Upon his return to the Belfast Giants line up this weekend Colin Shields will break Graeme Walton’s long-held appearance record when he ices in Teal White and Red for the 585th time.
This weekend – Colin Shields returns from a long injury layoff to play Giants game #585 and overtake Graeme Walton as our all-time leader in games played?
— Belfast Giants (@BelfastGiants) 4 January 2019
Shields already holds the record number of points for the Giants with 242 goals and 385 assists being good for 627 points. The appearance record is just another in a long line of achievements Shields has chalked up in his 11 seasons (10 seasons if you ask Todd Kelman) with the Giants.
Speaking on this weeks A View From The Bridge podcast, Shields highlighted his pride in turning out for the club and taking this record.
“When I first came to the Giants I never thought I’d be here as long as I have. I’m grateful for the opportunities the current and the previous ownership have allowed me as I’ve been able to make a home here now.”
He also paid tribute to the man whose record he is surpassing.
“I’ve known Graeme a long time, a Northern Irish Hockey legend, a former teammate and a friend, I can’t speak highly enough of him and the relationship I’ve had with him over the last 13-14 years
He reaches this record in the first of a tough weekend for Adam Keefe’s side who face a Sheffield Steelers team whose form has been mildly erratic over the last month. Last weekend they split a home and home series with 2nd from bottom Manchester Storm. Yet over the festive period Tom Barasso etched his name in Steelers folklore with 2 victories over closest rivals Nottingham.
This was despite having only taken 4 wins in the previous 10 games, one of those being the 4-2 victory over the Giants at the Fly DSA Arena in early December.
Giants will be looking to bounce back from the defeat to the Dundee Stars last Sunday and maintain pressure on the Cardiff Devils.
Speaking with Belfast Giants TV, Adam Keefe is well aware of the challenge ahead for his side.
“They come very hard and put a lot of pressure on us, we are going to have to be ready for that. The message is we want to dictate the pace, we don’t want to play to their pace. So I expect our guys to show up and compete real hard!”
In a week that also witnessed the return to Belfast of Chris Higgins, legendary Belfast Giants kit manager, Jason “Taff” Ellery spoke to A View From The Bridge’s Simon Kitchen about the return of the player dubbed the #BelfastDatsyuk. As well has finding out Taff’s anticipation for the forthcoming IIHF World Championships where he will be part of the Team GB set up.
And before both of this weekends games against the Sheffield Steelers the NCAA returns to the SSE Arena for the Friendship Series. The womens teams of Clarkson and Northeastern, ranked at the top of the game in North America, will fight out for NCAA points for the first time outside the USA. Check out Aaron Coulter’s excellent preview of these games which are free to watch at the arena this weekend.
NCAA: Clarkson University v Northeastern University, 3pm, SSE Arena – Free Entry
NCAA: Northeastern University v Clarkson University, 12pm, SSE Arena – Free Entry
PODCAST: Dipsy Doodle – This Week’s A View From The Bridge has Colin Shields sharing a few stories. The lads look back at 3 in 3 for the Giants and discuss the NCAA return this weekend ahead of the Steelers games
A View From The Bridge Podcast, Official Podcast of the Belfast Giants, part of Kingdom Of The Giants.
Words: Patrick Smyth Audio: Simon Kitchen / AVFTB Video: Belfast Giants TV