BOSTON - Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney announced today, February 16, that the team has renewed its affiliation with the Atlanta Gladiators of the ECHL for the 2017-18 season. The Bruins originally entered into a two-year affiliation 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 Boston Bruins and Providence Bruins are excited to renew our affiliation with the Atlanta Gladiators," said Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney. "Since entering into our partnership with the Gladiators two years ago, we have established a strong working relationship with the club. We have been impressed by the support system; led by their owner Mr. Jefferys and their VP Joe Gelderman, along with the individual development attention that Head Coach Andy Brandt and his staff has shown each one of our players. We look forward to the continued success of the franchise and thank the Atlanta Gladiators ownership group and the Duluth community for their steadfast support."
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.