1. ITV Report

Blair Riley returns to captain Belfast Giants

Belfast Giants captain Blair Riley returns after lifting the Challenge Cup last season. Credit: Belfast Giants

Belfast Giants power forward Blair Riley is returning to the side for his third straight season in teal, and his second as captain.

The 32-year-old Canadian first joined the Giants from the AHL’s Stockton Heat back in 2016.

Blair Riley will make it three seasons in a row with the Giants. Credit: Belfast Giants

His first season in Belfast saw him post 30 goals and 31 assists, racking up 61 points in 56 games.

Riley followed that up with 18 goals and 57 assists – 75 points in 64 games in the 2017/18 season, that also saw him help the club to its first cup since 2009.

It is all about winning for me.

Especially when you get a taste of what we accomplished last season ...

– Blair Riley

“I know from my previous two years in Belfast that the Giants are very well supported,” he told the Giants’ official A View From The Bridge podcast.

“And you could really see how much the Challenge Cup success meant to the fans, especially from the crowd that turned out at the airport on our return to the city.”

Riley added: “I am excited to be able to spend at least one more year in Belfast and with a good crew of players that I am looking forward to playing with again.”

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The signing news comes as the clock ticks down on the new season, with less than a month to go before the Giants get back on the ice.

It also comes just 24 hours after the team confirmed they had snapped up NHL veteran Patrick Dwyer to bolster their ranks – a popular move with the Teal Army fanbase.

The action will get underway with back-to-back pre-season exhibition games against the Manitoba Bisons on 25 and 26 August at the SSE Arena Belfast.