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Belfast Giants miss out on a grand slam

They say two out of three ain’t bad! And the Belfast Giants can hold their heads with a great deal of pride having won the Elite League trophy and the Challenge Cup, but also having bounced back from the woes of the pandemic to record what will no doubt be remembered as a historic season.

In Nottingham last weekend that Giants came so close to claiming the grand slam of ice hockey only to be pipped at the post (6-3) by the Cardiff Devils in the play-off final.

The Giants had chased a one goal game into the last two minutes of the Premier Sports EIHL Playoff final, before a pair of late empty net markers from the Cardiff Devils separated the sides.

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The Stena Line Belfast Giants tied off the 2021/22 season in style as fans, players, their families, staff, sponsors and partners gathered in the SSE Arena, Belfast for one last time to celebrate what has been a banner year for the team.

Belfast Giants coach Adam Keefe during Sunday’s EIHL Playoff Grand Final at the Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham

Arriving to the Giants’ end of season awards night to rapturous applause from assembled fans and guests, memories of the weekend’s defeat quickly faded as the team marked the end of what has been an incredible season.

A total of 12 Awards were handed out on the night, with the winners decided by a mix of coaches, players, the club’s official supporters club and fans.

The 2021/22 Stena Line Belfast Giants award winners were:

Defenceman of the Year presented by Decathlon: Griffin Reinhart

JJ Piccinich with Cardiff Devils’ Matt Register

Forward of the Year presented by Marketplace Superheroes: Scott Conway

Unsung Hero presented by Harry Corry: Jeff Baum

Top Points Scorer presented by One Stop Mortgage Shop: Scott Conway and JJ Piccinich (joint winners)

President’s Award presented by John Small: David Goodwin

David Goodwin with Cardiff Devils’ Mac Carruth

OSC Young Player of the Year (25 and under) presented by Belfast Giants OSC: JJ Piccinich

OSC Player of the Year presented by Belfast Giants OSC: Scott Conway

Ian Barton Award (Hardest Worker): presented by June Barton: Ben Lake

Coaches’ Player of the Year presented by Daly’s Hyundai: Mark Cooper

Players’ Player of the Year presented by Harness: JJ Piccinich

Fans’ Favourite sponsored by Belfast Harbour: Kevin Raine

Most Valuable Player (MVP) presented by Stenaline: Tyler Beskorowany

Speaking after the Awards, head coach Adam Keefe said: “I could not be prouder of everything this team has achieved together this season. Coming out of the pandemic, we were determined to come back better, stronger and faster than ever, leaving everything on the ice for our fans and the city of Belfast.

“Winning doesn’t come easy. This season’s success has taken huge commitment and teamwork, not just from the players and coaches but from the staff, volunteers, our sponsors, partners and our fanbase. It’s great to come together one last time to celebrate what has been an historic season.”