Jim Gillespie Inducted To Hall Of Fame
Jim Gillespie, former owner of the Belfast Giants, is to be inducted into the British Ice Hockey Hall of Fame for his service to the sport of ice hockey in Northern Ireland.
Jim originally became involved with the Giants in 2003 and from there took over the ownership commitment for the next 10 years. Gillespie saved the Giants from collapse at the end of the Superleague era in 2003 and steered the Giants throughout the first decade in the Elite League instilling an ethos of community involvement and support as the keys to long term survival of the franchise.
His involvement was much more than a financial one, ensuring that the Giants led the way in designing and implementing programmes for the children of Northern Ireland, using ice hockey as a catalyst to work with kids and youths that otherwise would not have had the opportunity to participate or experience ice hockey in Belfast.
During his ten years of involvement, the Giants won 2 League Titles, 2 Playoff Championships, 1 Knock Out Cup and 1 Challenge Cup.
Long time General Manager and former player Todd Kelman spoke about the legacy of Jim Gillespie.
â€œSimply put, there would not be a Belfast Giants if it was not for Jim Gillespie. He is the reason this team exists today.”
â€œThe Giants are something that Northern Ireland and Belfast need and Jim always recognised that we were much more than a professional sports team here in Belfast. He understood and made sure that we all understood that we were much more important off the ice to the people of Northern Ireland than we were on the ice.”
â€œJimâ€™s commitment to the Giants was always done for the right reasons, even when the financial burden was heavy, he ensured we survived because he saw the bigger picture and what the Giants meant to the people of Northern Ireland. The cross community appeal the Giants have in Belfast was central to why he got involved and stayed involved.â€
â€œAs an organisation, we are extremely grateful to the selection committee for electing Jim to the British Ice Hockey Hall of Fame. He deserves it, and a lot of people outside of Northern Ireland or not directly involved in the sport might not understand his full impact on our team or this game, but those that know the story will see this is an honourable move for a first class human being.â€
Kelman also acknowledged the work of two long time fans who nominated Jim and worked diligently with the selection committee to ensure this happened this season.
“On behalf of the Giants Organisation, I would like to thank Davy McGimpsey and Patrick Smyth for their work behind the scenes to make this happen. It is a testament to the legacy Jim has left when two people that have supported the Giants for so many years took it upon themselves to pursue this honour for him because they believed he deserved this great honour. I know Jim will be very surprised and hugely honoured to be part of the British Ice Hockey Hall of Fame.”
If you want to send a personal note of congratulation or thanks to Jim, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with Jim G in the subject line and we will print out all the messages and send them to Jim