Brad Smyth’s Belfast Giants career came to an end last night after receiving an offer that was ‘too good to pass up.’
The former NHL forward asked to be released by the Giants in order to sign a more lucrative contract in Italy.
And, after staying twice as long as he’d originally planned, coach Doug Christiansen and general manager Todd Kelman agreed to Smyth’s request.
The 37-year-old — who played 88 times in the NHL over an eight-year period — came to Belfast when Brandon Benedict, Colin Hemingway and Rich Seeley were struck down by injury and hoped to use a spell in the Elite League as a pathway to a move elsewhere in Europe.
Although it’s taken a little longer than he’d hoped — over two months rather than the four weeks the player has intended — Smyth’s plans have finally come to fruition.
“When we signed Brad, we knew it was only going to be a short-term thing,” said Christiansen.
“He has had a handful of job offers during his time here in Belfast and I know he turned a few down because he liked the guys and playing for the Giants so much. I spoke with him this week about moving on and the offer he has is too good to pass up, something we just couldn’t compete with.
“It was Brad’s goal when he got here to prepare himself to get a job in Europe and at the same time to keep the Giants in first place. We consider his time here to be worthwhile with both parties achieving the goals we set going into this.”
Smyth’s departure means that playing with a full line-up has been short-lived for the Giants.
The arrival of Simon Lambert last week restored the numbers to full strength, with Benedict, Seeley and Hemingway still out injured.
Lambert’s signing will at least soften the blow of losing Smyth.