Keefe tips Kurtz to boost the Belfast Giants' title bid
Adam Keefe has completed his first roster as Belfast Giants coach with the signing of forward John Kurtz. And he expects the 28-year-old to be the man who will get going when the going gets tough.
In eight seasons playing in the East Coast and American Hockey Leagues, Kurtz has been a feared opponent and Keefe is expecting him to be a handful.
Although his goalscoring stats don't quite jump off the page, Keefe believes that his newest recruit, who comes in at 6ft 2in and 14st, will bring plenty to the team in a number of areas.
"John is another exciting player to watch and another guy who has a compete level that is off the charts," said Keefe. "He knows how to handle himself and he is not afraid of the tough stuff.
"If you take a closer look at his numbers, he has proved that he can play and contribute offensively.
"This is a long, gruelling battle for eight months to get to the league title and the team that competes the most consistently is going to be there at the end and that is what we want."
Kurtz's leadership qualities have been recognised in the past, having been presented with the Mickey Renaud Captain's Trophy during his younger days in the Ontario Hockey League.
Kurtz, who is the ninth new face in Keefe's 20-man squad, will make his Giants debut in Saturday night's Challenge Cup trip to the Dundee Stars, with the home Elite League opener coming against the Guildford Flames a week later.