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The Gwinnett Gladiators announced today that they have traded forward Dirk Southern to the Victoria Salmon Kings for defenseman Aaron Brocklehurst.

Brocklehurst joins the Gladiators after splitting time during his rookie season last year between the Victoria Salmon Kings and the Florida Everblades. Brocklehurst appeared in 37 games with the Everblades notching 4 goals and 16 assists for 20 points while he had 2 goals and 7 assists for 9 points in 23 games with Victoria. He also collected 5 points in 9 Kelly Cup Playoff games with the Salmon Kings last year.

The Nanaimo, British Columbia native was also called up to the Lake Erie Monsters of the American Hockey League last year. He skated in four games while on recall to the AHL in January but did not register a point.

The 5-foot-10, 194 pound defenseman played four seasons at St. Cloud State where he posted 18 goals and 58 assists for 76 points in his collegiate career. He also had 119 penalty minutes during his four year collegiate career.

Southern had a career year with the Gladiators last season notching 46 points off of 14 goals and 32 assists while also appearing in 17 games in the American Hockey League with the Manitoba Moose. He had 3 goals and 1 assist for 4 points in the AHL. Southern appeared in just 23 games due to injury during his second professional season in 2007-08 with the Gladiators. The Winnipeg, Manitoba native began his professional career with the Augusta Lynx in 2006-07. He had 31 points in 61 games with Augusta.

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 is 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.

The Gwinnett Gladiators open their 7th season in the ECHL in October of 2009 - season ticket packages for the 2009-10 season are on sale now. In addition, the Gladiators offer several unique multi-game ticket packages as well as discounted group rates, suite rentals, and birthday parties. For more information call 770-497-5100 or log on to gwinnettgladiators.com.

The Gladiators are the AA affiliate of the Atlanta Thrashers and Chicago Blackhawks and play all home games at the spectacular 11,355-seat Arena at Gwinnett Center, located just off I-85 on Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth, where parking is always free.
 
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