Chris Higgins among three new Belfast Giants for next season

Chris Higgins
Chris Higgins helped the Belfast Giants win the Elite League title in 2013-14

Former Odyssey Arena favourite Chris Higgins has agreed a return to the Belfast Giants in one of three additions to the squad for next season.

Higgins is back in Belfast after spending the past season with Nottingham Panthers.

Great Britain player Jonathan Boxill also joins the Giants from Nottingham as does Fife defenceman Matt Nickerson.

In addition, Steve Thornton has been able to retain Colin Shields, Mark Garside and Andrew Dickson.

Nickersen, 30, was selected 99th in the 2003 NHL draft by the Dallas Stars and his career also includes spells in the Finnish Elite League before moving to Fife.

Englishman Boxill, 26, played four seasons with New England College's NCAA team before joining the Elite League in 2013.

Boxill was named in the Great Britain squad for the recent World Championship campaign in the Netherlands when he helped the national squad clinch the silver medal.

"He is an incredible guy off the ice and he will be a good team-mate." said Giants head of operations Thornton of Boxill.

Higgins helped the Giants land the 2013-14 Elite League and Thornton will hope that his return to the club will boost their chances of regaining the title next season.

The 29-year-old helped Boston University land the 2008-9 NCAA National Championship and after playing for a number of North American teams, he also had spells with Italian and Swedish clubs.

"Chris was one of the first guys I got in contact with after the season ended," added Thornton.