The defensive pairing of Jeff Mason and Kevin Phillips are both back with the Stena Line Belfast Giants for another 2 seasons after recently inking 2 year contracts before departing Belfast for the off-season.
Mason and Phillips partnered with each other from mid-October onwards and complimented each other well, with Phillips defensive style of play allowing Mason more freedom to jump in to the offense.
In 2012, Mason was selected as the Elite League Defenceman of the Year and this past season, he lifted his 2nd Elite League title in his four years in Belfast while scoring 32 points (9 goals and 23 assists) in 57 games.
“Mason is one of the best two-way defencemen in the league,” said General Manager Todd Kelman, “he is very consistent at both ends of the ice and his skating ability allows him to jump into the play and still get back into position on defence.”
“He scores big goals for us and seems to raise his level of play in the biggest games. On top of that, he is hard to beat in his own end.”
Kevin Phillips returns for his 3rd season as a Giant and he has won titles in both of his previous years in Belfast – a Playoff Championship in 2010 and then the Elite League Title last season. Last season, he played every game for the Giants, scoring 4 goals and 11 assists in 63 games played.
Kelman spoke about Phillips:
“Kevin has developed into one of the most dependable defensive defenceman we have ever had in Belfast. We know what we are getting every night. He isn’t flashy but he skates well, moves the puck up the ice well and doesn’t try to do too much.”
“He plays a simple but effective game and is tough to play against in his own end. I think he gets better every year. Bringing him in last year solidified the defensive core and having the ability to play 6 defencemen in this league gave us a huge advantage over a very long season.”
Giants fans can look forward to the announcement on Monday of the new Head Coach and Season Ticket holders can attend a special Event at W5 on Monday Night (7pm) when the new coach will be unveiled to the fans along with a few more player signings.
Photographs courtesy of Michael Cooper Photography