Giants sign former NHL defenceman Pelech
The Belfast Giants have swooped for former NHL defenceman Matt Pelech, signing the experienced stopper to a one-year deal at the SSE Arena.
Pelech, who joins from Austrian side Villacher SV, made 13 combined appearances for the Calgary Flames and San Jose Sharks in the NHL and becomes the sixth new face in the team for the new season.
The 31-year-old was selected in the first round of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft by the Flames with the 26th overall pick, however he played just five games in Calgary, before going on to appear in eight games for the Sharks.
Instead, the physical blue-liner accrued 425 appearances in the second-tier AHL with the Quad City Flames, Abbotsford Heat, Worcester Sharks and Rochester Americans before moving to Europe in 2015.
Pelech spent alternating years in Germany and Austria before agreeing to join Adam Keefe's side for the new campaign.
A no-nonsense player, who can also cover wing if needed, Pelech is no stranger to dropping the gloves in defence of a team-mate which, along with his on-the-edge physical style, has seen him rack up over 100 penalty minutes in 11 of his 12 professional seasons.
The brother of New York Islanders defenceman Adam Pelech, Matt will also bring plenty of experience to the Giants having been an alternate captain at Worcester and with the Schwenninger Wild Wings in Germany.
Giants head coach Adam Keefe commented: "Matt is a natural leader who is excited to be a part of the defence of the Elite League and Challenge Cup championships.
"He will bring quality and toughness to our blueline as well as experience to the locker room."