Ice Hockey: Giants Land a Safe Pair of Hands

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Byline: NIGEL RINGLAND

THE Belfast Giants made a major announcement yesterday just nine days before the first game of the season.

But it wasn't a new signing on the ice, rather someone who has been charged with looking after the club away from the rink.

Local business man, John Elliott, has been named the new General Manager of the Company.

"John is a local entrepreneur who has been involved with a number of local successful companies that have contributed to bringing new lifestyle ideas to the people of Northern Ireland, very much like we have at the Giants.

"He will be a very safe and solid pair of hands in bringing the club forward from a business prospective," explained Giants owner Albert Maasland.

The 36 year old from Belfast studied at Loughborough University with a view of pursuing a rugby career. He was the student vice-chairman of the British Universities Sport Federation which allowed him to work in a number of sports.

He was employed by Unilever and Pepsi Cola amongst others before starting a number of successful local businesses including the chain of Clements Coffee Shops.

His responsibilities will include looking after sponsors, publicity and putting financial controls in place.

It's been a turbulent summer which saw the Giants enter into a Company Voluntary Arrangement with the creditors of the club, who voted to accept 20p in the pound on the debts they were owed. Only that vote kept the club in business.

Now the Giants home opener is next Saturday against the Coventry Blaze in the new Elite League and with the squad arriving this week, the possibility of the first local players making their debuts next weekend and the announcement of a new sponsor in the form of MG Rover the future seems to be looking brighter. …