Belfast Telegraph

D-man Josh Roach confirms move to Austria after excellent year with Giants

Josh Roach during his time with the Belfast Giants (William Cherry/Presseye)
Josh Roach during his time with the Belfast Giants (William Cherry/Presseye)
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

Defenceman Josh Roach will join EBEL side EHC Linz for next season after excelling for the Belfast Giants in their treble-winning campaign.

As reported in the Belfast Telegraph last week, Roach was always unlikely to return next season given his strong performances, and his move to Linz confirms he was in high demand.

The 26-year-old was outstanding on the blue-line for the Giants throughout the campaign, playing on the top pairing with Curtis Leonard and anchoring the powerplay.

Across the season, Roach scored 11 goals and 69 points in 81 games for the Giants, leading the team's defencemen in both goals and points scored.

His superior play saw the Saskatchewan native named to the Elite League All-Star First Team, with the Cardiff Devils' Gleason Fournier the only defenceman to score more points during the regular season.

The defenceman's departure leaves a sizeable gap to fill on the Giants' rearguard, with the Canadian having been a vital part of the roster throughout the season for his offensive capabilities.

Roach leaves the Giants having won the Elite League title, the Challenge Cup and the Erhardt Conference in his only season in Belfast and deservedly makes the step-up he wanted.

His new side Linz finished seventh in the EBEL last season and were knocked out in the play-offs in the quarter-finals by the Graz 99ers.

Meanwhile, Belfast Giants forward Patrick Dwyer admits that if he doesn't call time on his career then he doesn't see himself in anything other than back in teal next season.

The 35-year-old was exceptional in his first season with the Giants, scoring 32 goals and 84 points in just 58 games in an injury-hit season, earning an EIHL All-Star Second Team nomination.

While Dwyer refused to fall on either side of the fence, he did admit that, having loved his season in Belfast, he would be open to returning next season.

"I'll see how the body feels, it was banged up a bit (over the season) so we'll see how that progresses and stuff like that," said the Washington native with regards to playing on.

"To be honest, if I am playing next season then I don't see myself anywhere other than (Belfast)."

In other transfer news, the Manchester Storm made a double signing by bringing in Great Britain Under-18s starlet Finlay Ulrick and re-signing forward Adam Barnes for next season.

Last night, the Glasgow Clan confirmed that Great Britain and former Giants forward Craig Peacock had agreed to rejoin the side for next season.

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