The Belfast Giants of Great Britain’s Elite Ice Hockey League have signed a legend. Ontario Hockey League grad Brad Smyth has finally found a home for the 2010-11 season and it’s on the Emerald Isle.
Brad Smyth played in the Ontario Hockey League for three seasons from 1990-91 to 1992-93, all with the London Knights. It was in his final season with the Knights that Smyth exploded and became the offensive force that he continues to be 18 seasons later. His 54 goals were tops on the Knights and his 109 points were second only to Jason Allison.
Undrafted, Brad managed an 88 game NHL career with the Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers, Nashville Predators and Ottawa 67’s. He spent most of his time during his career in North America in the AHL, however.
In just his second season in the AHL, with the Carolina Monarchs, he won the Willie Marshall Award for most goals, the Sollenberger Trophy for most points and the Les Cunningham Award as Most Valuable Player. His 68 goals that season stand as the second highest single season tally in AHL history and just two goals behind Stephane LeBeau’s record performance during the 1988-89 season.
Brad won the Willie Marshall Award again in 2000-01 with the Hartford Wolf Pack, scoring 50 goals. That season he finished fifth overall in total points and helped the Wolf Pack to a Calder Cup victory with a four games to two victory over Rochester. The previous season he finished seventh in league scoring and the following season he finished fourth. In his final season in the AHL, he was the Manchester Monarchs leader in both goals and points.
Smyth finds his name written in more than one location in the AHL record book. The captain of four different AHL teams is tied as the player with the most times as league leading goal scorer at twice. His two 50+ goal seasons ties him with one other for the most. He is also tied for the most powerplay goals in one season with 27 in 1995-96.
Brad first tested the European market in 2003-04 while playing for Kärpät of Finland’s SM-Liiga. That season, Kärpät won the SM-Liiga championship.
In 2006-07, Smyth returned to Europe, this time with the Hamburg Freezers of Germany’s Deutsche Eishockey Liga. In his first season with Hamburg, his 59 points in 52 games tied him for the team lead. He spent the following two seasons with the Freezers.
This past season, 2009-10, Brad crossed the border into Austria to play in the Erste Bank Eishockey Liga. Actually, he played in Croatia for Medvescak Zagreb, a Croatian team that plays in the Austrian elite league. With Zagreb, Smyth was close to producing at a point per game level.
Smyth brings with him to Belfast a strong touch of class, credibility and skill. The team has already jumped out to an early lead in the EIHL standings and adding Brad will seriously increase the chances of an EIHL title.