Giants sign North Dakota NCAA champion Gabe Bast
The Stena Line Belfast Giants have announced the signing of Canadian defenceman Gabe Bast for the incoming 2022/23 season.
Hailing from Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, the 25-year-old arrives in Belfast after a stint in Finland where he made 18 appearances on the blue line for Finnish side Kalevan Pallo (KalPa) in the highly competitive Liiga.
Bast has had championship pedigree throughout his career, winning no less than five junior titles before his enrolment at the University of North Dakota where he went on to clinch back-to-back NCHC Regular Season Penrose Cups with the NCAA D1 Fighting Hawks, followed by an NCHC Championship in his senior year.
With a core group of proven performers returning from last year’s double trophy winning season, and now the addition of a debutant defenceman, the Giants’ roster is beginning to take shape for 2022/23.
Commenting on the announcement, head coach Adam Keefe said: “This is a great signing for the club, and one we’re pleased to have secured.
“Off the back of a stint in Finland, Bast has gained valuable experience in Liiga, and we know he will bring that European experience, as well as a strong defensive presence to the ice in Belfast next season.”
Speaking of his time playing NCAA College hockey, Bast said: “It was an unbelievable experience. I played for four years with the University of North Dakota, helping me on the journey of stepping into professional hockey.
“The coaches there are phenomenal with development, giving access to anything you need to help you become a professional.”
The Friendship Four returns to The SSE Arena, Belfast this November – a high-profile four-game tournament, that is the first and only National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) hockey tournament to take place outside of the United States.
Finally, a message from Gabe to the Teal Army: “Get ready for another season of fun in Belfast. Playing in the Champions Hockey League is going to be a great opportunity for the team, and hopefully we can bring another Championship title home to the city of Belfast.”
Further signings are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
Season tickets for the 2022/23 season are on sale now.
More on Gabe Bast - As is often the case, hockey is in Gabe Bast’s blood. His father Tom was a high scoring minor league centreman in the 1970s, his sister Mairead spent a season with University of British Columbia in 2016-17 and his younger brother Luke has become the latest Bast to don the green at the University of North Dakota.
Gabe Bast won his first title at the age of 15 when his hometown Red Deer Rebels clinched an Alberta Midget Minor Hockey League Championship; and as he progressed through the ranks in Red Deer, the wins kept coming.
Bast was a ‘AAA’ AMHL Champion in 2012-13 and 2013-14 with the Red Deer Chiefs and a ‘Junior A’ BCHL Champion in 2014-15 and 2016-17 with the Penticton Vees, leading to his success in college with North Dakota.