Mark Cooper is hoping to bring Belfast Giants more success
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Cooper was selected as the Giants’ new captain, with experienced players Ben Lake, Mark Garside, and Ciaran Long named assistant captains for the upcoming season.
The line-up sees Lake and Garside return as assistant captains for the third successive season, with Long deservedly re-joining the leadership group following his initial appointment during the 2022/23 season.
Following David Goodwin’s departure from the club in the summer, treble-winning forward Cooper took up the captaincy after two influential seasons as assistant captain.
Speaking to the News Letter, Cooper said he was delighted to get the nod to take up the Giants’ captaincy.
He said: “It is a real honour to be named as the Giants’ captain for the 2023/4 season. I got to live and also become really good friends with David Goodwin, who had been captain for the last two season. I have learnt a great deal from him.
“Hopefully I can bring my own flavour to the captaincy this season. It has been really exciting to step into the role and I look forward to what lies ahead, I am grasping the challenge with both hands.”
Cooper hopes that he can bring yet more success to the Giants and the city of Belfast.
He said: “I am really proud to be captain and I look forward to representing not only team and organisation but also the great city of Belfast too.
“Hopefully, I will be able to help the Giants bring more success to the city this season, just like we have done in the last two seasons.”
Cooper believes that he has great players around him in the Giants’ leadership team.
“Our leadership team hasn’t changed that much in the past few seasons, other than losing ‘Goody’,” he said.
“We were a tight unit last season and I expect the same this year. We have added Jeff Baum to the line-up.
“Jeff has been around for a number of years and he brings a lot to the team and the locker room, so it was nice to see him brought in.
“It has been an easy transition this season and the guys are extremely supportive of me and always willing to help when that is needed.
“I have so much confidence in that group and it’s great to get to play alongside them and bring in more success to the franchise.”
Cooper says he has been pleased with how Giants’ progress in the season so far.
He said: “I think it has been going pretty well for us so far this season. We have lost a bit of offence from last season, at least initially, but that’s something that we have been looking at addressing and improving on.
“Certainly, I feel that the league, in general, has got better this season. Fife have shown themselves to be very good this season.
"Dundee also played a hard game against us and Glasgow has also improved.
“I think the Giants have been fairing well, we have won all the games so far in the Challenge Cup and that’s something that we should be pleased about.”
The Giants are back in action on Saturday away against the Coventry Blaze with a faceoff time of 7pm.
And then it is Challenge Cup action on Sunday at the SSE Arena against the Glasgow Clan with a faceoff time of 4pm.