SAN DIEGO (Ticker) -- Instead of cashing in on offers to play in Europe, Curtis Brown has decided to help promote the game of hockey in California.
Brown on Monday agreed to terms with the San Diego Gulls of the ECHL and could see action in the team's game against the Bakersfield Condors on Wednesday.
Terms were not disclosed.
After signing as a free agent with the Chicago Blackhawks over the summer, the veteran center declined to take advantage of offers from European teams to play in San Diego. His wife is from nearby Orange County.
"I'm very excited to be in San Diego and play for the Gulls," Brown said. "I wanted to play somewhere and after looking at all my options, San Diego was the best for me and my family. "And the ECHL is probably the most competitive as it's ever been, so I can't think of a better place to play right now, for me and my family."
Brown is the second veteran NHL player to sign with an ECHL team. New Jersey Devils center Scott Gomez inked a deal with the Alaska Aces in October.
Should the NHL season be salvaged, Brown will join the Blackhawks, who signed the 28-year-old to a four-year, $6.8 million deal in July.
"My decision to play here is really two-fold," he said. "I want to stay in shape and be ready if the lockout ends. But I also want to help the Gulls win and fit in with the team and community, which is the most important thing."
Selected by Buffalo in the second round of the 1994 draft, Brown has 111 goals and 145 assists in 554 games with the Sabres and San Jose Sharks. He recorded nine goals and 12 assists in 68 games with Buffalo last season before being traded at the March deadline to San Jose, where he collected two goals and two assists in 12 contests.