Speedy McLeod signs for a second season with Belfast Giants
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So today’s news that McLeod has been confirmed as a returnee for the Belfast Giants for the 2023/24 season will no doubt but a big smile on the Giants’ fanbase.
Last season, 26-year-old McLeod joined the Giants mid-season on the Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL) deadline day, having spent the first half of the 2022/23 season with ECHL side, the Cincinnati Cyclones.
Quickly establishing himself as a hit with Belfast Giants’ fan base with his upbeat personality and presence on and off the ice, McLeod leveraged high speed and skilful plays to notch up six goals and six assists in EIHL 13 games – contributing to a historical treble-winning season for the Giants and making memories to last a lifetime during his few months in teal.
Commenting on the signing, head coach of the Stena Line Belfast Giants, Adam Keefe said: “This is a great signature for us to secure ahead of the 2023/24 season. Matt made a huge impact during his time with us last year, and we’d hoped he wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
“Matt’s level of speed and the skill in his game are key to driving the puck towards our opponent’s net, where it needs to be ultimately. His attitude and work ethic on and off the ice are first class, bringing a positive energy to the room and during games. We look forward to welcoming him back to Belfast this season.”
Speaking of his return to Belfast for the upcoming season, Matt McLeod said: “I’m excited to have re-signed with the Belfast Giants this season. I love Belfast; the city and the people there are amazing (especially our fans!), I knew as soon as I got there that I'd love to come back again.
“Last year, we set the bar with three trophies – this year, we’re back to defend them. I’m looking forward to getting to work and giving it my all out there.”
Hailing from Mississauga, Ontario, McLeod kick-started his hockey journey in the Ontario Junior Hockey League with Toronto Lakeshore Patriots and the Oakville Blades.
He then moved onto NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) level hockey in 2015 during his time with Canisius College.
From there, he played in the ECHL from 2019 up until his move to Belfast last season, with Canadian outfit Brampton Beast and his most current side Cincinnati Cyclones.
During his time in the ECHL, McLeod also featured a brief stint on loan to the Bakersfield Condors in the American Hockey League (AHL).
Meanwhile, the Belfast Giants have learned their opponents for next season's CHL following the draw in Tampere on Wednesday afternoon.
Under the new format, the Giants will play three teams at home, and a different three on the road. They'll face Red Bull Salzburg (ICEHL/Austria), HC Bolzano (ICEHL/Italy) and Dynamo Pardubice (Czechia) at the SSE Arena; while visiting Lukko Rauma (Finland), Innsbruck (ICEHL/Austria) and defending champions Tappara Tampere (Finland) as part of the group stage campaign.
Among an overall ranking of all 24 teams through the opening phase, the top 16 will advance to the next round.
Fixture dates for CHL (Champions Hockey League) and domestic EIHL home games will be announced in the coming weeks.
Belfast Giants Season Tickets for the 2023/24 season are on sale now.
Keep an eye on Belfast Giants’ website and social media channels for the latest news and signing announcements.