Club news

Blaze capture Florida Captain Matt Marquardt

Genting Casino Coventry Blaze are thrilled to announce the signing of Canadian forward Matt Marquardt for the 2016/17 Elite League season.

Marquardt, 28, joins Blaze from the Florida Everblades (ECHL) where last season he was named captain of the club. Before that the 6-foot-3 inch left shot winger played a pivotal role in the Everblades lifting their first Kelly Cup in 2011/12, posting 18 points (6 goals, 12 assists) in 18 playoff appearances (ranked second for playoff scoring), including three-game-winning goals in the final series.

Originally acquired by the Everblades in a trade with Bakersfield in January 2012, the North Bay, Ontario native accumulated 137 points (57g, 80a) in 194 regular season games and an impressive 28 markers (11g, 17a) in 36 playoff games over a four year period in Florida.

Whilst much of Marquardt’s ECHL experience has been in Florida, the perennial playoff performer has also spent time as Assistant Captain of the Bakersfield Condors (2011/12) and a short period with Reading Royals before he helped Stockton Thunder reach the conference finals in 2009/10 with 10 points (6g, 4a) in 15 playoff games. His total ECHL record stands at 244 regular season games, 72 goals, 89 assists for 161 points and 51 playoff games, 17 goals, 21 assists equalling 38 points.

Marquardt’s time with the Everblades was split in two (2011-2013 and 2014-2016), having been called up by the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers in 2013 and earning himself a contract extension for the following season too. Playing a total of 92 games for the Checkers, Marquardt extended his AHL experience to a total of 281 regular season and Calder Cup playoff games with 28 goals and 41 assists for 69 points.

Not only did Marquardt have a successful time on the ice in Charlotte, he was also named “Man of the Year” for his outstanding contributions to the community, not least shaving his head to help raise $91,000 for childhood cancer research whilst also taking part in numerous other ventures benefitting Special Olympics athletes, school children and low-income families.

Before Charlotte, much of Marquardt’s AHL time had been spent with the Providence Bruins, the farm team for the Boston Bruins, where he had been traded from Colombus Blue Jackets who originally drafted him in the 2006 NHL entry draft, seventh round, 194th overall. In his rookie season in Providence, the power forward helped the Bruins to the Conference Finals, whilst also spending time in the NHL training camp. Also included was a season with Oklahoma City Barons (2010/11) after he was acquired from the Bruins by the Edmonton Oilers.

Prior to being drafted and turning pro, Marquardt had an extremely productive Major Junior career too, totalling 164 points in 203 games as Assistant Captain of the Moncton Wildcats (2005-08) and after that the Baie-Comeau Drakkar (2008) of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. This included recording back-to-back 40 goal seasons in 2006/07 and 2007/08 plus an appearance in the 2006 Memorial Cup final.

Marquardt’s move to Coventry will be his second experience in Europe having started the 2014/15 season in Germany (DEL2) with ESV Kaufbeuren where he logged 20 points (18g, 12g) in 37 games before he was to head back for another successful stint in Florida.

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, who will study for a Masters degree at Coventry University said, “I am very excited to join the Coventry Blaze. The Elite League has come so far in a short period of time. I've heard nothing but great things about the organisation and the great fan base! There's nothing better to hear as a player. Also at this point in my life, education is something I hold in high regard, the opportunity to play professionally and further my education is something I'm excited about.”

Later today we will bring you an extended feature which details the career of Matt Marquardt further along with an audio interview with the man himself so keep an eye on all of our social media channels for further coverage throughout the day.

Twitter (@covblazehockey), Facebook (@covblazehockey), Instagram (@coventry_blaze).

From 9.30am this morning you will also be able to sponsor an item of Matt's kit by calling the Blaze office on 02477 719919.