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Gladiators ink pair of forwards
Old connection pays off as Gwinnett signs MacRae, Walsh

Brad Peddle only played 11 games for the Gwinnett Gladiators, but his connection with head coach Jeff Pyle has brought the team some new blood.

Peddle is now a head coach himself - at his alma mater, St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia - and two of his former players have been signed by the Gladiators for the 2007-08 season.

Gwinnett announced the addition of forwards Ryan Walsh and Stuart MacRae on Tuesday.

Both have been under the recent tutelage of Peddle, who twice played for Pyle - first with the Mobile Mysticks in 2000-01 and again in the Gladiators' inaugural 2003-04 season. Peddle retired from playing after that season and has been the head coach at St. Francis Xavier since 2005.

MacRae is a rookie, but played six games for Fresno in last spring's ECHL postseason, collecting two goals and two assists in the process.

The recently turned 25-year-old was at St. Francis Xavier for the past four years and finished with two strong seasons. After putting up 16 and 21 points, respectively, in his first two years, MacRae went on a tear in 2005-06 with 41 points in 28 games. He followed that with a team-leading 35 points in 25 games regular season games and 15 points in eight playoff games as a senior.

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound playmaking center won a national title with St. Francis Xavier in 2004 and in January helped Canada skate to gold at the World University Games in Turin, Italy.

"He'll be a good power-play guy," Pyle said. "He's got pretty good size and is just a solid two-way guy. I think he'll put up decent numbers."

Walsh returns to North America after spending last year playing in Germany, with former Gladiator Steve Slaton in Kaufbeuren. The 27-year-old had 29 points in 45 games there.

Walsh (6-0, 185 pounds) accumulated 95 points in 119 regular-season games during his college career and was also part of the X-Men team that won the Canadian championship in 2004.

During his final season at St. Francis in 2005-06, Walsh ranked second in scoring behind MacRae with 19 goals and 13 assists in 27 games. He was also captain of that team.

"He's a guy that played with MacRae (in college) and went over in Europe last year," Pyle said. "He's supposed to be just a gritty, solid two-way guy. A character guy, but hard working."

MacRae and Walsh join fellow forwards Mike Vigilante and Derek Nesbitt on the Gladiators' roster. Also already inked for Gwinnett's fifth anniversary season - which begins on Oct. 19 in Pensacola - are defensemen Dinos Stamoulis, Jon Sitko and Jamie Milam.