DULUTH, Ga. – The Atlanta Gladiators announced Thursday that they have signed forwards Nolan LaPorte and Tyler Deresky to standard professional contracts.
“Nolan will bring a high-impact game and is an exciting add to our roster,” said Head Coach and General Manager of Hockey Operations Jeff Pyle. “Penalty killing, scoring, physicality, toughness, irritating the opponent and playing well in both ends of the ice, this kid can literally do everything.”
LaPorte, 26, posted 11 points (4g, 7a) in 22 games for the Florida Everblades last season before an injury ended his year. During his rookie season with the Quad City Mallards, the Chicago, IL native registered 44 points (14g, 30a) and a plus-26 rating in 65 games. The third-year pro also added two assists in four playoff contests for the Mallards and skated in one American Hockey League game for the Iowa Wild. In four full seasons at Western Michigan University, the 5-foot-11, 185-pound forward notched 70 points (33g, 37a) in 133 career NCAA games.
“I want a team that’s hard to play against but still plays with tempo, and Nolan fits perfectly in the system I want to play,” said Pyle. “If he comes in and plays his game while not being timid coming off an injury, he will be an impact player for us. He has had two good seasons so far as a pro, but I think I can get even more out of him and take his game to a whole new level.”
“No joke, Deresky is one of the best skaters I’ve ever seen,” said Pyle. “He has Ryan Garbutt like speed and reminds me of lot of Garbs. Garbett was a kid who started out as an unknown in the lower-level pro leagues but climbed his way up the ladder quickly. I would not be surprised if Deresky does the same thing. He is a diamond in the rough and expect him to make a name for himself this season.”
Deresky, 25, registered 11 points (5g, 6a) in 29 games for the ECHL’s Rapid City Rush. The Flemington, NJ native began his rookie campaign in the SPHL for Jeff Pyle’s Evansville Thunderbolts and earned 14 points (8g, 6a) in 18 games played. Over the course of four seasons at the NCAA’s Bentley University, the 6-foot, 205-pound forward amassed 34 points (14g, 20a) in 131 games played.
“He is just so dynamic when he skates and gives himself so many opportunities that if he is consistent in finishing them, will be burring a lot of pucks this year,” said Pyle. “He is a quite leader in the locker room and does everything he is asked. He is a breath of fresh air to have on a team, and I’m looking forward to having another chance to work with him.”
The 16th season of Atlanta Gladiators hockey begins at the Infinite Energy Arena on Friday, October 19th against the Greenville Swamp Rabbits at 7:35 PM. For ticket information, visit the official team website at www.atlantagladiators.com or call the main office line at 770-497-5100.
The Gladiators are members of the ECHL, the nation’s premier "AA" hockey league. All home games are played at the 10,867-seat Infinite Energy Arena, located just off I-85 on Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth – where parking is always free. The Gladiators have established an unrivaled commitment to excellence, maintaining a distinctive reputation for affordable and family-friendly sports entertainment and consistently ranked as one of the top “Things To Do” in the Atlanta area and across the North Georgia region.For all the latest team news, contests, and more visit AtlantaGladiators.com, or “like” the Gladiators on Facebook (www.facebook.com/AtlantaGladiators), follow the team on Twitter (www.twitter.com/ATLGladiators), Instagram (www.instagram.com/atlgladiators) or Snapchat (www.snapchat.com) at "gladshockey".