by Davy McGimpsey
When Hunter Bishop signed for the Belfast Giants back in August I was quick to mark him down as the Belfast Giants MVP for the coming season!
‘The Bish’ as he was fondly known by the Teal Army won many’s an admirer with his speed and lack of quit on a play.
A hockey guy his whole life, an opportunity to take a step off the ice as a player and into a coaching role has presented itself, and Hunter is taking that opening to start giving back to the game that has given him so much. A coaching role in his hometown, Charleston, back in sunny North America was too good a fit for his young family, and who can criticise the family first attitude. Sadly for us this means that Hunter has decided to retire with immediate effect from pro hockey.
A model pro in his time in Teal, “The Bish” came to work everyday with a smile on his face, disappointed at the healthy scratches, he never allowed his feelings to impact on the room, his work ethic on & off the ice was second to none, training in the gym like he was competing for an iron man everyday, always prepared to play and trying his absolute best for the club.
Hunter had 22 points in 44 games (5+17), a plus/minus of 2, 58 PIMs, 1 PPG & 1 First Star of the Game Award.
Hunter spoke to AVFTB earlier “Obviously this is not how I planned to end things, but I feel extremely fortunate to have this opportunity at home with the new coaching position. I’ve been blessed to have had the experiences I’ve had through hockey & I’ve lived all over the world in some incredible cities.Living in Northern Ireland has been another great memory for us and I’m so grateful for our time in Belfast.The people here are so warm and welcoming and the Giants Organization is run in an extremely professional manner. I’d especially like to highlight the people that work behind the scenes for the club, and they went above and beyond to help my family feel welcomed and comfortable. There is a great group of guys here in Belfast and I wish them nothing but the best moving forward. Every hockey player faces what I have at some point or another and the decision to retire now was the toughest decision I’ve ever made. I love hockey, I have since I was about three! It will always be a part of me, this opportunity to transition into a role to help other young men to achieve their dreams is exactly what I hoped for when the time came for me to finish my playing career. Leaving now was the best decision for my family, and I’m so happy to leave on good terms with the Giants. Thanks for the great memories Belfast”.
Colin Shields also noted “Bish was a true professional, always showed up and worked hard. He was a great team mate. I wish him all the best in his new position and future”.
Hunter, his wife Tara and Brodi their little princess head back across the Atlantic with our thanks for making Belfast a chapter in the Bishop story.
When I look back at my bold prediction about Hunter Bishop it turns out I was correct, Bish was an MVP, a Most Valuable Person.
Words: Davy McGimpsey
Images: William Cherry / PressEye