Defenceman Nick Kuiper signs for Belfast Giants

Belfast Giants coach Doug Christiansen

Doug Christiansen is happy to have Kuiper at the Odyssey

The Belfast Giants have bolstered their defence by signing Nick Kuiper.

The 15-stone defender played the last three seasons in Austria's top league, making 161 appearances for Graz EC.

Kuiper played for the University of Massachusetts-Amherst before turning professional in 2004 with the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League.

In two seasons with the Admirals Kuiper played 143 games scoring five goals, adding 12 assists and amassing 213 penalty minutes.

Kuiper is expected to be a dominant force on the blueline this season for the Giants and adds size, strength and toughness to a very skilled defensive unit for the Giants.

"We targeted Nick from day one of the off-season," said Giants Coach Doug Christiansen.

"He is an elite defender who plays physical and can shut down the best players from opposing teams. We were not the only EIHL team after him but we got our man.

"He will provide leadership for this team and stability to our defense next season."