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Fuel Extend Qualifying Offers to Seven Players

July 1, 2015 - ECHL (ECHL) - Indy Fuel News Release

INDIANAPOLIS - The Indy Fuel, proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL's Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks and the AHL's Rockford IceHogs, announced Wednesday the extension of qualifying offers to seven returning players from the 2014-15 season, including defensemen Nick Bruneteau, Doug Jessey and Saverio Posa and forwards Nicklas Lindberg, Pete Massar, Peter Schneider and Kyle Stroh.

A native of Stockholm, Sweden, Lindberg is the only veteran player qualified by Indy while Jessey and Schneider are the only rookie skaters on the Fuel's list of qualifying offers. Jessey's rights were reserved despite his having signed to play for Brest Albatros in France's Ligue Magnus next season while Posa has signed to play in Italy in 2015-16.

"We are extremely pleased with where we are to date," said Fuel Head Coach and EVP of Hockey Operations Scott Hillman on Wednesday. "The goal from day one was to build a core of young players that would develop in our system...We continue to work hard to re-sign the players from last year that showed the greatest commitment to the organization, to the community and to building a winning team our fans will be proud of."

The signings of returning forward Rhett Bly and rookie forward Casey Thrush were announced by the Fuel on Monday, while former Indy forward Chris DeSousa inked a two-way AHL contract with Rockford on June 6 and former Fuel defenseman Kirill Gotovets signed an AHL contract with the IceHogs on June 12. Additionally, inaugural Fuel captain Mike Duco signed with the Sheffield Steelers of Britain's EIHL on June 14 for the 2015-16 campaign.

With multiple players from the Fuel's inaugural roster signing AHL contracts for 2015-16, Hillman says the bonds between the Fuel and Blackhawks have never been stronger. "Our relationship with Rockford and Chicago and the time the Blackhawks' organization spends working with and evaluating our players here in Indy is extremely valuable to these players' development," explained Hillman. "[DeSousa and Gotovets] signing with Rockford for next season are two concrete examples of players that have advanced their careers within our affiliation."

According to the ECHL, players who had already signed a contract by June 30 did not need to receive a qualifying offer. Each team was entitled to reserve the rights to a maximum of eight qualified players. Of the eight qualified players, no more than four could be veterans (260 regular season professional hockey games played as of the start of the upcoming 2015-16 season). Players on open qualifying offers cannot be traded.

The qualifying offer must remain open for acceptance until Aug. 1 at which time the qualifying offer becomes null and void and the team may sign the qualified player to any salary or may elect to take no further action. Teams that extend a valid qualifying offer to a non-veteran player shall retain the rights to that qualified player for one playing season.

A team that extends a valid qualifying offer to a veteran player will retain the rights to that veteran until Aug. 1. After Aug. 1, if the veteran player is not signed to a contract by the team, the veteran shall be deemed a restricted free agent and shall be entitled to seek and secure offers of employment from other ECHL teams. Restricted free agents may not be traded. When a restricted free agent receives a contract offer from a team other than the team with the player's rights and the restricted free agent wishes to accept the contract offer, the restricted free agent and the offering member must, within 24 hours, notify the ECHL, the team with the player's rights and the Professional Hockey Players' Association. The member with the player's rights shall have seven days after the date it is notified to exercise its right to match the contract offer.

If a restricted free agent is not signed to either an offer sheet or a contract by an ECHL team by Aug. 31, the player shall be deemed an unrestricted free agent.

Following Wednesday's list of qualifying offers, the Fuel will announce player signings each Monday at 2:00 pm EST throughout the month of July. Fans are encouraged to track each announcement on Instagram and Twitter @IndyFuel and on the official "Indy Fuel" fan page on Facebook for a chance to win Fuel prizes.

In 2015-16, the Indy Fuel drop the puck on their second season in the ECHL. Full and Half-Season Plans for the Fuel's sophomore campaign at Indiana Farmers Coliseum are on sale now, along with 12-Game Flex Packs, 9-Game Plans and Group Tickets! To reserve your seats, contact the Fuel today at (317) 925-FUEL or visit www.indyfuelhockey.com for more information.


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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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