NEW COVENTRY Blaze signing Matt Marquardt has admitted he’s extremely excited to start his debut Elite League season after putting pen to paper for a one-year-deal.
Matt Marquardt has swapped the east coast life for the Skydome and is expected to add some fire to the Blaze roster after spending last year as captain for the Florida Everblades in the East Coast Hockey League.
The 28-year-old, who stands at 6’3”, joins the Blaze on a one-year-deal and will study for an MBA at Coventry University during his time at the Skydome.
Marquardt, who previously helped the Everblades lift their first Kelly Cup in 2012 – when posting 18 points from as many playoff appearances, including three game-winning goals – also has a proven record off the ice.
In 2013, the forward helped raise a staggering $91,000 by shaving his head to help raise vital funds for childhood cancer research.
He also took part in various other ventures to help benefit school children, low-income families and special Olympic athletes.
Marquardt’s move to Coventry will be his second experience in Europe having started the 2014/15 season in Germany with ESV Kaufbeuren where he clocked 20 points in 37 games before he headed back for his second stint in Florida.
He admitted being offered the chance to study at Coventry University was a big plus when first approached by the Blaze, and he can’t wait to get started.
The left winger said: “The Elite League has come so far in a short period of time, I’ve heard nothing but good things about the organisation and a great fan base – there’s nothing better to hear as a player.
“At this point in my life, education is something I hold in high record – the opportunity to play professionally and further my education is something I’m excited about.”
Head coach Danny Stewart said: “Matt is a big signing for us. I felt we needed a guy of his size and physicality that will produce and play on our top two lines.
“He is a character guy that has produced at both the ECHL and AHL level. He’s a big presence on and off the ice and brings many leadership qualities as would explain him being a captain last season in Florida.
“In this league you need to score goals a lot of different ways and he brings a different element to what we already have. I’m excited at this signing and would like to thank Coventry University as our relationship with them played a huge role in finalising his deal!”
Marquardt’s addition to the Blaze roster came just days after it was announced that Canadian tough guy Garrett Klotz will also line-up at the Skydome next season.
The 27-year-old will arrive in the city on the back of 370 professional games and near 100 fighting majors – including battles against heavyweights including Jon Mirasty, Brett Gallant and Sheffield’s Zack Fitzgerald.
Head coach Stewart added: “Klotz will provide us with presence and further depth in the line-up, he will complete out fourth line.
“He’s a tough character and hard working guy – I felt it was important to add this element of toughness to our squad to prevent any teams coming into our barn and taking liberties on our guys.