guys and answer their questions to help them prepare for going into the unknown.”

Rebek’s injury, after just three games of the season, has heaped the frustration on Christiansen.

Already Jon Pelle is ruled out until the middle of next month before he was able to so much as place his skate on the ice for the Giants in a competitive game.

Fortunately, Christiansen had a fair idea what was coming and rather than dangling a bigger carrot in front of certain players during the summer, he stashed enough cash away to be able to sign an 11th import, when only 10 are permitted to play on A game night, meaning he’s not as short of players as he might have been.

“Sadly I’ve walked this walk before. It’s something that I have more experience of than I would like, but at least I can use that experience now,” said Christiansen.

“Last season we had a lot of injuries and the guys who were playing did an excellent job.

“We lost one or two games that we should have won, but generally everyone deserved a lot of credit for how they stepped up.

“Now I expect these guys to do that.”

Peacock is the only player whose status has been elevated. Nick Kuiper and Adam Keefe will stay as assistant captains.

It’s an unusual move from the coach, but one that he feels is best for the team.

“Not only is Jeremy a quality player, he was also voted for unanimously as captain,” said Christiansen.

“That leaves a void on the ice and in the dressing room and Kuiper, Keefe and Peacock have to try to fill that.

“I’ve decided to keep Jeremy as the team captain to have him there and to be involved.

“Also, if I appoint someone else then when Jeremy comes back there might be a conflict of interest and this avoids that.

“It’s not as if he’s out for the season. He’ll be back in a couple of months and everything will then revert back to how it has been up to now.”

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