Brandon Benedict's Giant contribution draws praise as Canada move beckons
Belfast Giants coach Adam Keefe is set to restructure his team on and off the ice ahead of next season.
The club has announced that player/assistant coach Brandon Benedict is leaving to take up a coaching role in his native Canada, close to where he grew up in Nova Scotia.
Benedict has accepted the job of head coach of Newbridge Academy's Major Bantam boys' hockey team, ending his nine-year spell in the Elite League.
The 35-year-old spent the first two of those with the Giants before joining the Nottingham Panthers, where he spent four seasons, and then returned to Belfast in the summer of 2015 and joined Keefe's coaching team when he took over last summer.
He was part of the Play-off winning team in 2010 under Steve Thornton and scored as the Giants won the Challenge Cup last month.
"Brandon has been a big part of the success across his five years in Belfast," said Thornton, who is now the club's Head of Hockey Operations.
"He has been a great player for us. As good as he is on the ice, he is a better person off the ice as well. It has been a pleasure working with Brandon in Belfast.
"I wish him well in Canada with Newbridge Academy and know that he will be a great role model for their players."
Benedict, who married a Belfast girl after his first spell with the Giants, had been expected to move towards retirement a couple of seasons ago after the Giants organisation placed him in a prominent off-ice role, working on the Friendship Four US College tournament.