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Gladiators Make Three Trades
Wednesday, March 12, 2014

DULUTH, Ga. - The Gwinnett Gladiators on Wednesday announced the acquisition of forward Mike Merrifield, defenseman Eriks Sevcenko, and future considerations from the Florida Everblades in exchange for Evan Bloodoff and Rob Kwiet. In addition, the Gladiators picked up forward Mike Seidel from the Evansville IceMen to complete a previous deal, and defenseman Matt Ridley from the Orlando Solar Bears.

Merrifield, 24, has accrued 30 points (12 g, 18 a) in 54 games with the Everblades this season, his second campaign with the team. As a rookie, he had seven goals and nine assists over 36 games in a Florida sweater, not including a goal and an assist in four playoff appearances. The Beverly Hills, MI native played collegiate hockey at Michigan State, where he set career highs in goals (11) and assists (6) over 31 games his senior year.

Sevcenko (pronounced sev-cheng-ko), 22, has made three stops so far in his rookie season. The Daugavpils, Latvia native played 20 games in Norway, prior to a nine game stint with the now-defunct San Francisco Bulls (1 g, 5 a) and nine games with the Everblades. In 2010-11, he was a part of a gold medal winning Latvian team in the Under-20 World Junior Championship.

Heading back to Florida in the trade is forward Evan Bloodoff, and defenseman Rob Kwiet. Bloodoff (pronounced blued-off), had 17 goals and 12 assists in 55 games with the Gladiators, after appearing in 52 games with the team last season. Kwiet (pronounced QUIT), 25, had 23 points (8 g, 15 a) in 33 games with Gwinnett this season. He came to the Gladiators as part of a five-player trade with the Fort Wayne Komets on December 12th, 2013.

Gladiators Team President Steve Chapman on the trade: "It’s obviously not something that any organization wants to do, but sometimes you have to make a trade in order to build for the future; that is absolutely the case at this time. We are excited about the additions of both Mike Merrifield and Eriks Sevcenko. Merrifield brings us a solid forward with some maturity and scoring potential and Sevcenko is a young defenseman looking to prove his place in pro hockey. Obviously, the future considerations portion of this agreement is the kicker for us in the long run. We hope that those pieces, which we cannot name at this point, will help us build further towards our goal of competing again for championships next season.

The difficult part, obviously, is that to get quality - you have to give up quality. Evan Bloodoff is a player and a person that we think very highly of both on and off of the ice. We are going to miss his speed and his scoring ability on the ice and we are going to miss him in our organization. He is a quality person and we wish nothing but the best for him. Rob Kwiet has certainly been a solid presence for us in his time with us this season as well. Florida will benefit tremendously from his shot and his play-making abilities. We also hope nothing but the best for him.

Our goal at the trade deadline was to continue to put pieces together so that the team can maintain the strides that we have taken in the last month. We have a strong core of character and talent that have not given up on this season and continue to battle each night. This trade provides us the opportunity to continue to compete this season while building for next season."

Seidel (pronounced sy-dell), 25, comes to the Gladiators from Evansville to complete a trade on February 13th between the two sides that sent defenseman Antoine Corbin to the IceMen. Seidel scored 11 goals to go with 17 assists in 57 games with Evansville this season. Prior to that, Seidel spent a season in Sweden after wrapping up a four-year career at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. The Darien, IL native racked up 88 points (47 g, 41 a) in 150 NCAA games, with 24 of those goals coming in his last two years as a Bulldog. Seidel also won an NCAA Championship in 2010-11.

Ridley, 23, was picked up from the Solar Bears in exchange for cash. The third-year defenseman out of Kelowna, British Columbia did not register a point in two games for Orlando, but did have 16 points (6 g, 10 a) in 42 games for the Fayetteville FireAntz of the Southern Professional Hockey League this season. Ridley also had three points (1 g, 2 a) in six games with the Mississippi Surge of the SPHL during the 2013-14 campaign, and has appeared in 118 total SPHL games.

The ECHL Trade Deadline is Thursday, March 13th, at 3 p.m. EST.

The Gladiators are members of the ECHL, the nation’s premier "AA" hockey league and are affiliated with the Phoenix Coyotes of the NHL. All home games are played at the 11,355-seat Arena at Gwinnett Center, located just off I-85 on Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth.

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