Belfast Giants head of hockey operations Steve Thornton believes this year’s crop have the chance to write themselves into the history books as the greatest team to ever represent the club.
The Giants have already won the Elite League title, after their double-header victory over the Sheffield Steelers last week, and the Challenge Cup, and they could become only the third side in the EIHL era to win the Grand Slam if they add the Play-Offs crown.
It is a credit to Thornton and head coach Adam Keefe for putting together a Championship-winning team at the start of the season, as well as resisting the urge to significantly tinker with it throughout the campaign, and the SSE Arena chief believes this side have the right mentality to go down in Giants folklore.
“They have the chance to be the best, and that’s on them right now. They certainly don’t want to take their foot off the gas. There would be no argument whatsoever on the best team in Belfast if they were able to pull off the treble,” said Thornton.
“They love the pressure, though. That’s one of the things that has probably led to them being so successful, that they want it even more than I want it. The Play-Offs is a big one for the guys, they want to go home for the summer knowing they won their last game.
“It’s so hard to win all three of (the trophies) because there’s so many factors that play into it, from physical health to mental health, and this year with Covid playing its part. It all has to hit at the right time.
“I don’t think there’d be any argument on who the best team in Giants history would be if they won the triple.”
Having already won the title, the Giants round off their Elite League campaign with home games against the Steelers tonight (7pm), where they will lift the league trophy for the first time on home ice and also unveil their Challenge Cup winning banner, before playing their final game against the Coventry Blaze tomorrow (7pm).
It is expected some of the players who were away with the GB Under-18 side at the recent World Championships will see some game time as head coach Keefe uses this opportunity to rest his front-line stars ahead of the Play-Offs.