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Gladiators sign pair of young forwards

Photo by Brandon Brigman

Photo by Brandon Brigman

With less than a week until training camp starts, the Gwinnett Gladiators added two more players to the roster Monday.

Forwards Chris Clackson and Shawn Skelly have been signed for the 2011-12 season, which begins with the first on-ice training session Saturday at the IceForum in Duluth.

Clackson had 24 points (10 goals, 14 assists) in 46 games last season as a rookie with Greenville and Cincinnati in the ECHL. He also earned four points (two goals, two assists) in 17 games in the American Hockey League with the Rochester Americans.

It was during Clackson's time with Cincinnati that Gladiators head coach John Wroblewski, then an assistant with Wheeling, first became familiar with the 6-foot, 205-pounder.

"He's what I like to refer to as an elemental player," Wroblewski said. "He brings something special to the team, which is not a common thing that everyone can do. He plays a rugged style, but it's combined with very good skating and a good skill set. His defining quality is his physicality."

The Pittsburgh native really drew Wroblewski's attention during last year's playoffs when Wheeling met Greenville, where Clackson was traded at the deadline.

"He was extremely effective," Wroblewski said. "When he was taken out of the lineup later in the series, it gave us an opportunity to play differently. It really opened up the door for us (in a series the Nailers went on to win). He really set the table as a physical player."

Clackson appeared in two games but did not register a point with the Adirondack Phantoms of the AHL after he completed his senior year at Western Michigan University in 2009-10. He had 36 points (19 goals, 17 assists) in 129 career collegiate games at Western Michigan. Clackson also had 169 career penalty minutes while with the Broncos.

Skelly racked up 230 points (102 goals, 128 assists) in 114 career NCAA Division III games at Adrian College.

Wroblewski got to see Skelly play in college a number of times.

"When I was with the national team, we played against his Adrian and every time we played, he was on the scoresheet and always all over pucks," Wroblewski said.

The Walled Lake, Mich., native completed his collegiate career as the Adrian College all-time leader in assists (128), power play goals (47), shots on goal (593) and game-winning goals (20). Skelly also helped Adrian College to two appearances in the NCAA Division III tournament including a runner-up finish last season.

Wroblewski said Skelly made significant strides throughout college.

"As his career played out, he really started to impress people with the way he played in all three zones," Wroblewski said. "He had great stats in Division III and I think he's set himself up for a very promising rookie season."