New man Bissonnette will help beef up Belfast Giants, says delighted Keefe
Adam Keefe has swooped to add forward Matt Bissonnette to his Belfast Giants squad just when it looked like the Canadian could be on his way out of the Elite League.
Bissonnette was released by Manchester Storm and, having been forced to ice without injured pair Dustin Johner and Jim Vandermeer in his defence in recent games, Keefe wasted no time in making a move to beef up his roster.
The 25-year-old, who scored 13 goals and provided 33 assists in his 51 games for Storm, will go straight onto the Giants' roster for this weekend's games at home to the Fife Flyers in the Challenge Cup on Saturday before a trip to the Nottingham Panthers in the Elite League.
"I really liked Matt's game when he played against us both last year and earlier this month," said Keefe.
"Once we found out that Matt was available, there was no hesitation in approaching him.
"Our fans will enjoy watching Matt as he will bring size to our team as well as creativity and I'm looking forward to getting him into the line-up."
Bissonnette became available as the consequence of Storm being forced into making a recent change after an injury to Chris Auger. That took them one over the import limit and, rather than carry an extra player, Storm coach Ryan Finnerty made the decision to allow Bissonnette to leave after 16 months with the club.
"It's never easy letting a player go and Matt is certainly no different," said Finnerty.
"He's been a constant professional and I'm happy he's gone to a great organisation like Belfast and we wish him the best."
The Giants need victory over Fife on Saturday night in order to ensure their progress to the knockout stages of the Challenge Cup, having both won and lost against the Dundee Stars and Edinburgh Capitals in their previous group games.
As well as Johner and Vandermeer missing, coach Keefe is still waiting for a return date for goaltender Stephen Murphy, with Jackson Whistle expected to play in both of this weekend's games.