DULUTH, Ga. – The Gwinnett Gladiators have named former defenseman Rick Emmett as the third head coach in club history, as John Wroblewski has accepted an assistant coaching position with the Rochester Americans, the American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres.
Emmett served as an assistant coach for the Gladiators for the past two seasons, helping Gwinnett clinch back-to-back South Division titles with an 84-46-9-5 overall record during that stretch.
The Etobicoke, Ontario native was no stranger to the organization prior to that, having played three seasons on the blue line in Gwinnett from 2003-06. He earned 67 points (24g-43a) in 149 career regular-season games, and was also a part of Gwinnett’s 2006 American Conference championship team. Emmett picked up 15 points (7g-8a) in 32 playoff games as a Gladiator. In total, Emmett’s professional playing career spanned 11 seasons with 11 different teams. He played in 587 regular season games as a pro, and racked up 376 points (99g-277a), 480 penalty minutes and was a +108 overall. His longest stint was with the Quad City Mallards from 1996-2001, where he helped the team capture the Colonial Hockey League championship in 1997 and the United Hockey League championship in 1998.
In addition to serving as an assistant in Gwinnett post-retirement, Emmett was also the head coach of the former Atlanta Junior Thrashers, now Atlanta Phoenix Squirt AA and Pee Wee Minor AA youth hockey teams based out of the Ice Forum in Duluth.
Wroblewski became the second head coach for Gwinnett on Aug. 3, 2011, and promptly led the team to two straight playoff appearances and a .632 winning percentage, the best mark of any ECHL Eastern Conference squad over that stretch. In 2011-12 Wroblewski received the John Brophy Trophy as the ECHL Coach of the Year (co-named with Alaska’s Rob Murray), after he led Gwinnett to its first division title since 2006.