BOSTON - Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney announced today, August 15, that the team has renewed its affiliation with the Atlanta Gladiators of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) for the 2019-20 season. The Bruins originally entered into an agreement with the Gladiators to be their ECHL affiliate prior to the 2015-16 season.
As part of the relationship, the Bruins can continue to designate players in their development system to the Gladiators.
"The 2019-20 campaign will mark the fifth season we have partnered with the Atlanta Gladiators who continue to impress by providing our players top quality developmental attention and support to improve their game," said Sweeney. "The Bruins organization would like to extend our gratitude to Daniel Orlich, Jerry James, Jeff Pyle and the tireless Gladiators associates who fuel this partnership. We would also like to thank the Duluth community for its unwavering support of the Gladiators franchise."
"The affiliation with Boston and Providence has been great and the support we get from everyone there has been amazing. We look forward to developing the relationship and providing good young players for depth from our side that can help all of us be successful," said Gladiators Head Coach Jeff Pyle.
"We are excited and privileged to continue our affiliation with a team that is full of such rich hockey history and tradition like the Boston Bruins. Extending their fan base in the Atlanta metro area is something we are very proud of and is a great benefit to both organizations," said Atlanta Gladiators Team President Jerry James.
The Gladiators franchise first began as the Mobile Mystics and were based out of Mobile, Alabama from 1995-2002. In 2003, the franchise relocated approximately 460 miles northeast to Gwinnett County, Georgia and re-branded as the Gwinnett Gladiators, where they served as the ECHL affiliate for the Atlanta Thrashers and their American Hockey League Affiliate Chicago Wolves from 2003-2011. In September 2015, following the relocation of the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg, the organization officially changed their name to the Atlanta Gladiators in an effort to re-brand the club as the "professional hockey team for all of the metro Atlanta community."
The organization also served as ECHL affiliates for the Chicago Blackhawks (2008-09), the Columbus Blue Jackets (2009-10), the Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes & Portland Pirates (2011-15) and the Buffalo Sabres & Rochester Americans (2011-12).
The South Carolina Stingrays and Reading Royals had previously served as ECHL affiliates of the Bruins in the past.