Wednesday night’s playoff champions party saw three Giants say thank you and farewell as they embark on life after hockey. Mark Morrison, George Awada and Shane Johnson pulled on the red, white and teal for the last time on Sunday in the playoff final as the LBM Belfast Giants defeated the Cardiff Devils to take the 2009/10 playoff championship.
Morrison, from Dundonald, joined the Giants in 2003 after being signed up by then coach and current bench coach Rob Stewart. Seven seasons on and Morrison can boast five trophies as a Giant, including both the League Championship and, now, the Elite League Playoff Championship. “The Mo-Train” leaves the Giants in fourth place on the all time list of games played for the Belfast Giants.
George Awada was signed by the LBM Belfast Giants in 2004 after coach Tony Hand sought to bring in the one of the Elite League’s top players after scoring 48 points in 52 games for an impressive Manchester Phoenix team that knocked the Giants out of the playoffs in the 2003/04 season. Awada captained the LBM Giants to the Elite League Championship in the 2005/06 season and has won a further three championships during his six seasons as a Belfast Giant.
Shane Johnson is the last of the original Giants to still be playing for the team. Shane joined the Giants in 2000 from the Bracknell Bees alongside current Giants General Manager, Todd Kelman and current Giants bench coach, Rob Stewart. Bar the 2006/07 season, Shane has played in every Belfast Giants season and currently tops the all time list of games played. ‘Johnnie’ as he is known to his teammates has won every piece of silverware possible including two league championships and two playoff championships.
As shown by the send off given at the playoff champions party by the Giants fans, all three of these Giants legends will be sorely missed by all involved in the organisation and we wish them well with their post-Giant careers.