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Lightning welcomes AFL All-Ironman Etu Molden

Wednesday May 21, 2008

Sacramento native, Arena Bowl champion makes Lightning debut Saturday

STOCKTON, Calif.
- The Stockton Lightning have been assigned WR/LB Etu Molden (AH-too) by the arenafootball2 league office, Lightning head coach Doug Murray announced today. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Molden, 29, is expected to make his af2 and Lightning debut this Saturday, when the Lightning square-off against the Tri-Cities Fever at Stockton Arena starting at 7:00 p.m.

The Sacramento, Calif. native was named to the Arena Football League’s All-Ironman Team in 2005, honoring the league’s top players who excel at both offensive and defensive playing positions and was selected to the 2004 All-AFL Rookie Team. Molden helped guide the Chicago Rush to an ArenaBowl championship in 2006, where he caught three passes for 32 receiving yards and two touchdowns in a 69-61 victory over the Orlando Predators.

“Given his resume, getting a player like Etu might be the biggest roster addition in Stockton Lightning history to date,” said Murray. “Being frank, I believe we might have the best receiver in the league right now and adding him with two other AFL-experienced receivers in Justin Taplin and Clarence Cunningham give us one of the most formidable receiving trios in the entire league. We’re thrilled that he’s chosen to resume his playing career in a local area he’s familiar with.”

Murray elaborated on the different scenarios that Molden could be used in the Lightning offensive and defensive scheme:

“We’re looking for him to re-focus and concentrate on using his skills at the receiver position since we’re pretty deep at the jack linebacker spot,” said Murray. “However, given his pedigree and athleticism, we won’t be afraid to use him at the jack linebacker position if we need to.”

Molden has spent four years (2004-07) of his professional playing career in the Arena Football League with the Chicago Rush and Las Vegas Gladiators, catching 347 passes for 4,018 receiving yards and 71 touchdown receptions in 64 career games. The 6-foot-2, 195-pounder has also amassed 61 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns on 25 rushing attempts while posting 82 tackles and five interceptions on the defensive side of the ball.

Molden’s All-Rookie season with Chicago in 2004 was shaped by tallying career-highs in receptions (101), receiving yards (1,280) along with 23 touchdown receptions, leading the Rush in all categories while helping guide the team to an AFL playoff berth.

The following season, Molden helped guide Chicago back into the AFL playoffs and was named to the AFL’s “All Ironman Team” by virtue of posting a career-high 25 touchdown receptions, 28 tackles and 3 interceptions while leading Chicago for the second straight season in touchdown catches, receiving yards (1,065) and receptions (98).

Molden was the Rush’s leading receiver for the third straight season in receptions (67) and receiving yards (694) during the team’s ArenaBowl championship season.

“It’s good to be home and come back to the Sacramento area,” said Molden. “I’m looking forward to coming in and contributing to this offense as much as I can. The set-up of the arena and the area was very appealing and I’m thankful for the opportunity Doug Murray gave to get me back onto the field and play again.”

Molden’s college career was forged in a four-year tenure (1998-2001) at the University of Montana (NCAA), where he was named a second-team Associated Press All-American honoree as a senior, helping guide the program to a Division I-AA national championship and registering 161 catches for 2,300 yards and 26 touchdowns in 44 regular-season games.

Molden attended local Jesuit (Carmichael, Calif.) High School and was a four-sport athlete, lettering in football, basketball, baseball and track.

The Lightning return to play at home with a Week 9 matchup against the Tri-Cities Fever, beginning at 7:00 p.m. from Stockton Arena on Saturday, May 24. The game can be heard and viewed exclusively online, free-of-charge, through www.stocktonlightning.com (courtesy of NifTy Online TV). All fans in attendance will have a chance to register for a free “Jersey-Off-Their-Back” raffle and win a game-worn Lightning player’s jersey, given to one lucky fan during the game!

Group and individual tickets for the 2008 Lightning regular season are on sale now. For more information on season tickets, merchandise, or other information, please call the Lightning at (209) 373-1500 or visit www.stocktonlightning.com.