The Giants are developing another Belfast born, star of the future in Gareth Roberts who has signed his first professional ice hockey contract with the team for the up coming season.
First noticing Gareth playing for Team Ireland with another former Giant Gareth Martin. Roberts finally got his debuted for the Giants last season and has flourished within the squad resulting in Coach Christiansen offering him a contract.
“Gareth Roberts is the best young player in Belfast and we are thrilled to have him be a Giant next season. I am a firm believer in developing young players and I thought Gareth improved tremendously. He is a great kid and wants to be a great hockey player. I am looking forward to working with him this year.
Today is a very exciting day for Gareth. I will never forget signing my first professional contract and I know today Gareth is thrilled to be signing a contract with the professional team he dreamed of playing for. I expect this to be the first of many contracts for Gareth.” Stated Christiansen.
Gareth, who came to the Giants through the ranks of the Junior Giants and more recently the Castlereagh Spartans Ice Hockey Club, scored his first goal as a Giant on March 11th 2011, winning Man of the Match in that game against the Edinburgh Capitals.
He is looking forward to next season: ”I would like to thank everyone at the Giants for giving me this great opportunity. I saw last season how challenging it is to be a pro hockey player for the Giants. I will be training hard over the summer to be in the best shape possible. I feel very lucky and proud to be given this chance to play for the Giants. I am sure it will be a very successful season.” Concluded Roberts.
Christiansen recently went under went surgery again on his career ending knee injury that sidelined him for the majority of the 2009-10 season when he was still with the Edinburgh Capitals.
The injury, which happened in September 2009, required immediate surgery at the time and now including the most recent procedure, Christiansen has had 3 surgeries on the damaged knee.
“The idea of ever playing again at a professional level has been out of my head for a long time, but I am hoping that this surgery will allow me to be able to run without pain and play hockey at a level that I can still enjoy the game.
I skated once or twice a week last season with the team, but any more than that and my knee would swell up and have me limping around for the next week or so. I just want to get it to the level of being able to do the basics and exercise regularly without it being a problem for the rest of my life.” Finished Doug.
No new signing during the festive break but the Giants are still scouring the available players on the market in order to strengthen the team for next season.