The Boston Bruins announced Thursday that the team has agreed to renew its affiliation with the Atlanta Gladiators of the East Coast Hockey League for the upcoming 2019-20 season. The Bruins began their affiliation with the Gladiators before the 2015-16 season.
“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,” Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said in a press release. “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.”
As part of their continued relationship, the Bruins want to use the Gladiators as part of their strong developmental system. The Bruins have a great relationship with their American Hockey League affiliate the Providence Bruins and the Gladiators want to provide the same support to the Bruins as Providence does.
“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,” Gladiators Head Coach Jeff Pyle said in the press release.
“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,” Atlanta Gladiators Team President Jerry James said in a press release.
The Gladiators originally began as the Mobile Mystics based out of Mobile, Alabama from 1995-2002. In 2003, the franchise relocated to Gwinnett County, Georgia and served as the ECHL affiliate of the Atlanta Thrashers as well as their American Hockey League affiliate Chicago Wolves from 2003-2011. Following the relocation of the Thrashers to Winnipeg, the club changed its name to the Atlanta Gladiators in the fall of 2015. The club wanted to re-brand itself as the “professional hockey team for all of the metro Atlanta community.”
Before the Gladiators, the South Carolina Stingrays and Reading Royals served as ECHL affiliates of the Bruins.