Belfast Giants forced to release player

Belfast Giants forced to release player

The Belfast Giants have been forced to release one of their players after exceeding the Elite League's import limit, with Scott Champagne leaving the side.

The 29-year-old forward from Ontario, Canada, has now joined the Sheffield Steelers.

The Giants had been under pressure to change their line-up due to injuries sustained over the Christmas period, with former captain Colin Shields making a return to bolster the side.

But the mid-season additions of Massachusetts native Jeff Mason, returning from playing in Norway, and Manitoba's Kevin Saurette saw the Belfast team exceed the EIHL cap of 10 imported players.

Giants head coach Doug Christiansen thanked Champagne for his work ethic and professionalism.

"Scott has done everything I have asked and I know he will have success elsewhere," he said.

Scott's a great teammate and player - I hope 2013 brings him success on and off the ice.

Doug Christiansen, Belfast Giants

But Champagne, who has already flown to Sheffield, won't have to wait long to return to the Odyssey Arena - with the Steelers due to visit for a crunch game on Saturday.

He told his new club's website that he was excited by the move.

"The Steelers team is an excellent one and I know I'm moving to a first class organisation," he said.

Head coach Ryan Finnerty added that he'd been looking to sign Champagne for some time.

"We see Scott as the perfect fit for what we are looking for. Someone who will compliment Jeff Legue on our big line and someone who will help our power-play as well," he said.

"Legue was instrumental in Champagne agreeing to sign. They both come from the same town and have grown up together - they know each other's game inside out."

Before the weekend game, the Giants have travelled to Glasgow to face Braehead Clan on Thursday.

The Clan have been boosted by the services of NHL player and Detroit Red Wings star Drew Miller, due to the lockout during talks between the NHL owners and the Players Association.

But with a resolution now looking likely, they're set to bid farewell to their fan favourite.

"It has been a pleasure to have someone of Drew's calibre ice for the Clan," a club statement said.

"The lockout may not be positive for the sport of ice hockey, but having Drew join the Clan for the last three months has certainly gained us a few fans and helped raise the club profile!"


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