Belfast Giants dealt major blow as Patrick Dwyer confirms retirement
With only a week to go until the start of training camp, the Belfast Giants have been dealt a major blow after losing one of their top scorers from last season.
Centreman Patrick Dwyer has confirmed his retirement from the sport and has joined AHL side the Charlotte Checkers as an assistant coach for next season.
The 36-year-old only played one season at the SSE Arena but was exceptional in that time, scoring 32 goals and 84 points in just 58 appearances to finish as their fourth top scorer on the season.
The Spokane native battled through injuries during his tenure in Belfast, spending two prolonged stints off the ice, but when he was on it he was an essential part of the line-up.
With an incredible 1.45 points per game, Dwyer was one of the key players in the Giants' run to three domestic trophies last season as they won the Elite League, Challenge Cup and Ehrhardt Conference.
The forward was named in the EIHL Second All-Star team at the end of the season, one which would prove to be his last despite hopes that he would return for one more year in Belfast.
However, Dwyer made no secret of his desire to go into coaching at the conclusion of his career, with the former NHLer - who made 416 appearances for the Carolina Hurricanes - admitting he was considering it going into the summer.
In the end, the lure of coaching the minor league affiliate of his beloved Hurricanes proved too good to turn down and he now takes his place on the staff of the defending Calder Cup champions.
As a result, Giants head coach Adam Keefe has a big vacancy on the line-up sheet to fill at short notice, with the pre-season games against Mora IK and Herning Blue Fox looming large.
Currently the Giants only have one centre on the books for next season in new arrival Brian Ward, however a solution to their lack of middle depth may come from out of left field.
It is understood that the Giants are one of the teams in for Vaxjo Lakers winger Liam Reddox, who has left Sweden after eight years, and his arrival would allow Ben Lake to slide into centre and provide an elite scoring threat on the top line.
Belfast are believed to be the front-runners for the 33-year-old Canadian/Scottish dual national, who would provide plenty of experience ahead of their inaugural season in the Champions Hockey League.
Belfast Telegraph Digital