Atlanta Gladiators

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Atlanta Gladiators
2019–20 ECHL season
AtlantaGladiators.png
CityDuluth, Georgia
LeagueECHL
ConferenceEastern
DivisionSouth
Founded1995
Home arenaInfinite Energy Arena
ColorsGarnet, gold, black
              
Owner(s)Danor Vienna LLC[1]
General managerJeff Pyle
Head coachJeff Pyle
AffiliatesBoston Bruins (NHL)
Providence Bruins (AHL)
Websitewww.atlantagladiators.com
Franchise history
1995–2002Mobile Mysticks
2003–2015Gwinnett Gladiators
2015–presentAtlanta Gladiators
Championships
Division Championships3 (2005–06, 2011–12, 2012–13)
Conference Championships1 (2005–06)

The Atlanta Gladiators (formerly the Gwinnett Gladiators) are a professional minor league ice hockey team based in Duluth, Georgia, in the Atlanta metropolitan area. The Gladiators play in the South Division of the ECHL's Eastern Conference. The Gladiators play their home games at the Infinite Energy Arena.

The franchise originated as the Mobile Mysticks in 1995. The team suspended operations in 2002 and moved to Duluth in 2003. They were the South Division and American Conference champions in 2006, falling four-games-to-one to the Alaska Aces in the Kelly Cup finals.

In 2015, the Gladiators became the affiliate of the Boston Bruins and their AHL affiliate, the Providence Bruins.[2] They also changed their name from the Gwinnett Gladiators to the Atlanta Gladiators that same year.[3]

History[edit]

Birth of the Gladiators[edit]

The franchise originated as the Mobile Mysticks who played in Mobile, Alabama, from 1995 to 2002. It suspended operations in 2002 due to declining attendance. After a year off, Toby Jeffreys, the owner of the Mysticks, relocated his franchise to Gwinnett County, Georgia, in 2003 and was rebranded the Gwinnett Gladiators. He then sold minority stakes of the franchise to local business owners to create Gwinnett County Hockey, LLC.[4] Jeff Pyle—who served as the Mysticks' head coach starting in 1998—returned to the franchise for their first season.

The Gladiators made an appearance in the 2006 Kelly Cup Finals, losing to the Alaska Aces in five games.

Original Gwinnett Gladiators logo, used from 2003 until 2015.

On July 13, 2011, Pyle was named head coach of the American Hockey League's Texas Stars.[5] The Gladiators announced on August 3, 2011, that John Wroblewski, former assistant coach for the Wheeling Nailers, had been selected to take Pyle's place as the team's head coach. The Gladiators won the ECHL South Division in the two years of Wrobelski's tenure.[6]

On August 7, 2013, Wroblewski was hired by the AHL's Rochester Americans as an assistant coach. Rick Emmett, a former defenseman for the Gladiators, took over as head coach.[7]

Emmett was relieved of his duties as head coach on December 2, 2014. At the time, assistant coach, and former Gladiator captain, Andy Brandt was named the interim head coach.[8] Brandt would remain the interim head coach through the remainder of the 2014–15 season before being named to head coach on March 21, 2015.[9] Former Valpellice Bulldogs head coach Mike Flanagan also joined the coaching staff in December 2014, serving as the team's assistant coach.[10]

Rebranding as Atlanta Gladiators[edit]

On September 9, 2015, the Gladiators organization announced that they would be known as the Atlanta Gladiators to expand their brand to include the entire Atlanta metropolitan area.[11] As part of the name change, the Gladiators updated their “primary” and “wordmark” logos to reflect the Atlanta designation. The rest of the Gladiators logos remained the same, as did the team colors.

After two seasons as head coach, Andy Brandt left to take the associate coaching position with St. Norbert College in 2017. The Gladiators would then hire two-time Kelly Cup winning coach Chuck Weber as his replacement.[12]

During the 2017–18 season, the franchise was purchased by Virginia-based ownership group called Danor Vienna LLC, headed by real estate developer P. Daniel Orlich.[1] Head coach Weber left after one season to take an assistant coaching position with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) NCAA Div. I men's team in order to be closer to home.[13] Jeff Pyle was then brought back as head coach and general manager after leaving for the AHL in 2011.[14][15]

Affiliations[edit]

The Gladiators served as the ECHL affiliate of the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers and their AHL affiliate Chicago Wolves from their inception in 2003 until 2011, when the Thrashers franchise moved to Winnipeg and the Gladiators ended their affiliation with the franchise. The team also served as an affiliate for the Chicago Blackhawks during the 2008–09 season and for the Columbus Blue Jackets during the 2009–10 season.[16][17]

On August 17, 2011, the Gladiators announced their affiliation with the Phoenix Coyotes and the Portland Pirates for the 2011–12 season.[18] They later announced an affiliation agreement with the Buffalo Sabres, and their AHL affiliate, the Rochester Americans.[19] That affiliation lapsed at the end of the 2011–12 season, leaving the Gladiators affiliated exclusively with Phoenix for the 2012–13 season.[20] The Gladiators would carry that affiliation through the end of the 2014–15 season.

On August 6, 2015, the Gladiators announced a two-year affiliation deal with the Boston Bruins and their AHL affiliate, the Providence Bruins.[2] In February 2017, the Gladiators and Bruins extended their affiliation for another two seasons.[21]

Season-by-season record[edit]

Regular season Playoffs
Season GP W L OTL SOL Pts GF GA Standing Year Wild Card Round
Conf. 1st round (2006–08)§
1st round
Conf. Quarterfinals
2nd round
Conf. Semifinals
3rd round
Conf. Finals
Kelly Cup
2003–04 72 42 22 0 8 92 248 193 3rd, Central 2004 No WC game in Western Conf. W, 3–2, MIS W, 3–1, LOU L, 1–3, IDA
2004–05 72 40 24 1 7 88 241 202 3rd, South 2005 W, 3–1, MIS L, 1–3, CHR
2005–06 72 50 15 0 7 107 304 208 1st, South 2006 BYE W, 3–0, SC W, 3–1, FLA W, 4–1, TOL L, 1–4, AK
2006–07 72 41 24 5 2 89 289 256 3rd, South 2007 BYE L, 1–3, TX
2007–08 72 44 23 2 3 93 247 198 3rd, South 2008 W, 3–0, CHR L, 2–3, SC
2008–09 72 31 35 1 5 68 214 246 4th, South 2009 L, 1–4, FLA
2009–10 72 31 33 5 3 70 243 277 4th, South 2010 Did not qualify
2010–11 72 30 34 3 5 68 203 250 4th, South 2011 Did not qualify
2011–12 72 41 20 7 4 93 214 200 1st, South 2012 L, 1–3, SC
2012–13 72 43 26 2 1 89 211 191 1st, South 2013 W, 4–0, SC L, 2–4, CIN
2013–14 72 29 38 3 2 63 203 227 5th, South 2014 Did not qualify
2014–15 72 20 45 3 4 47 174 263 7th, East 2015 Did not qualify
2015–16 72 34 31 5 2 75 189 224 4th, South 2016 Did not qualify
2016–17 72 27 37 6 2 62 234 278 6th, South 2017 Did not qualify
2017–18 72 32 35 2 3 69 205 229 4th, South 2018 L, 0–4, FLA
2018–19 72 31 30 8 3 73 197 211 5th, South 2019 Did not qualify

Players[edit]

Current roster[edit]

Updated July 17, 2019.[22][23]
# Nat Player Pos S/G Age Acquired Birthplace Contract
8 United States Nick Bligh C R 26 2018 Boston, Massachusetts Gladiators
1 Canada Sean Bonar G L 28 2017 Delta, British Columbia Gladiators
Canada Anthony Collins RW R 29 2019 Langley, British Columbia Gladiators
United States Logan Nelson C R 25 2019 Rogers, Minnesota Gladiators
17 Canada Derek Nesbitt (C) RW L 37 2015 Egmondville, Ontario Gladiators

Notable players[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Atlanta Gladiators sold to Virginia-based businessman". Gwinnett Daily Post. March 20, 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Bruins and Gwinnett Gladiators Enter into ECHL Affiliation Relationship". Boston Bruins. August 6, 2015. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
  3. ^ "Glads Become ATL Gladiators". AtlantaGladiators.com. Atlanta Gladiators. September 9, 2015. Archived from the original on September 14, 2015. Retrieved September 9, 2015.
  4. ^ "Local Businessmen Join Gladiators Ownership Group". OurSportsCentral.com. May 16, 2003.
  5. ^ Press release (July 13, 2011). "Gwinnett's Pyle named head coach of AHL's Texas Stars". ECHL. Archived from the original on March 14, 2012. Retrieved August 12, 2011.
  6. ^ Press release (August 3, 2011). "Wroblewski named Gladiators head coach". ECHL. Retrieved August 12, 2011.
  7. ^ "Emmett Named Head Coach". Gwinnett Gladiators. August 7, 2013. Archived from the original on July 27, 2014. Retrieved August 8, 2013.
  8. ^ "Official Website - Gwinnett Gladiators". www.atlantagladiators.com. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
  9. ^ "Official Website - Gwinnett Gladiators". www.atlantagladiators.com. Archived from the original on June 24, 2016. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
  10. ^ "Official Website - Gwinnett Gladiators". www.atlantagladiators.com. Archived from the original on June 24, 2016. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
  11. ^ "Official Website - Atlanta Gladiators". www.atlantagladiators.com. Archived from the original on 2015-09-14. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
  12. ^ "Atlanta Gladiators name Chuck Weber head coach". axs.com. August 25, 2017.
  13. ^ "Atlanta Gladiators in search of new head coach after Chuck Weber resignation". Gwinnett Daily Post. June 5, 2018.
  14. ^ "Atlanta Gladiators bring back winningest coach in franchise history". Gwinnett Daily Post. July 6, 2018.
  15. ^ "Gladiators Name Jeff Pyle as Head Coach". OurSportsCentral.com. July 13, 2018.
  16. ^ Michael Wagner (December 28, 2008). "Chicago Blackhawks Name Gwinnett Gladiators Their New ECHL Affiliate". bleacherreport.com. Retrieved July 2, 2011.
  17. ^ Bart Logan (August 25, 2009). "Blue Jackets & Gladiators Become ECHL affiliates". firethecannon.com. Retrieved July 2, 2011.
  18. ^ Press release (August 17, 2011). "Glads sign affiliation agreement with Phoenix". Gwinnett Gladiators. Retrieved August 17, 2011.
  19. ^ Press Release (September 20, 2011). "Second Affiliate Added". Gwinnett Gladiators. Archived from the original on 2012-04-02. Retrieved September 20, 2011.
  20. ^ Press release (August 7, 2012). "Glads back with Phoenix". Gwinnett Gladiators. Archived from the original on January 25, 2013. Retrieved October 12, 2012.
  21. ^ "Gladiators Extend Affiliation Agreement with Boston Bruins". Atlanta Gladiators. February 15, 2017.
  22. ^ "Official Site - Atlanta Gladiators: Team Roster". March 25, 2019. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  23. ^ "Atlanta Gladiators Roster". Elite Prospects. Retrieved March 8, 2018.

External links[edit]