The Phoenix Coyotes of the National Hockey League have renewed their one year affiliation agreement with the Gwinnett Gladiators for the 2012-13 season.
Last season was Gwinnett’s first year as the ECHL affiliate of the Coyotes. The Gladiators served as the primary ECHL affiliate for the Atlanta Thrashers for eight seasons from Gwinnett’s inaugural 2003-04 season through the 2010-11 season.
"We’re excited to move forward with Phoenix as our NHL affiliate. One of our objectives with an affiliation was to build a relationship where the Gladiators would become an integral part of a development system and not just a place to stash a few players for AHL call-ups,” said Gladiators President Steve Chapman. “The Phoenix Coyotes are interested in building the same type of relationship. We worked well together last season and we see this as an opportunity to build upon a solid start.”
Phoenix completed its most successful season in the desert last year as they earned the first playoff series win since the franchise relocated from Winnipeg in 1996. Under Head Coach Dave Tippett, the Coyotes have qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of his three seasons at the helm and advanced to the Western Conference Finals last year.
“We are delighted to announce our continued affiliation with the Gladiators,” said Brad Treliving, Vice President of Hockey Operations and Assistant General Manager of the Coyotes. “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.”
The Gladiators have fielded 182 call-ups that have involved 130 players over the first nine seasons the team has been based in Gwinnett County, Georgia, encompassing the northeastern suburban communities of Atlanta. 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 26 call-ups last season were the second most in team history.