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Belfast Giants head coach Adam Keefe confirmed to be returning for 12th season with club

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Belfast Giants head coach Adam Keefe is back for another season with the club (William Cherry/Presseye)

Belfast Giants head coach Adam Keefe is back for another season with the club (William Cherry/Presseye)

William Cherry/Presseye

Belfast Giants head coach Adam Keefe is back for another season with the club (William Cherry/Presseye)

The Belfast Giants have confirmed that head coach Adam Keefe will return for his sixth season in charge of the team – his 12th as a player or coach – after signing a new deal for the 2022/23 season.

The announcement is not much of a surprise given that Keefe had been commenting on press releases with regards to next season, however getting him officially over the line is a significant piece of off-season business for the club.

Described as “the heartbeat of the team”, Keefe has led the side to two Elite League titles and three Challenge Cups in his tenure behind the bench at the SSE Arena and is one of the club’s iconic figures.

As a player, he won two Elite League titles in six seasons with the Giants, in 2012 and 2014, after joining from the Grand Rapids Griffins in 2011 before making the transition to head coach in 2017 having served one season as player-assistant coach.

A no-nonsense forward who was renowned for bringing a physical brand of hockey to Belfast, Keefe would finish his career with 56 goals, 134 points and 1,082 penalty minutes in 352 games for the club, serving five of his six seasons as captain.

His first trophy as head coach came when the Giants claimed the 2018 Challenge Cup, and he backed that up by defending their title a year later before adding the 2019 Elite League title, and he would repeat the feat in the season just past by giving fans the perfect post-pandemic boost by claiming a second League and Cup double.

But even beyond his successes on the ice, few have had such an impact on the community as a whole as Keefe, who has bought into the entire Giants ethos wholeheartedly and has been a huge advocate of inclusion and visibility within the organisation.

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“I’m proud to be returning for another season with the Belfast Giants off the back of an incredible season. Our fans and the city of Belfast want and deserve to win trophies and I know what is required of me as I head into the next season,” said Keefe.

“Whilst the summer gives us a short time to pause and reflect, there’s no time to waste and we have our eyes firmly fixed on building a team that will help us defend our title in 2022/23.

“We’re hard at work on recruitment, with more signing announcements due imminently. I am fully committed to putting the best team on the ice, continuing to deliver for the Teal Army and the city of Belfast.”

As well as being head coach of the Giants, Keefe is also assistant coach of the Great Britain national team and helped lead them into the World Championships, spending three years in the top tier before they unfortunately suffered relegation this year.

The Brampton, Ontario native has also been awarded a testimonial this year to recognise his ten years with the organisation, more details of which will be announced at a later date.

“We could not be happier to confirm that Adam is returning for his 12th season with the Belfast Giants,” said head of hockey operations Steve Thornton.

"No player has had the impact that Keefer has had, for this team, this city and our local community. He is an integral part of ‘Team Belfast’ and one of the best leaders I have seen in action.

“Adam knows what it takes to win, and his proven track record gives us confidence as we begin to build towards another important season for the Belfast Giants.”

While Keefe signing a contract extension to lead the Giants in their title defence next season, as well as into Europe in the Champions Hockey League, is not surprising, it does beg the question of just how long they can hold onto him.

Although the 38-year-old is settled in Belfast with wife Colleen and newborn daughter Cora, and has made no noises to suggest he is looking out of the club, he is extremely well thought of in the hockey world and will have no shortage of suitors every off-season.

But, for now, the Giants organisation and the fans will be delighted to have their leader back in situ for another season as they go for three titles in a row, with the club still piecing together their roster for the upcoming season.


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