Belfast Giants new Elite League schedual

 

 

EIHL_ICE

 

The Stena Line Belfast Giants’ Steve Thornton and Derrick Walser  have negotiated what looks like a very helpful start to the new Elite campaign.

paring to efac Steve Thornton

 

Player Coacg Derrick Walser (43) battles away

Derrick Walser

Rarely has there been an Elite League pre-schedule that gives a true reflection of which franchise has recruited the best squad of players; a team that will meld together quickly and get better as they progress.

It will be anybody’s guess as to which franchise coach or team manager will be generally happy with the group of players they have signed at this stage of the preseason. And that is before a puck has been dropped either in a warm-up friendlies, a home or away face-off in opening league fixtures.

The thought of four line attacking forward hockey, together with the rolling of six  ‘D’ men, alongside at least two puck stoppers to add to the mix will be uppermost in managers’ and coaches’ minds. Elite league hockey is certainly stepping up a level this season, especially reflected by a few top clubs that can afford the sort of budget that others cannot.

The 2016/7 Elite League schedule has just been announced, and the Giants’ opening game is just weeks away. They will open with a Challenge Cup game on the road in Fife on Saturday 3rd September.

Belfast will go in search of a fifth Elite League championship since the organization’s previous success in the 2013/14 season when they clinched the title in February with over ten games remaining.

The first Giants’ home game of the new campaign will take place in the SSE Arena on Saturday 10th September against the Fife Flyers.

There are nine home games scheduled across the December and New Year period, starting on Saturday 17th December 2016 against the Nottingham Panthers, and culminating with a ‘double header’ against the Sheffield Steelers in Belfast on Saturday 7th January and Sunday 8th January 2017. The festive season will be packed with mouth-watering ice hockey action.

The final home league games of the season will be against the Sheffield Steelers on Friday 17th March and the next night, Saturday 28th March 2017, against the Coventry Blaze. The Giants will end the 2016/17 season with back-to-back games on the road in Wales on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th March 2017 against the Cardiff Devils.

DerrickWalser

Coach Derrick Walser will have high hopes for his squad with the new signings. This will be the first time he has had his ‘own’ team to coach and develop. Walser’s aim is to have both additional speed as well as grit in the corners to dig out the puck in the opposition’s zone.

Walser’s thoughts also involve having a bigger, tougher ‘D’ core that does not get pushed around in the Giants’ zone. This would be paramount. However not forgetting the back door, with Stephen Murphy steeling games that the Giants should in theory have lost will be eased with the thought of the new young understudy Jackson Whistle. He will be ready for any action that comes his way should Murphy fall to an injury or off period.

It is easy to hope and speculate about the new Giants’ squad at this time of the season. The proof will be in the win-loss column of the statistics yet to be written.

Let us hope that Steve Thornton and Derrick Walser have got it right this season. The Giants’ trophy cabinet has not grown in silverware recently – it could do with some shiny new accolades.

Written by Wayne Hardman

FULL SEASON FIXTURE LIST

 Preseason Matches

 AUGUST 2016

Sat 20 Aug

Bremerhaven Pinguins

Sun 21 Aug

Bremerhaven Pinguins

Sat 27 Aug

Braehead Clan

Sun 28 Aug
 away 
Braehead Clan soon

Season Matches

SEPTEMBER 2016

Sat 03 Sep
 AWAY 
Fife Flyers 
Challenge Cup

Sat 10 Sep 

Fife Flyers 
Challenge Cup

Sun 11 Sep
 AWAY 
Coventry Blaze 
EIHL

Sat 17 Sep

 Edinburgh Capitals 
Challenge Cup

Sun 18 Sep
 AWAY 
Dundee Stars 
Challenge Cup

Sat 24 Sep

 Dundee Stars 
Challenge Cup

Sun 25 Sep
 AWAY 
Braehead Clan 
Challenge Cup

        OCTOBER 2016

Sat 01 Oct

 Cardiff Devils 
EIHL

Sat 08 Oct 

Braehead Clan 
Challenge Cup

Sun 09 Oct
 AWAY 
Sheffield Steelers 
EIHL

Sat 15 Oct
 AWAY 
Coventry Blaze 
EIHL

Sun 16 Oct
 AWAY 
Nottingham Panthers ElHL

Fri 21 Oct

 Coventry Blaze 
EIHL

Sat 22 Oct

 Coventry Blaze 
EIHL

Sat 29 Oct

 Braehead Clan 
EIHL

Sun 30 Oct
 AWAY 
Cardiff Devils 
EIHL
   

NOVEMBER 2016

Sat 05 Nov
 AWAY 
Coventry Blaze 
EIHL

Sun 06 Nov 
AWAY 
Nottingham Panthers 
EIHL

Fri 11 Nov 

Fife Flyers 
EIHL

Sat 12 Nov 

Cardiff Devils 
EIHL

Sun 13 Nov 
AWAY 
Edinburgh Capitals 
Challenge Cup

Satb19 Nov Away  
Dundee Stars 
EIHL

Sun 20 Nov
 AWAY 
Sheffield Steelers 
EIHL

Fri 25 Nov
 AWAY 
Nottingham Panthers 
EIHL

Sat 26 Nov
 AWAY 
Manchester Storm 
EIHL

        DECEMBER 2016

Sat 03 Dec
 AWAY 
Fife Flyers 
EIHL

Sun 04 Dec 
AWAY 
Edinburgh Capitals 
EIHL

Sat 10 Dec

 Sheffield Steelers 
EIHL

Sun 11 Dec
 AWAY 
Manchester Storm 
EIHL

Sat 17 Dec 

Nottingham Panthers 
EIHL

Sun 18 Dec
 AWAY 
Coventry Blaze 
EIHL

Thu 22 Dec 

Edinburgh Capitals 
EIHL

Fri 23 Dec 

Edinburgh Capitals 
EIHL

Mon 26 Dec 
AWAY 
Braehead Clan

Wed 28 Dec 

Manchester Storm 
EIHL

Fri 30 Dec 

Braehead Clan 
EIHL

        JANUARY 2017

Mon 02 Jan 

Coventry Blaze 
EIHL

Sat 07 Jan 

Sheffield Steelers 
EIHL

Sun 08 Jan 

Sheffield Steelers 
EIHL

Sat 14 Jan 
AWAY 
Cardiff Devils 
EIHL

Sun 15 Jan
 AWAY 
Dundee Stars 
EIHL

Fri 20 Jan 

Nottingham Panthers 
EIHL

Sat 21 Jan 

Dundee Stars 
EIHL

Sat 28 Jan
 AWAY 
Sheffield Steelers 
EIHL

Sun 29 Jan
 AWAY 
Sheffield Steelers 
EIHL

        FEBRUARY 2017

Sat 04 Feb
 AWAY 
Braehead Clan 
EIHL

Sun 05 Feb
 AWAY 
Edinburgh Capitals 
EIHL

Fri 10 Feb

 Dundee Stars 
EIHL

Sun 12 Feb 
AWAY 
Fife Flyers 
EIHL

Fri 17 Feb

Cardiff Devils 
EIHL

Sat 18 Feb

 Cardiff Devils 
EIHL
Tickets available soon

Sat 25 Feb 

Fife Flyers 
EIHL
Tickets available soon

Sun 26 Feb 
AWAY 
Nottingham Panthers 
EIHL

        MARCH 2017

Sat 04 Mar 

Manchester Storm

Fri 10 Mar 

Nottingham Panthers 
EIHL

Sun 12 Mar 

Nottingham Panthers

Fri 17 Mar 

Sheffield Steelers 
EIHL

Sat 18 Mar 

Coventry Blaze 
EIHL

Sat 25 Mar 
AWAY 
Cardiff Devils 
EIHL

Sun 26 Mar 
AWAY 
Cardiff Devils 
EIHL

 

Playoff Dates yet to be announced

 

 

 

 

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