Belfast Giants: Canadian Matt Pelech added to Giants roster

Matt Pelech played for NHL sides the Calgary Flames and the San Jose Sharks
Pelech made eight NHL appearances for the San Jose Sharks

Belfast Giants have signed former NHL defenceman Matt Pelech for next season.

The 31-year-old Canadian, who played for Calgary Flames and San Jose Sharks in the NHL, joins the Giants from EBEL side Villacher in Austria.

"Matt is a natural leader who is excited to be a part of the defence of the Elite League and Challenge Cup," said Giants coach Adam Keefe.

"He will bring quality and toughness to our blueline as well as experience to the locker room."

Pelech, who was selected in the first round of the 2005 NHL draft by the Flames, will bring a wealth of experience to the Giants roster following the departure of captain Blair Riley to Elite League rivals Cardiff Devils.

The Toronto native made 425 AHL appearances with Quad City, Abbotsford, Worcester and Rochester before moving to Europe in 2015 to join Germany side Schwenniger.

Since 2017, Pelech has played for Graz 99ers, ERC Ingolstadt and Villacher, where he was the most penalised player in the EBEL last season.

Pelech will make his Giants debut in next month's pre-season games against Mora and Herning ahead of the start of their Champions Hockey League campaign.