Ben O'Connor's switch to Belfast Giants is off

Belfast Giants coach Doug Christiansen
Belfast Giants coach Doug Christiansen had agreed a deal with O'Connor

Belfast Giants' hopes of having Great Britain player Ben O'Connor on board for next season have been frustrated.

O'Connor did agree a move to the Giants but that deal is now off after the former Edinburgh player was offered a lucrative move to a club in Kazakhstan.

The Kazakh club play in the KHL in Russia which is reckoned to be the second best league in the world.

Belfast native Graeme Walton has extended his contract with the Giants for a further two seasons.

Walton's contract extension will make him the first player in Giants history to play 10 seasons with the club.

The Belfast man is second all-time in games played with the Giants with 452, trailing Shane Johnson (486) by 34 games.

"He has won four championships as a Giant and became the first ever Northern Ireland player to represent Great Britain at the World Championships," said Belfast Giants general manager Todd Kelman.

"He plays with a lot of heart and a ton of emotion, which is infectious.

"We are happy to have Walton for another two seasons and proud that he will become the first ever Giant to play 10 seasons with the club."

The Giants allowed O'Connor to be released from his contract on the condition that he will join Belfast if he opts to return to the Elite League in the next two seasons.

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