The busy Christmas and New Year period for the Belfast Giants begins in earnest this weekend with a big home doubleheader against the Fife Flyers on Friday and Sheffield Steelers on Saturday.
Eight of the next ten games over the holidays are at the Odyssey Arena and with clashes coming up against the Steelers, Nottingham Panthers, Braehead Clan, Coventry Blaze and Dundee Stars among them, all of whom are chasing first place in the Elite League which the Giants currently hold, it promises to be a exciting time for players and supporters alike.
On paper the game against Fife this evening may be the easiest but as the season reaches its halfway point, the Giants’ four-point lead at the top has come with nothing less that hard work.
“It’s a huge weekend for us and a big period coming up as we play a lot of games against teams right behind us in the standings and we can’t take our foot off the gas now, especially at this time of year,” explained defenceman Robby Sandrock.
“At Christmas time, minds can start to wander off to family and that sort of thing but we have to stay focused and keep going at 100 per cent.”
The Giants will welcome back Darryl Lloyd after the popular forward missed most of the last month of action with an injury and he’s looking forward to getting back on the ice.
“I’ve been working hard to get back on the ice over the past couple of weeks and now I can’t wait to get into a game and see what I can do to help the team win,” said Lloyd.
“I’m a bad watcher of games, but the guys got the job done, especially on the road and now that we’re home we want to put on a show and we’ve been preparing hard for this weekend.”
Tomorrow’s game against the Sheffield Steelers will be a big draw with former coach Doug Christiansen returning once again to the Odyssey.
The Giants have won two of the three encounters between the sides this season and Christiansen has struggled with injuries to get his new side on a consistent roll so far.
The game means more in terms of the standings to the Steelers but should the Giants win it would be a setback to the Steelers title challenge.
There’s sure to be a big atmosphere for both games with the return to the Odyssey of Cameron Hughes, the world renowned sports entertainer.
Hughes made his Belfast debut in January 2013 and left his mark on the organisation, guaranteeing a fantastic fan night for all inside the Odyssey Arena.
The Canadian has made his mark at a number of major world sporting events such as the US Open tennis and 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.