Utah Grizzlies: Grizzlies sign three forwards

By Adrian Denny

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, Sept. 12 2013 4:36 p.m. MDT

Minnesota goalie Kent Patterson (35) blocks a shot by Nebraska-Omaha's Brent Gwidt (25) in the first period of a college hockey game in Omaha, Neb., Friday, Feb. 24, 2012.

Nati Harnik, AP

West Valley City – Utah Grizzlies head coach and General Manager Tim Branham announced Thursday that the team has agreed to terms with forwards Jamie MacQueen, Brent Gwidt and Brance Orban for the 2013-2014 season.

MacQueen, 25, comes to Utah after spending last year in the Colorado Avalanche organization where he split time between the AHL’s Lake Erie Monsters and the CHL’s Denver Cutthroats. The 6-foot-1 Ontario native had seven goals and eight assists for 15 points in 33 games with Denver, and three goals and two assists for five points in 27 games with the Monsters. He played five games with Lake Erie in 2011-2012 after finishing four years of college hockey at Bemidji State University.

"Jamie has good speed, a hard shot and is a big body,” Branham said. “He’ll be a great addition here, earned some solid AHL experience and will be a big asset in the community too.”

Gwidt, 25, returns for his first full year in Utah after playing in five regular season games and three playoff games with the Grizzlies last season after completing college at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. His first pro goal came in the Grizzlies regular season finale as he tied the game at 3 in the third period against Colorado on March 30. Utah won that game 4-3 in a shootout. The Wisconsin native was drafted in the sixth round by Washington in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.

“Brent had a good audition here in Utah last year on a tryout following college,” Branham said. “He plays a solid two-way game and has a big body presence.”

Orban, 25, joins Utah after four years of college hockey at Bemidji State University where he was a teammate of MacQueen for three seasons. He had nine goals and 14 assists for 23 points in 36 games last year during his senior season. During his junior season in 2011-2012, the Lethbridge, Alberta, native had nine goals and 13 assists for 22 points in 37 games. While at Bemidgi State, Orban was named to the Academic All-WCHA Team during his sophomore, junior and senior seasons.

“Orban has a knack for finding scoring areas and he is smart defensively,” Branham said. “His style of play will translate well to the pro game and we look forward to having him here in Utah.”

The Grizzlies enter their ninth season in the ECHL and their 19th year in Utah in 2013-2014 after previously competing in the IHL and AHL from 1995-2005. They play at Maverik Center in West Valley City, which hosted Olympic Ice Hockey during the 2002 Winter Olympics. During their history, the Grizzlies have advanced over 200 players to the NHL. The Grizzlies are owned and operated by the Elmore Sports Group, which also owns several minor league baseball teams across the western United States.

The Grizzlies open the regular season Friday, Oct. 18, against Idaho at Maverik Center at 7:05 p.m.

Ticket packages for the 2013-2014 season are on sale now and start at just $29. For more information, visit the Grizzlies website or call (801) 988-7825.