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Walton signs on for Belfast Giants long service

Graeme Walton is to make history by becoming the first player to notch up 10 years service with the Belfast Giants.

The Dundonald-born man yesterday signed the first two-year contract of his career and by the time that finishes in the summer of 2013 he will have marked a decade in Giants colours.

Walton is used to making history. In 2007 he became the first Northern Ireland-born player to represent Great Britain and he has also lifted four trophies with the Giants - including the 2006 Elite League title. Now he wants to repeat that feat in the new campaign.

"I can't believe this is going to be my ninth year with the Giants," said Walton.

"I am excited to be coming back again and hopefully this is the year we get our hands on the championship.

"Winning is the reason we play this game and we win a lot here in Belfast."

While Walton putting pen to paper on a two-year deal is good news for the Giants, coach Doug Christiansen has lost out on another player.

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Great Britain forward Ben O'Connor was set to become a Giant next season, but is now heading to Kazakhstan instead.

O'Connor had signed a pre-contract agreement with the Giants, but no formal announcement was made as the player had some remaining issues with his club in France.

A much more lucrative offer has now come his way and O'Connor has been released by the Giants, on the condition that he can't sign for another Elite League club in the next two seasons.

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