PHN Interview with Belfast Giants’ Craig Peacock
Belfast and Great Britain forward Craig Peacock was kind enough to spare some time from his busy schedule to let me interview him for Pro Hockey News recently. This interview first appeared on Pro Hockey News.com in May 2011
“I’ve Always Wanted to Play at the Highest Level I Possibly Can”
BELFAST,UK– As a fresh faced 16-year old for the Peterborough Phantoms, Craig Peacock scored his first goal on his first shift in the English Premier League – and he hasn’t looked back since.
A prolific scorer throughout junior hockey, he is now establishing himself as one of the top British players in the Elite League following two successful seasons with the Belfast Giants, scoring 26 goals last year as the Northern Irish club narrowly missed out on the league crown.
Originally a product of thePeterborough junior development system, Peacock opted to finish his junior hockey days outside of theUKand took the opportunity to head overseas in 2005, joining the Florida Junior Everblades.
“Moving over to North America had a big impact on my career. It gave me the chance to be on the ice every single day, which is something I wouldn’t have been able to do in theUK,” explained Peacock.
“InFlorida, I played for Terry Christensen. He’s coached with theUSunder-20 team and won a national championship as an assistant coach with a Division 1 college. It was a great learning curve for me and he brought my game on a lot, something I don’t think would have happened had I stayed in theUKas I probably would have ended up sitting on the bench for Phantoms getting the odd shift.”
The move to North America certainly seemed to pay dividends for the young star, and a season inCanadafollowed.
“I spent the next season inCanadaand again I was getting the chance to be on the ice all the time. Moving away at a young age like that taught me a lot; it matured me as a player and as a person and it’s helped me to get to where I am today.”
Following his two year stint playing in North America, Peacock returned to theUKin the summer of 2007 and once again suited up for his home town Phantoms. A return of 16 goals and 35 points in just 35 games during his first year was quickly followed up with a remarkable 53 goals and 94 points the following season, as Phantoms went on to win a historic Premier League treble.
A move to Belfast followed in 2009 and the young forward has gone on to become an increasingly integral part of the Giants line up since stepping up to the Elite League.
“I’ve lived with Colin Shields for the past couple of years and he’s had a big influence on my transition from the EPL to the Elite League,” Peacock said. “I’ve always wanted to play at the highest level I possible can and I’ve been lucky enough to have two good seasons in Belfast, where I’ve been surrounded by some really good and experienced players.”
With former house mate Shields opting to move on, joining French outfit Morzine-Avoriaz for next season, Peacock has not ruled out the idea of heading abroad himself one day.
“I’d like to think that if I can have a couple more good seasons inBelfastthat I could try my luck at the next level, wherever that may be.”
Despite his ambitions, Giants fans need not worry about losing one of their stars just yet. “For now I am happy inBelfastand looking forward to trying to help the Giants to some silverware next season!”
Peacock’s performances forBelfasthave also seen him come in to contention for the national team, and after a strong season in the Elite League many were shocked at his omission from the final World Championships squad this year.
“It was disappointing not to be selected. I was honoured to make the squad for the games against theNetherlandsbut didn’t make the final cut this time around. It was a shame, especially after making my debut forGreat Britainlast year.”
“If anything it has made me more determined now to make sure I can do everything, to make sure I can be a part of the team next year and the seasons following that. Anytime you get to play for your country, it’s special. Hopefully, as I am still young, I’ve got some years ahead of me where I will get to do just that.”
Despite personal disappointment, Peacock was quick to praise the team after their success in Kyiv this year, “I was really pleased for the lads. They did amazingly well in theUkraineand I think that shows that the national team is going in the right direction. They were only 10 minutes way from a gold medal!”
Along with many others, Peacock feels this year’s success is a sign of a brighter future for the British national side.
“I think that the potential is there now forGreat Britainto make it up to the top group and be playing against the best in the world.”
“That’s something I’d definitely want to be a part of”