Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Giants captain Blair Riley leaves club after opting out of deal

Belfast Giants' Blair Riley pictured with the Elite Ice Hockey League trophy (William Cherry/Presseye)
Belfast Giants' Blair Riley pictured with the Elite Ice Hockey League trophy (William Cherry/Presseye)
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

Belfast Giants captain Blair Riley has made the shock decision to opt out of his two-year deal with the Elite League champions after accepting a move elsewhere.

The Canadian leaves the Giants after three years in Belfast, with whom he has scored 88 goals and 230 points in 211 games across the Elite League, Challenge Cup and Continental Cup.

Riley departs the team having won two Challenge Cups and a league title, with the 33-year-old captaining the team in the latter two seasons of his stay in Belfast.

There is no indication of where Riley will end up next season, however after a 38-goal season, which also yielded 86 points, he's in line for a big money move.

It's a blow for Adam Keefe and the Giants, who were hoping to build around their skipper for another season given his strong production as a top-six forward.

This is what is likely to be the first of several high-profile departures from Belfast this season, with Darcy Murphy, Tyler Beskorowany, Josh Roach and Jim Vandermeer also expected to leave the club.

Veteran British forward and Giants legend Colin Shields has already announced his retirement, as has centre Dustin Johner, while winger David Rutherford has also announced he won't return next season.

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