Elite League: Title-winning Belfast Giants coach Adam Keefe 'couldn't bear to watch'

The Belfast Giants beat Dundee Stars 6-4 in their final Elite League game of the season on Saturday
The Belfast Giants beat Dundee Stars 6-4 in their final Elite League game of the season on Saturday

Title-winning Belfast Giants coach Adam Keefe says he "couldn't bear to watch" a webcast of Coventry Blaze's 3-1 win over Cardiff Devils on Sunday which handed his side the Elite League crown.

The teams finished level on 92 points but the Giants won the league because they achieved more regulation wins.

The Giants were attending their end-of-season awards at a Belfast hotel when news of the title triumph broke.

"I'm so glad I made it there in time for the celebrations," said Keefe.

"I didn't look at my phone very often on Sunday and it felt like the hours were going very slowly leading up to the match.

"I was sitting at home and my wife said 'Do you want to watch the webcast?' and I said 'Absolutely not. I don't even want to look at my phone."

'The longest taxi ride I've ever had'

Cardiff and Belfast had been fighting it out at the top of the Elite League table throughout the season, with the Giants trailing their rivals by 11 points in January before sealing a seemingly unlikely success.

Belfast won their final three games in the space of four days against Coventry, Fife Flyers and Dundee Stars on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday to put pressure on Cardiff, who ultimately missed out on a third successive title with their defeat by Coventry on the final day of the regular season.

The Devils needed only a point to secure the title after their comprehensive 9-1 win over MK Lightning on Saturday.

"I was keeping tabs on the game during a 25-minute taxi ride to the hotel which covered the third period of the match," added the Giants coach.

"It was the longest taxi ride I've ever had and then the moment I walked into the hotel I got no service on my phone.

"When I arrived at the hotel I went straight to the bar for a drink with the players and just to hear the eruption of the fans and the players was amazing.

"It was such a spectacular story to be here with our die-hard faithful fans and the entire team at a moment like that which will probably never happen again."

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Shields celebrates Giants title triumph

Having already collected the Challenge Cup, the Giants will now aim to complete a treble of trophy successes by winning the Play-offs, in which they face Coventry in a two-legged quarter-final this weekend.

"Whether Cardiff won or lost I am extremely proud of my group of players," enthused Keefe.

"Credit to Coventry, they didn't have to play all their top players. They obviously played out of competitiveness and the fact they did not want that trophy to be won on their home ice.

"We will enjoy the moment and then start to focus on the play-offs."

"We knew it was an outside shot and it's obviously difficult when things are out of your hands but you never know what can happen right at the end of the season," commented retiring forward Colin Shields.

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