The Belfast Giants will head into the new season with their captain still at the helm after American winger David Goodwin was confirmed to be returning to the club for the 2022/23 season.
The 30-year-old has agreed a one-year extension at the SSE Arena and will lead the team not just in the defence of their Elite League and Challenge Cup titles but also into the Champions Hockey League.
Goodwin not only brings considerable leadership to the table, but he is also one of the top scoring forwards in the Elite League having formed a dynamic top line alongside Scott Conway and J.J. Piccinich last season, considered one of the best in the entire league.
The St Louis native scored 28 goals and 81 points in 64 games in all competitions for the Giants last season, helping them to the League title and Cup success, and taking them within one game of completing the clean sweep of the Play-Offs.
With Piccinich having already confirmed his departure to Norwegian side Stjernen for next season, getting Goodwin back is a huge boost for head coach Adam Keefe and head of hockey operations Steve Thornton as they try to build into the new campaign.
In total, the American forward has scored 43 goals and 110 points in 98 games across two seasons with the Giants – either side of a spell with Polish side Cracovia Krakow during the Giants’ lost Covid-19 year – and will be asked once again to play a top-six role for the team next season.
Having their captain back will also be a bonus, Goodwin proving to be an excellent choice to take over the ‘C’ from Matt Pelech, with his impact in the community also notable alongside his on-ice skills.
He will also bring plenty of experience to the table having played in elite leagues such as the Finnish Liiga with SaiPa and the Swedish second division with Mora IK, particularly heading into their CHL campaign.
“I’m really excited to be back with the Giants, last year was perfect – we had a ton of success. I’m looking forward to building on that success, winning more games, and bringing trophies home,” said Goodwin.
"In a lot of ways, Belfast is like a second home to me – I love the community, the culture, and the fans are amazing... I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else.”
Head coach Keefe added: “It’s great to have Goody confirm his return to Belfast next season. He played an instrumental role in our double trophy success last season, leading the Giants as captain he showed immense compassion for his teammates, the Giants organisation, and our fans – the Teal Army.
"A key player in our offensive zone, I know Goody will return hungry for another season of success.”
An exclusive, longer interview with Goodwin about his decision to come back to Belfast will be available on the Belfast Telegraph Sport website later today.