Gladiators ink rookie blueliner

DULUTH - The Gwinnett Gladiators added another defenseman to their roster, but Sam Roberts is the first rookie to be signed for the 2009-10 season.

Roberts played under former Gladiator Brad Peddle at St. Francis Xavier University in Canada the last four seasons. Last season with St. Francis Xavier, Roberts collected three goals and 14 assists for 17 points. He finished with a +7 plus/minus rating and brought his career point total up to 70.

A leader for St. Francis Xavier, Roberts helped the X-Men capture the Atlantic University Sport Conference championship in 2006-07 and earn a berth in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport championship in Moncton, New Brunswick.

"He's just a well-rounded player," Gladiators' head coach Jeff Pyle said. "He can play in every situation and in the ECHL, you have to have that.

"He's a good kid that really worked the process well with making decisions (during the summer recruiting period)."

The 5-foot-11, 183-pound defenseman also played three seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League prior to attending St. Francis Xavier University.

He spent 2003-04 and 2004-05 with the Gatineau Olympiques where he collected 83 points in 140 games over two seasons. He also skated in 42 games with the now-defunct Hull Olympiques during the 2002-03 season.

"He put up good numbers coming out of the Q," Pyle said. "Then he ended up going on to college.

"Brad Peddle said he's a great leader and can play in any situation."

Gwinnett's roster is now at seven. Roberts joins fellow blueliners Chris Zarb, Aaron Brocklehurst and Mike Looby. Goaltender Josh Johnson was the first player signed more than a month ago.

The Gladiators have two forwards inked so far, Matt Auffrey and Tom Zanoski.

Offseason signings will continue throughout the summer with ECHL training camp not beginning until early October.

The Gladiators open their seventh 72-game season on Oct. 17 against Wheeling at the Arena at Gwinnett Center.

Season ticket packages for the 2009-10 season are on sale now. In addition, the Gladiators offer several unique multi-game ticket packages as well as discounted group rates, suite rentals and birthday parties.

For more information call 770-497-5100 or log on to www.gwinnettgladiators.com.