Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Giants announce signing of in-form British winger Ciaran Long

New Belfast Giants signing Ciaran Long
New Belfast Giants signing Ciaran Long
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

The Belfast Giants have announced their second signing for the 2019/20 season with the arrival of English forward Ciaran Long.

The 28-year-old, from Birmingham, joins from Elite League rivals the Manchester Storm after a stunning individual season that saw him named British Player of the Year.

Long scored 29 goals and 65 points for the Storm, making him the top goalscoring British player in the Elite League last season, and he was only beaten on points by Mike Hammond.

Now the winger moves to the Giants, where he will likely be seen as a replacement for the outgoing Colin Shields, who retired at the end of the season.

He's the second signing of the season for the Giants, who have already announced the arrival of Polish international Patryk Wronka from GKS Katowice.

A left winger, Long will likely see most of his minutes as a third line forward, however he has the scoring potential to step into a top-six role if head coach Adam Keefe sees him as such.

It's been a rapid ascent for the British ace, who will be going into just his third Elite League season next year having made the step up from the EPIHL.

The Storm picked him up from the Basingstoke Bison in 2017 after Long produced three consecutive seasons of more than a point a game, earning All-Star recognitions in both 2015 and 2016.

After a strong first season in Altrincham, where he scored 17 goals and 35 points, Long really hit his stride in his second campaign by breaking out as a stand-out player in an average Storm line-up.

The Birmingham man was unfortunate not to get the call to represent Great Britain in the World Championships in Slovakia this month, missing out after picking up an injury in training camp.

However, his form was good enough to impress Keefe enough to convince him to make the move across the water to the defending Elite League champions.

"Ciaran is someone who we have wanted for a while. He hurt us at times last season and I know there was a high demand for his signature," said Keefe.

"Ciaran is a talented hockey player who can put up good numbers. He works hard on every night and I am pleased he will be wearing teal in 2019/20."

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