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New Belfast Giants deal the icing on the cake after wedding bliss, says Ciaran Long

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Belfast Giants’ Ciaran Long and his wife Hannah Kempton from Portadown

Belfast Giants’ Ciaran Long and his wife Hannah Kempton from Portadown

Belfast Giants’ Ciaran Long and his wife Hannah Kempton from Portadown

Belfast Giants forward Ciaran Long says he wants to lay down roots in Northern Ireland after capping off a fantastic week by becoming the first player to sign for the team for the new season.

The Englishman married Portadown sweetheart Hannah Kempton at Killeavy Castle in Co Armagh on Thursday and celebrated by inking a new deal with the Giants to return to the club for a third season.

Originally a forward, Long showed his versatility last season by playing a vital role in featuring at both forward and in defence, and his ability to fill several gaps within the line-up played a big role in helping the Giants win both the Elite League and Challenge Cup titles.

And now, coming off a nine-goal, 25-point season that yielded two trophies and with his new wife in tow, the 31-year-old Great Britain international hopes that his long-term future lies in the Northern Ireland capital.

“Confirming my return to the Belfast Giants for another season is the icing on the cake at the end of an incredible week,” said Long.

“I’m excited to continue to put down roots, building my life and career in Belfast and can’t wait to get back to the SSE Arena and to see the Teal Army again next season.”

Meanwhile, the Giants will kick off their Champions Hockey League group stage campaign with a trip to the Czech Republic to face Extraliga champions HC Oceláři Třinec on September 2, with their first home European game coming two days later against HC Davos.

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The return fixture with the Swiss side will be on September 9, with Třinec the visitors to the SSE Arena on September 11, and the double-header against Sweden’s Skellefteå AIK coming on October 4 (home) and 11 (away).


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