The Stena Line Belfast Giants are pleased to announce the return of goalies, Jackson Whistle and Andrew Dickson. Joining Tyler Beskorowany, the duo completes the Giants’ netminding roster.
Jackson Whistle returns for his third season at the Belfast Giants, following a three-season break, having played one season in Sheffield and two in Nottingham. 26-year-old Whistle first joined the Giants in 2016 from the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League and was part of the 2018 Challenge Cup winning Belfast Giants squad in 2018.
Andrew Dickson returns for his 10th season in 2021-22. The 33-year-old Ballymoney player has called his local club home since 2011 and over the last decade has become a firm fixture on the Belfast Giants’ roster. Universally loved on and off the ice by players and fans alike, he has helped the Giants secure three League and two Challenge Cup titles.
The announcement follows the news earlier today that stalwart Scottish netminder, Stephen Murphy is retiring.
Commenting on the announcement, Head Coach, Adam Keefe said: “We are excited to welcome Jackson Whistle back to Belfast for his third season and to have Andrew Dickson back with the Giants for his tenth season, completing our roster of goalies.
“The retirement of Stephen Murphy was always going to be a big change for the Giants; he has been the backbone of the club since 2009. In reconfiguring our roster, we have worked hard to recruit and retain the talent we need to backstop the Giants to victory again this season.”
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JACKSON WHISTLE | #1 | KELLOWNA, BC, CANADA
Jackson Whistle first joined the Belfast Giants in 2016, playing two seasons in teal and helping to secure the 2018 Challenge Cup title. He returns for his third season after one season in Sheffield and two in Nottingham. Back where he belongs, being a Giant is in his blood – his dad, David Whistle was the first ever Head Coach of the Giants, bringing a league title and a playoff championship to Belfast in 2002 and 2003 respectively.
Commenting on his return to Belfast, he said: “I feel great about coming back. I’m really excited. Obviously, we have the family history here; my parents, my mom and dad love it. For me, Belfast is a home away from home. I’m really excited to come back and play as hard as I can for the fans. We had success here when I was here; it was a lot of fun and I loved playing with the guys, going to the rink every day.
“I just love it here; I love the city, love the fan base – they’re so passionate. In Belfast you have this great community feel between the city, the fans, the organisation – I really love that and that’s what drew me back. I’m excited to be part of that again and build on what we did previously.
“I can’t wait to come out of the big Giant head, with fans back in the building; it’s going to be an unreal feeling being back on the ice and working as hard as I can.
“I’m really excited to getting back on the ice, competing and working as hard as I can; battling for minutes, battling for starts and doing the best job I can when I’m in the net for the fanbase. I look forward to seeing everybody.”
ANDREW DICKSON | #35 | BALLYMONEY, NORTHERN IRELAND
Ballymoney boy Andrew Dickson returns in teal for his 10th season. The 33-year-old helped the Giants win Elite League titles in 2011/12, 2013/14 and 2018/19 and the Challenge Cup in 2018 and 2019. The only local player currently on the roster, he says it continues to be an honour to play for the Belfast Giants.
Commenting on his signing he said: “I’ve been here for a lot of big moments and of course, before that, I was going watching the games in the Arena. I’m a local player and there aren’t many of us, so I feel really privileged to be part of the organisation and be there for those moments and those championships. I’ve been with the Giants longer than I was in high school, longer than any job I’ve been in, longer than any relationship actually – it’s a big part of my life and I’m very proud to be staying on.
“Like a lot of people, I’ve had ice hockey taken away from me over the last year; I’ve grown to appreciate it a lot more – you can get spoiled, not that I’ve ever taken it for granted. I am the only local player at the minute, hopefully that changes in the near future but every time I pull on the jersey, I feel like I am representing Belfast and my local community. Even if you weren’t from Belfast, Belfast is an upper echelon team. We’re always up there fighting for trophies and fighting for honours. It’s a very prestigious organisation and we’ve even tasted success in Europe in the last couple of seasons and shown we can compete.
“I know my position in the team. I know the other goalies, Besko and Whistle will be playing for a 1A and 1B and I’m there in a supporting role… At this stage in my life, I don’t want to leave, and I hopefully they don’t want me to leave any time soon.
“I can’t wait to get back. Whenever you go out into The SSE Arena and you look out at the rows and rows of seats and the banners behind us from all those championships, and you think back on some of those big moments that have happened, and you’re in the same net as some of the greats that have come before you; it’s very exciting and very privileged. Once the fans are there, it’s a totally different ball game; they’re loud, they’re a proud fanbase, they know their hockey. It’s going to be something special. Even if I’m not playing that first game, I’ll be there and I’ll be buzzing all the same to have hockey back in Belfast because it is a huge part of Belfast now.”