Gwinnett, Bennefield, Stepp Agree To Terms

DULUTH, Ga. – The Gwinnett Gladiators announced that they have agreed to terms with right wing Blue Bennefield and center Joel Stepp.

The Gladiators are the ECHL affiliate of the Atlanta Thrashers of the National Hockey League and the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League.

Selected in the third round (69th overall) by Anaheim in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, the 23-year-old Stepp was acquired by Atlanta on Mar. 1 in exchange for goaltender Jani Hurme. He had 15 points (3g-12a) in 16 regular season games in 2005-06 and nine points (4g-5a) in nine games in the Kelly Cup Playoffs before having his postseason ended by an injury. He had 39 points (13g-26a) in 39 games with Augusta and also played in the AHL where he had three points (2g-1a) in 17 games with Portland and appeared in one game with Chicago.

The 27-year-old Bennefield played for Gwinnett in its inaugural season in 2003-04 and finished with a team-leading 222 penalty minutes and 38 points (20g-18a) in 72 regular season games and five points (3g-2a) and 41 penalty minutes in 12 games in the Kelly Cup Playoffs.

Team Press Release