Wednesday, August 17, 2011GLENDALE, ARIZONA –
Phoenix Coyotes Vice President of Hockey Operations and Assistant General Manager Brad Treliving announced today that the Coyotes have signed a one-year affiliation agreement with the Gwinnett Gladiators of the ECHL.
“We are glad to announce our affiliation with the Gladiators,” Treliving said. “They have consistently proven to be an elite organization within the ECHL and we look forward to having our young prospects continue their development in Gwinnett.”
Gwinnett plays its home games at The Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga. The Gladiators are one of 20 teams that compete in the ECHL and play in the South Division of the Eastern Conference. The franchise was founded in 2003 and the team has made the playoffs in six of its eight seasons, including a trip to the Kelly Cup Finals in 2006.
“I think that there were really two key factors that made this affiliation a natural fit,” Gladiators President Steve Chapman said. “The first is a common commitment to player development. The Phoenix Coyotes organization is committed to developing players through their system.”
"The second factor is simply respect. Brad Treliving and I have known each other for a long time. Ray Edwards (head coach Portland Pirates) was a long-time ECHL player and coach that I have known for years. They both spent considerable time in the ECHL and have a similar background in minor league coaching and administration. They have quality reputations and they have a solid understanding of our place and our importance in this relationship and they value it. We are looking forward to working with them and the other members and coaches of the Coyotes organization, as well as the Portland Pirates, as we seek to develop quality players and quality men.”
John Wroblewski is in his first season as the head coach with Gwinnett after helping lead the Wheeling Nailers to the ECHL Eastern Conference Finals last season as an assistant coach. Before he joined the Nailers, Wroblewski began his coaching career with the USA Hockey Under-18 National Development Program from 2007 to 2010.
Gwinnett opens the 2011-12 season on Friday, Oct. 14 at the Florida Everblades.