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Belfast Giants awards: Kevin Raine lands MVP gong as we reveal winners

 

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Star performer: Kevin Raine landed the MVP accolade

Star performer: Kevin Raine landed the MVP accolade

David Goodwin

David Goodwin

Lewis Hook

Lewis Hook

Ben Lake

Ben Lake

Star performer: Kevin Raine landed the MVP accolade

Belfast Giants head coach Adam Keefe may now be preparing for next season, but there's still one bit of business left for the team to finish for 2019-20.

 

With the last campaign ended prematurely by the coronavirus, one thing that also fell by the wayside was the annual end-of-season awards ceremony, which was due to take place at the Crowne Plaza on March 30.

But even with the season shortened, the accolades still need handed out and, despite the event not taking place, fans were asked to vote in four categories, while the remaining four were determined by the Giants staff or the scoring charts.

Now, the Belfast Telegraph can exclusively reveal the players who were set to walk away with silverware...

TOP SCORER: Curtis Hamilton

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Curtis Hamilton

Curtis Hamilton

William Cherry/Presseye

Curtis Hamilton

 

The only category that wasn't decided by voting, either by fans or coaches, Hamilton topped the Giants' charts with 20 goals this season across the Elite League and Challenge Cup.

The American winger came in with a strong reputation as a scorer in Austria and duly delivered in Belfast, scoring their first domestic goal of the season at the Manchester Storm and adding 19 more to finish four ahead of Bobby Farnham and Jordan Smotherman.

FORWARD OF THE YEAR: David Goodwin

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David Goodwin

David Goodwin

David Goodwin

 

A mid-season acquisition from Swedish outfit Mora IK, Goodwin hit the ground running in Belfast with an assist in each of their wins over the Cardiff Devils in November and was an offensive spark plug for the Giants in the second half of the season.

In all, Goodwin finished the campaign with 15 goals and 29 points in 34 contests - good for 0.8 points per game - which ranked second in the side, while his +15 rating led the team.

Goodwin rounded off the shortened season with his best scoring run, grabbing six goals and nine points in his final five games prior to the campaign being concluded early.

FANS' FAVOURITE: Bobby Farnham

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Bobby Farnham

Bobby Farnham

William Cherry/Presseye

Bobby Farnham

 

An unyielding and no-nonsense presence on the ice, Farnham grabbed the Giants' first competitive goal of the season in tapping in their opener in the 5-4 win over Liberec and went on to establish himself from there.

It didn't take long for a banner to appear behind the West Lounge goal reading "Girls Don't Like Boys, Girls Like Bobby Farnham" and he repaid the fans' support with a relentless, no mercy style of hockey that had the stands roaring in approval.

The 31-year-old winger found something of a scoring touch too, notching 17 goals and 37 points in the season as a whole, but it was for his heavy-hitting, enforcer style play - along with the confrontational approach to opponents, which saw him rack up 105 penalty minutes - that he earned his plaudits at the SSE Arena.

PRESIDENT'S AWARD (renamed in honour of Jim Gillespie, Giants Honorary Life President): Paul Swindlehurst

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Paul Swindlehurst

Paul Swindlehurst

©William Cherry / Presseye

Paul Swindlehurst

 

Since joining the Giants prior to the 2018-19 season, Swindlehurst has fully bought into the community aspect of the organisation and his dedication to that has seen him rewarded.

The GB defenceman has been involved in hospital visits, helping with the Giants' Ice Academy and various other campaigns run by the team over the past two years - and always does it with a smile on his face, never hesitating to go the extra mile to help out.

UNSUNG HERO: Lewis Hook

Lewis Hook

 

Asked to add more of a physical side to his game for his second campaign with the Giants, last season was one where Lewis Hook stepped into a crucial utility role for the team on the fourth line and excelled.

While he may not have been the most prolific in front of goal, scoring just four goals and 21 points, Hook finished the season with a +8 rating and with just six minor penalties against him, playing his role to perfection.

COACH'S PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Ben Lake

 

After impressing for both the Coventry Blaze and Great Britain last season, Keefe made an impassioned plea for Lake to make the switch to Belfast last summer and he was rewarded with a strong debut campaign from the sharpshooter.

Lake was an ever-present in the line-up, absent from just one game, and spent the entire season in the Giants' top-six, contributing 14 goals and 42 points, while also posing a danger on the powerplay, firing in four goals on the man advantage, tied for second-most on the team.

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Kevin Raine

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Star performer: Kevin Raine landed the MVP accolade

Star performer: Kevin Raine landed the MVP accolade

Star performer: Kevin Raine landed the MVP accolade

 

Also the winner of the Defenceman of the Year award, Raine elevated his game to a new level in 2019-20 despite missing time through injury and walks away with the MVP award.

Undoubtedly one of the best - arguably the best - stay-at-home blue-liners in the Elite League, Raine led the Giants in blocked shots with an eye-popping 109, which was 44 more than any other player, while also posting an excellent +18 rating in domestic play.

The 26-year-old suited up for 51 of the Giants' 62 games and recorded his best regular season offensive stats since moving to Belfast in 2017, scoring four goals to go with 15 points as he added a two-way game to go with his defensive excellence.

Having already admitted his desire to return to Belfast after establishing his business, Personal Hockey, in the city, there is a chance for the Giants to lock down their MVP for the next few years, which will surely be a priority in the off-season.

Belfast Telegraph