The Stena Line Belfast Giants are pleased to announce the final additions to the team’s 2021/22 roster, with the signing of forward, JJ Piccinich and defenceman, Griffin Reinhart.
New Jersey native J.J Piccinich joins the Belfast Giants with a track record of championship success. The 25-year-old forward is a former NCAA Champion with Boston University, an ECHL Champion with the Newfoundland Growlers and Memorial Cup Champion with the London Knights, where he was captain. He joins the Teal Army off the back of a successful season with the Orlando Solar Bears in the ECHL.
With seven years’ pro hockey experience to date, playing across the WHL, NHL, AHL, and, most recently, the DEL, 27-year-old defenseman Griffin Reinhart arrives in Belfast off the back of a successful season with the Iserlohn Roosters, where he helped reach the German team reach the play-offs. A first-round draft pick of the New York Islanders in 2012, the former Edmonton Oil Kings captain is a two-time WHL and Memorial Cup champion.
News of the final signings was announced during an exclusive ‘Roster Wrap Up’ virtual fan event on Monday evening (30th September). The event, hosted by Giants’ commentator Simon Kitchen, was streamed live on the Belfast Giants YouTube and Facebook channels.
Commenting on the news, Adam Keefe, Head Coach of the Belfast Giants said: “JJ Piccinich gives 100% effort every time he’s on the ice. He plays a 200-foot game and has the ability to produce for us offensively as well. He is a proven winner with a Memorial Cup and an ECHL Kelly Cup on his resume and is a welcome addition to our roster for 2021/22.
“Griffin Reinhart is another important signing and comes to us having played at a very high level of hockey over his pro career. He’s a two-way defenseman who will bring a very calming effect with and without the puck to our back end. He will be counted on in all situations and comes to us with a winning pedigree. Every one of Griffin’s teammates and coaches spoke very highly of him as a player, person & teammate and we look forward to welcoming him to Belfast.”
More about our latest signings…
J.J PICCINICH | #12 | NEW JERSEY, USA
New Jersey native J.J Piccinich has six years’ pro hockey experience in the bag. Having played across the USA, Canada and even the UK, having played for the London Knights between 2015-17, the 25-year-old forward brings a track record of championship success to Belfast.
Speaking of his decision to sign for the Belfast Giants, Piccinich explained: “It was a mutual thing where it felt super positive for both parties. I played in North America for about four years pro, so I kind of got my feet wet in that regard. I think that with the professionalism that you guys (Giants) bring, and with the with the city and the fans, I was just really excited to move forward, as were Adam and Steve. So, I think it was a conversation at first, that just blossomed into something more.”
There’ll be at least one familiar face in the Giants locker room for Piccinich. In 2019-2020, he played alongside another recent Giants signing, Cam Knight for the Tulsa Oilers, as he explains:
“We had a great year in Tulsa,” recalls Piccinich, who was named an ECHL All Star during his tenure with the Oilers in 2019-20. “He’s a great player. So, just to be able to get back on the ice with him and to already have some found chemistry with somebody already is definitely something I’m looking to build off of, and to, continue to build chemistry with all the other guys too.”
As the countdown to the start of the season draws closer, Piccinich says he’s looking forward to getting started: “I’m so excited to meet the fans… I’m definitely looking forward to seeing a filled Arena and just being able to just interact with the fans. Because obviously, when it comes to professional sports, it’s always about the fans. They make it what it is. So, I’m definitely looking to just contribute for them and help the team win games.”
GRIFFIN REINHART | #23 | WEST VANCOUVER, CANADA
Hailing from West Vancouver, Canadian Griffin Reinhart has played pro hockey for the past seven years. The seasoned 6’4” defenseman comes to Belfast with a well-travelled pro hockey career under his belt having played in Canada, USA, Germany and most recently, Beijing, China, with several high-profile championship wins on his resume.
So, what type of player are the Giants getting in Reinhart? “I’m a defenseman, that’s my first job” he says. “So, I like to try to lock things down. And then if I can contribute offensively, it’s usually a bonus. I think last year, I proved I can do it… You know, like being on the PK, I played on the power play last year, too… overall, like just steady, not going to be that flashy, but just gets the job done, I hope.”
Commenting on signing for the Giants he said: “I’ve heard Belfast are always one of the top [teams] in the league… they compete to win it every year. I’m excited for the challenge and hopefully we can have another successful year.”
And his thoughts about that first night on the ice at the SSE Arena, Belfast? “It’ll feel exciting. I think it’s definitely going to take a few skates to get back into skating shape and game shape … but once you’re once you’re back in the game mode, it takes a couple of periods, a couple of games and you’re right back at it.”