Seven back in the Giants’ fold

Belfast Giants have announced the addition of seven players to the team for the 2016/17 Elite League season.

At the Giants’ exclusive season ticket holders event at The SSE Arena on Monday night it was announced that Matt Nickerson, James Desmarais, Michael Forney, Jonathan Boxill, Mark Garside, Brandon Benedict, David Rutherford and will all return to the club for the new campaign.

Nickerson (above) joined the Giants from Fife Flyers in 2015, following two years with the Gardiner Conference side.

Although he endured an injury-hit season, Nickerson quickly became a fans’ favourite on the blueline.

Desmarais moved to the Giants after spending the previous nine seasons in Switzerland.

The 37-year-old Canadian forward scored 23 goals and 40 assists in 64 games in the 2015/16 season.

Forney signed for the Giants from Sheffield Steelers last summer and went to score 25 goals and 34 points in 62 games last term.

Boxill joined the Giants a year ago from Nottingham Panthers and soon established himself as an important part of the team’s roster.

He has also featured in the last two World Championship tournaments with Great Britain.

Garside returns for his seventh season with the Giants having previously played for Edinburgh Capitals.

The 27-year-old has been a regular in the GB side and has helped the Giants to two league championships, in 2011/12 and 2013/14.

Benedict first joined the Giants back in 2009 and won the play-off title in 2010, before moving to the Panthers for four seasons where he was instrumental in winning seven trophies during that time.

He returned to the Giants at the start of the 2015/16 season.

Rutherford joined the Giants in January 2016 from the Capitals when the Giants interrupted a move for the forward to the ECHL in North America in order to add the Canadian to the roster for the remainder of the season.

The 29-year-old scored 21 goals and 29 assists in 53 games last year.

(Image permission: Karl Denham)

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