Gladiators sign affiliation agreement with Buffalo Sabres
The Gwinnett Gladiators have signed a second affiliation agreement for the 2011-12 season to serve as an ECHL affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres, members of the Northeast Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League. This additional NHL affiliate designation will be concurrent to the recently signed affiliation agreement between the Gladiators and the Phoenix Coyotes on Aug. 17. The Sabres also maintain an NHL affiliation with the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League.
Gwinnett will serve as an ECHL affiliate for two NHL teams in tandem for the third time in team history. Gwinnett maintained dual affiliations with Chicago and Atlanta during the 2008-09 season and with Columbus and Atlanta during the 2009-10 season.
The Gladiators have fielded 156 call-ups that have involved 112 players over the first eight seasons the team has been based in Gwinnett. The Gladiators have had at least 22 player call-ups to the American Hockey League in each of the past four seasons. During the 2009-10 season, Gwinnett saw a record 28 call-ups to the AHL, while the 23 call-ups last season were the second most in team history.
Buffalo becomes the fifth NHL team to be affiliated with the Gladiators for assignment of draft prospects and player development. Gwinnett served as the ECHL affiliate of the Atlanta Thrashers for eight seasons from the Gladiators inaugural 2003-04 season until the recent sale of the Thrashers franchise and subsequent relocation to Winnipeg, Manitoba in May.