Defenceman Tom Dignard joins Belfast Giants

Belfast Giants coach Doug Christiansen
Doug Christiansen is delighted by the arrival of Tom Dignard

Belfast Giants have signed American defenceman Tom Dignard for next season.

The 24-year-old joins the Elite League side from the Tulsa Oilers in the CHL, where he posted 32 points in 48 games in the regular season.

Dignard was called up by the Lake Erie Monsters of the American Hockey League for a three-game stint in January.

"I've heard great things about the team and the city from past and present players, and I'm looking forward to coming to Belfast," he said.

Dignard is joining the Odyssey side as part of the scholarship programme with the University of Ulster.

He added: "I am very excited for the opportunity to come to Belfast to play for a great organization in the Giants and also to attend the University of Ulster in the hope of receiving my Masters."

The young defenseman played his university hockey for Yale, regularly contributing to the points tally, averaging almost a point a game in his last school year.

"Tom is an offensive defenceman - he had stellar reviews from a number of coaches and former teammates," said Giants coach Doug Christiansen.

"Twice he was compared to Brian Rafalski, the recently retired defender for the Detroit Red Wings.

"He plays a smooth skating, puck moving game. Tom is a very intelligent player and is someone who is only going to get better. He finished the year as Tulsa's top defenceman and earned his second AHL call-up.

"I am expecting Tom to be a great asset in all three zones and he will be able to join the play to add offense to our team.

"Looking at the other teams, it will be very important to have great skating defencemen in order to compete on a nightly basis."

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