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Gulls Sign Soviet Defender Starikov

For the second time in two days, the Gulls Tuesday signed a player that should bring a little color and notoriety to the International Hockey League team’s roster: defenseman Sergei Starikov.

Starikov, 32, is a two-time Olympic gold medalist who played 13 professional seasons in the Soviet Union. He was drafted in the seventh round by the New Jersey Devils in 1989 and played 16 games for the Devils during the 1989-90 season. He will become the second Soviet to play in the 45-year-old IHL and he is expected to report in time for training camp, which starts Thursday.

“Obviously, a guy with his background comes to us highly recommended,” said Don Waddell, Gull vice president and general manager. “He’s a big, strong guy who plays a tough, defensive style of game.”

Starikov played 51 games for Utica last season, with two goals and seven assists. He is the seventh player signed for the 1991-92 season. The Gulls expect to have 35 free agents in camp but will probably sign no more than three. The rest of the players will come from four NHL teams with which the Gulls will have a working agreement: the Buffalo Sabres, Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers and Edmonton Oilers.

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The Gulls’ first practice will be at 2:45 p.m. Friday. They will stage two scrimmages free to the public at the San Diego Sports Arena at 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Fans can meet players and coaches after each scrimmage.


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