Belfast Telegraph

Kevin Raine makes it a hat-trick as Belfast Giants return confirmed

Belfast Giants defenceman with the Elite League trophy (William Cherry/Presseye)
Belfast Giants defenceman with the Elite League trophy (William Cherry/Presseye)
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

Canadian defenceman Kevin Raine has agreed to return for a third season with the Belfast Giants after signing up for the 2019/20 season.

The 26-year-old has come to terms on a one-year deal that will see him reach a hat-trick of Elite League campaigns having joined Belfast in 2017.

One of the league's best stay-at-home defencemen, Raine was one of the most integral parts of the Giants team that won a domestic treble last season.

After an early season move to Austria didn't pan out, the Ontario native agreed a mid-season return to the Giants and excelled down the stretch.

Although he only recorded three goals and 16 points in 66 appearances, Raine's stellar defensive displays saw him named Defenceman of the Year at the Giants' awards night.

As a result, getting him tied down to a new deal would have been one of Adam Keefe's off-season priorities, with the head coach eager to return as many of last season's team as possible.

In his time in Belfast, Raine, a former Los Angeles Kings rookie camp invitee, has won two Challenge Cups, an Elite League title and the Ehrhardt Conference.

A former Calder Cup champion with AHL side the Manchester Monarchs, the 6'1" right-shot d-man will likely step up into a bigger role this season after excelling last time out.

"Bringing Kevin back for 2019/20 was an easy decision to make. After two years in Belfast we know what to expect from him," said head coach Keefe.

"Kevin is solid defensively, competes on every night for the Giants and knows what it takes to win."

Raine joins Paul Swindlehurst and Curtis Leonard in returning to the Belfast blue line for next season, with Matt Pelech also joining the mix after agreeing a switch from Austria.

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