7 Gladiators get qualifying offers

DULUTH - Qualifying offers were extended by ECHL teams Wednesday and the Gwinnett Gladiators used seven of the eight allowed by the league.

The Gladiators qualified Jeff Mason, Brandon Kaleniecki, Phil Youngclaus, Josh Engel, Jordan Fox, Travis Fuller and Pat Bateman.

Bateman has already signed to play for Belfast in the Elite League. But should he return to the U.S., Gwinnett head coach Jeff Pyle wanted to retain his rights.

Gwinnett was permitted to qualify any of the 17 players included on its season-ending roster released on June 16. By qualifying these players, the Gladiators now own the ECHL rights to them for the entire 2009-10 season.

Players will have until Aug. 1 to accept a qualifying offer. Players on open qualifying offers cannot be traded. Teams were not required to protect players who signed a standard players contract prior to July 1.