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Steelheads Extend Qualifying Offers To Seven Players

Monday, June 30th
Steelheads Extend Qualifying Offers To Seven Players

The Idaho Steelheads, ECHL affiliate of the NHL?s Dallas Stars, announced today the club has extended qualifying offers to seven (7) players for the upcoming 2008-2009 season. Goaltender Kellen Briggs, defenseman Craig Cescon and forwards Taggart Desmet, Greg Rallo, Mike Sullivan, Brent Shepheard and Mark Bomersback all received qualifying offers from Steelheads? Head Coach Derek Laxdal. Each ECHL team was entitled to reserve Rights to a maximum of eight (8) Qualified Players. Of these eight (8) Qualified Players, no more than four (4) of the Qualified Players shall be Veterans (260 regular season professional hockey games played as of the start of the upcoming 2008-09 season). On the announcement, Laxdal said: ?We sent in our qualifying offers to potential returning players who are either signed in the AHL or abroad (Europe), while some of the offers were sent to players who we know will return next year.?Briggs, a Colorado Springs, CO native went 17-11-2 in his rookie season last year, while receiving two AHL call-ups. Cescon, the Steelheads? lone blue-liner from last season that received a qualifying offer, racked up 149 penalty minutes in addition to his six points (3g, 3a). Of the five forwards that received offers, Desmet has already agreed to compete overseas for the 2008-2009 season and Rallo has signed with the AHL?s Manitoba Moose. However, if either Desmet or Rallo return to the ECHL at some point next season, the Steelheads would hold their playing rights. The other three forwards to receive qualifying offers were all rookies in 2007-2008. Sullivan posted 13 goals and nine assists in 64 contests, while Shepheard had three points in nine games before his rookie season came to an end with a dislocated kneecap in late November. Bomersback, who signed an AHL contract with the Steelheads? former affiliate in Iowa last February, racked up 39 points in 35 games during the regular season in Idaho and two points in four playoff games.The ECHL will send out the list of players who have received qualifying offers from their respective teams on Thursday, July 3. Other details about ECHL qualifying offers are as follows:? Players will have until August 1 to accept a qualifying offer? Players on open Qualifying Offers can not be traded? Teams were not required to protect players who signed a Standard Players Contract prior to July 1.? Teams are not allowed to sign more than 24 players to contracts during the summer.? Players that were not signed by July 1 or extended a qualifying offer by July 1 become unrestricted free agents.? A Member extending a valid Qualifying Offer to a Veteran retains the Rights to that Veteran until August 1. After August 1, if the Veteran is not signed to a Standard Player Contract by the Member, the Veteran shall be deemed a Restricted Free Agent and shall be entitled to seek and secure offers of employment from other Members. Restricted Free Agents may not be traded.? When a Restricted Free Agent receives an offer to sign a Standard Player Contract from an Offering Member other than the Member with Rights and the Restricted Free Agent desires to accept the Offer, the Restricted Free Agent and the Offering Member must, within 24 hours, deliver a completed Offer Sheet to the Member with Rights, the League Office and the PHPA. The Member with Rights shall then have seven (7) days after the date it receives the Offer Sheet to exercise its Right to Match. The Right to Match shall expire seven (7) days from the date the Offer Sheet was received but not counting the day of receipt.? If a Restricted Free Agent is not signed to either an Offer Sheet or a Standard Player Contract by a Member by August 31, he shall be deemed an Unrestricted Free Agent.The Steelheads sixth ECHL campaign and 12th overall begins at home on Saturday, October 18 versus the Utah Grizzlies. Ticket packages, including a NEW premier level flex plan are on sale now by calling 383-0080 or by visiting www.idahosteelheads.com.About the ECHL:Began in 1988-89 with five teams playing in four states, the Premier ?AA? Hockey League has grown into a coast-to-coast league that will have 24 teams in 16 states and British Columbia playing 864 games from Oct. 17, 2008 to Apr. 4, 2009. Nineteen of the 24 teams have played at least five years in their current city.The third-longest tenured professional hockey league behind only the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League, the ECHL averaged 4,174 per game last season, marking the fourth year in row and the 16th time in the last 18 years that the league has averaged over 4,000 fans. The league has drawn over four million fans each of the last five years and 11 times in the past 12 seasons.

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