You have to respect the players of the EIHL. Most of them are good guys, who are approachable for the fans and media alike. I have been fortunate to interview some of these great characters, and there’s none better than Adam Keefe.
The guy is the heart and soul of the Belfast Giants, who hits, fights, blocks shots, and chips in timely goals. In a phrase, he’s a ‘coach’s dream.’ I caught up with Adam recently, enjoy our 1-on-1 chat here:
Murph On Ice – Thanks for taking some time to join me on the website here Keefer.
Adam Keefe – No problem Murph, anytime.
MOI – The past few seasons in Belfast have been very successful for you and the club. What have you been doing training wise this summer to get ready for a big year for the Giants, with new players and a new coach?
AK – Belfast takes pride in being a competitive team for every championship available, that is one of the reasons I came to Belfast. We have been fortunate these last two seasons to have a team that was a contender for all trophies and we look to continue that this season. On a personal level this summer I have spent it like any other summer, getting back into top form for the end of August. I do most of my off season training on my own in a local gym and getting on the ice anytime I can. In today’s game everyone must train hard in the off-season or the game will pass you by very quickly.
MOI – With Coach Adey coming in to take over behind the bench, what expectations do you have for yourself and for the entire club going forward?
AK – I think everyone is excited and ready to get the ball rolling in this new Giants era with Paul Adey taking over as new bench boss. I expect everyone will have something to prove all over again as Paul has not seen many of us play I’m sure. So, I expect everyone will show up to training camp in top shape and ready to battle for titles.
MOI – Losing players, and new guys coming in is part of the business in the EIHL. Losing Craig Peacock will be tough, but who are some of the new Belfast players you’re looking forward to working with and why?
AK – I think for the most part we are used to the big turnover of players from year to year, but anytime you lose one of the top British forwards in the game in Craig Peacock, it’s a big blow to the teams depth. I think Todd Kelman and Paul have done a great job recruiting some quality guys to replace the guys we have lost from last season. I believe we still have three import forwards to sign before the season gets on its way and I have total confidence that we will get the right guys for the job. I’m excited to work with all the new guys next year but I can’t say they would be excited to play with me unless they like to chase down high flips and handle passes in their feet!
MOI – There’s been a lot of interesting signings across the league, which team do you feel has improved the most this off-season and why?
AK – I have followed through twitter a bit on who other teams have signed and what kind of teams are being built, I have been impressed with Coventry and Cardiff’s signings so far and I think they will be a force to reckon with next season. As always I’m sure Nottingham and Sheffield will be among the top teams and I’m very interested to see if the Scottish teams and Hull can pick up where they left off last season. I felt near the end of the season any team could beat any team on any night and that’s the competitive league we are all looking for.
MOI – Nottingham are coming off a fantastic year, do you think that they are still the main competition standing in the Giants way for a league title?
AK – Nottingham is always in the way of a title championship, but I think this season there will be a lot more teams in it until the end. Should be an exciting season.
MOI – You had a good working relationship with Doug Christiansen during his time in Belfast. Will it be weird to see him behind the Steelers bench, and will those Sheffield matches be extra special games on the calendar for you?
AK – It will be weird to see Doug on the Steelers bench for sure, but hockey is a business and sometimes these things happen. I know Doug will have Sheffield ready to play every night regardless if it’s against us or any other team. I expect the games with Sheffield to have a little added excitement to them, but like the last two seasons we will have to get through them to get to a title.
MOI – Belfast fans are some of the best in the league, was the city and the fan-base a big reason why you decided to come back for another season in Northern Ireland?
AK – I love Belfast as a city and as an organization, the city and the fans bleed passion and there isn’t a better feeling then stepping onto the Odyssey ice every weekend in front of those fans. That’s why I decided to come back to Belfast.
MOI – Your brand of tough hockey is well respected by all associated with the EIHL, who are some of the guys that you are looking forward to battling against this season and why?
AK – The league seems to have gotten a little bit tougher again this season already, I’m not looking forward to battling anyone in particular, but am looking forward to battling them all night in and night out. I’m sure my trips to Cardiff and Coventry will be entertaining as always.
MOI – And finally, change can be good, and there’s been plenty in Belfast. Are you as excited this season to get back to business at the Odyssey as you have been in the past and why?
AK – I’m really excited to get back to Belfast and get back to work, the sting from losing last season is still there. I think all the returning players are coming back with that same feeling and we know the new players will be coming with one thing in mind, and that’s winning championships.
MOI – Thanks again for coming on to talk hockey Keefer, see you in September.
AK – No problem Murph, enjoy the rest of your summer.
The 2013/14 Elite League season kicks off on Saturday September 7th! You can check out Adam and the Giants, and all the teams in action from then, as they chase the League Title, and a spot in the EIHL Playoff Final Weekend.
You can follow Murph on Twitter here: @MurphOnIce