Belfast Giants defenceman Sam Ruopp says he wants to “do it all again” after confirming his return to the club for the 2022/23 season.
The Canadian blue-liner scored four goals and 24 points in 66 games for the Giants last season and led their defence with a +46 rating, forming a strong partnership with Kevin Raine.
A physical defenceman, boasting a 6’4” frame, Ruopp dominated in his own zone in helping the Giants to the best defensive record in the Elite League, which allowed them to win the league and Challenge Cup double.
“Last season was incredible. Winning two out of three championships was a great feat for us and something that we are incredibly proud of,” said the 26-year-old Saskatchewan native.
"I chose to come back to Belfast because the city, the team and the people are all top notch. It’s an amazing place to play and I’ve had a wonderful experience there.
"I’d like to do it all again, give back to the fans and further grow my game and I believe Belfast is the place to do it.”
Ruopp, who qualifies to represent Great Britain for next year’s World Championships, is a former Columbus Blue Jackets draftee having been selected in the fifth round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.
The defenceman captained the Prince George Cougars in three of his four seasons in the WHL, before a three-year stay at the University of Saskatchewan, where he was a team-mate of former Giants Josh Roach, Kendall McFaull and Jesse Forsberg.
After one season with the ECHL’s Allen Americans, where he played with Giants team-mate Scott Conway, Ruopp joined the Giants last summer and proved a major hit as he won the double in his first season at the SSE Arena.
“It’s great to see Ruopp return to Belfast Giants. He played a pivotal role on our blue line last year that led us to our double trophy success in 2021-22,” said head coach Adam Keefe.
"Alongside Mark Garside and Jeff Baum, Ruopp is another important part of our defensive line-up. He’s a true team player and we’re looking forward to having him back in teal for another season.”