The Stena Line Belfast Giants are pleased to announce the signing of US defenceman, Will Cullen for the 2022/23 Premier Sports Elite Ice Hockey League season.
Hailing from Pelham Manor, NY, USA, Cullen is a defenceman who has consistently contributed offensively whether at Junior ‘A’ level, in college or after turning pro.
A CCHL Champion in Junior ‘A’, Cullen progressed to NCAA D1 Bowling Green State, where he would finish his third and final season ranked 14th in the nation for assists and 5th among NCAA defencemen for points-per-game, earning him a nod for WCHA Defensive Player of the Year and selection to the ECHA First All-Star side.
After turning pro, the 26-year-old dressed for the AHL’s Bridgeport Islanders last season, followed by the ECHL’s Worcester Railers and Idaho Steelheads.
Commenting on the latest addition to the Giants roster, head coach Adam Keefe said: “Will Cullen fits the bill of the type of player we want on our side here in Belfast. He competes hard, is defensive first but not afraid to contribute offensively, and is a great teammate. His experience across the NCAA, AHL, and ECHL will enhance not only his game, but our collective game as a team when we take to the ice in August. We look forward to welcoming Will to Belfast, the fans are going to love him.”
Commenting on the announcement, Will Cullen said: “Adam Keefe reached out and told me about the opportunity, and it seemed like a good fit. It seemed like he was the kind of coach who’s going to get the best and the most out of his players. Coop (Mark Cooper) and I went to the same college, so I asked him a lot of questions about the coaching staff, the style of play, what it was like being in another country playing hockey, and he had nothing but good things to say about it. It speaks volumes that he wants to come back to represent Belfast and the local community – that told me everything I need to know.”
Further signing announcements will be made over the coming weeks, as off-season recruitment for the Giants draws to a close.
The first chance to see the new Belfast Giants team in action will be at the Giants’ pre-season home games at The SSE Arena, Belfast on Saturday 20 August (Cardiff Devils) and Saturday 27 August (Dundee Stars). Tickets for the 2022/2023 Premier Sports Elite League, Challenge Cup home, and Champions Hockey League (CHL) home games at The SSE Arena, Belfast are also now on sale via Ticketmaster.
MORE ABOUT OUR LATEST SIGNING
Will Cullen played Junior ‘A’ hockey in Eastern Ontario’s CCHL between 2015 and 2017, appearing for the Ottawa Junior Senators, Nepean Raiders and ultimately the Carleton Place Canadians- where he would clinch the CCHL’s Fred Page Cup whilst scoring 40 points in 40 games, earning him a selection to the CCHL’s Second All-Star team.
Cullen continued to contribute offensively whilst patrolling the blue line for NCAA D1 Bowling Green State University Falcons between 2018 and 2021. He put up 55 points in 96 games across three seasons, including a personal best of 25 points (6 goals, 19 assists) in 28 games in his final year. This tally saw him tied for 14th in the nation for assists and 5th among NCAA defencemen for points-per-game. He finished the season as WCHA Defensive Player of the Year and a WCHA First Team All Star.
After opting to turn pro last season following a short spell at the Miami University of Ohio, Cullen made three appearances with the AHL’s Bridgeport Islanders.
A move to the ECHL’s Worcester Railers was to follow, playing alongside former Belfast Giant Jordan Smotherman (who has since gone on to take head coaching duties in Worcester). Cullen once again contributed points from the blue line, racking up six goals and six assists in 20 games, before a further move to the ECHL’s Idaho Steelheads where he closed out the season.