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Bishop on the Hunt for Giants in clashes with Glasgow and Dundee

Belfast Giants head coach Adam Keefe will have new signing Hunster Bishop available this weekend
Andy Watters

BELFAST Giants' new signing Hunter Bishop is set to make his debut in the weekend Challenge Cup double header with Dundee Stars and Glasgow Clan at the SSE Arena.

The 30-year-old forward arrived in the city on Wednesday and trained with the club yesterday as the Giants prepare to continue the defence of the trophy they won last season.

Bishop last played his hockey in the Austrian league with Innsbruck where he had some impressive stats, scoring 65 goals and posting 51 assists in three years with the organisation.

He formerly played in the American Hockey League with Manchester Monarchs and is expected to add a lot to an already strong-looking Giants roster.

Head coach Adam Keefe has already set his stall out to add to last season's success after the Giants ended a four-year trophy drought in his first term in charge.

The Giants opened their account in the round robin stages of the Challenge Cup with a 4-2 win over the Stars last Saturday and followed up with a 3-1 victory over Fife Flyers.

Darcy Murphy stole the show in Sunday's win, weighing in with a hat-trick and he says he's happy with his form and that of the players around him.

"It was nice to get two from two so early in the season although we were maybe a little shaky at the start of the weekend," said the 24-year-old.

"But that's only to be expected with 10 or 11 new players on the roster and the guys are still getting to know each other at this time of the year.

Murphy admits he didn't expect to be playing alongside former NHL stars such as Jim Vandermeer and Patrick Dwyer at this relatively early stage in his career.

He made his first visit to Belfast in 2015 when a student at Colgate University and played in the inaugural Friendship Four tournament at the SSE Arena.

"To be honest, I was planning to be playing in north America once I graduated but when that fell through it was a thrill to come back to Belfast," he added.

"It's a great city and the fans here are unbelievable; if you were playing in a near-empty arena every week it wouldn't be so attractive.

"We are looking forward to our first home games of the new season and let's hope we can give the fans plenty to cheer about.

"The Challenge Cup is a good way to start the new campaign and it allows us to get some chemistry going between the players before the league gets under way next week."

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