Belfast Giants return to home ice for first time in 18 months

The Belfast Giants have finally reclaimed their home arena, taking to the ice at the SSE Arena for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began more than 18 months ago.

Indoor sports were hit particularly hard by Covid-19, enduring a long and often uncertain wait before any sign of action resuming.

And even when a return was on the cards for the Giants, it was only days before the first home game that restrictions eased sufficiently to allow fans to fill the arena that has, in the interim, served as both a food bank and a Covid mass vaccination centre.

However, on Friday night, it welcomed the Teal Army faithful back through its doors for a Challenge Cup clash between the Belfast Giants and the Dundee Stars.

The Giants had already got their campaign off to a flying start with back-to-back away wins in the tournament over the Stars (6-3) and the Fife Flyers (5-1) the previous weekend.

And they certainly seemed intent on picking up where they left off.

Goals from new signing JJ Piccinich and returnee Lewis Hook put the Giants in the driving seat after the opening period of action.

The Giants led 2-0 after the opening period of action against the Stars. Credit: William Cherry/Presseye

However, there were no more goals to come for the home side.

Netminder Tyler Beskorowany shutting the Stars out at the other end did mean the Giants skated off with the comfortable 2-0 win nonetheless.

The game's dying seconds did turn feisty before the final buzzer though, with early fan favourite Jordan Boucher at the centre of a scuffle with Stars player Kyle Haas.

The Belfast Giants are next in action in another clash with the Stars in Dundee on Sunday.

  • Video: Belfast Giants head coach Adam Keefe talks to UTV