Blow for Belfast Giants as Jackson Whistle set for Sheffield Steelers switch
The Belfast Giants have been dealt an off-season blow as netminder Jackson Whistle is set for a sensational switch to Elite League rivals Sheffield Steelers for next season.
The 22-year-old Great Britain international, who has been at the SSE Arena for the last two campaigns, will replace the outgoing Ervins Mustukovs at Sheffield.
The Steelers are also believed to have lured Whistle's brother Brandon to England, whom the Giants were also interested in bringing to the Elite League.
After a tough first season in teal that was marred by injury, Whistle took over the bulk of the netminding duties last campaign due to Stephen Murphy being ruled out, leading the Giants to victory in the Challenge Cup with some stunning performances.
The Canada-born backstop, who is the son of the Belfast Giants' first ever coach David Whistle, finished last season with a .895 save percentage along with a respectable 3.38 GAA.
Whistle was also part of the Team GB squad that won gold at the World Championships Division 1A in Budapest last month, icing in one game as back-up to Ben Bowns.
It leaves the Giants with the long-serving Murphy and Ballymoney man Andrew Dickson as their netminding options, with mid-season arrival Chris Truehl unlikely to be re-signed.
With Murphy having spent nearly all of last year's campaign out due to a shoulder injury, it seems likely the Giants will go into the market for another goaltender as either a back-up option or a rotation partner for him.