The Atlanta Gladiators of the ECHL will have a hockey heritage night and Georgia agricultural night on March 15 when they host the Florida Everblades at the Infinite Energy Arena in Duluth, GA. The Gladiators will be recognizing the old Atlanta Flames and Atlanta Thrashers of the National Hockey League as well as the Atlanta Knights of the International Hockey League. The Gladiators will also recognize Georgia farmers, agricultural students and Georgia agriculture with spring around the corner.
The Atlanta Flames were in the National Hockey League from 1972-1980 before moving to Calgary. In eight NHL seasons, the Flames made the playoffs six times but were never able to win a playoff series. Tom Lysiak was the Atlanta Flames all-time leading scorer with 155 goals and 276 assists for 431 points in 445 games. Two Atlanta Flames players had magical seasons in the NHL during the 1978-79 regular season. Guy Chouinard became the only Atlanta Flame to score 50 goals in a season and also reached the 100-point plateau as he recorded 107 points. Also that same season, Bob MacMillan set the Atlanta Flames record for most points in a season with 108.
The Atlanta Knights were in the International Hockey League from 1992 to 1996 before moving to Quebec. In 1994, the Knights had a great season as they won the Turner Cup. They beat the Fort Wayne Kornets four games to two in a best out of seven series. Famous players who played for the Knights were Roman Hamrlik (first overall pick in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning), Canadian Olympic silver medalist Manon Rehaume, who became the first female hockey player to play in a regular season professional hockey game, Brent Gretzky (younger brother of Wayne Gretzky), as well as Cory Cross and Mike Greenlay, who each played for the Edmonton Oilers.
The Atlanta Thrashers were in the NHL from 1999-2011 before moving to Winnipeg. Once the Thrashers made the Stanley Cup Playoffs, before losing in four straight games to the New York Rangers in 2007. Three of the most notable Thrashers were Ilya Kovalchuk, Marian Hossa and Dany Heatley. Kovalchuk was the all-time Thrashers leader in goals (328), assists (287) and points (615). Twice Kovalchuk reached the 50 goal plateau as he scored 52 goals in 2005-06 and 2007-08. In 2003-04, Kovalchuk won the Rocket Richard Trophy for leading the NHL with 41 goals. Heatley won the Calder Trophy in 2001-02 as he had 26 goals and 41 assists for 67 points. Hossa had the Thrashers record for most points in a season (100), which was set in 2006-07.
Meanwhile, 14% of all Georgians are employed by the agriculture and forestry industry. There are also agricultural colleges within Georgia in the cities of Tifton, Athens and Attapulgus.
The Gladiators are currently in fifth place in the Central Division with 54 points. They are one point back of the South Carolina Stingrays for a playoff spot. However, the Gladiators have three games in hand. The Everblades lead the Central Division with a record of 37 wins, 14 regulation losses and five losses in extra time for 79 points. Florida's leading scorer is Joe Cox, who has 27 goals and 34 assists for 61 points. Atlanta's leading scorers are Justin MacDonald and Derek Nesbitt, who each have 38 points. MacDonald has 17 goals and 21 assists. Nesbitt has 14 goals and 24 assists.
In Gladiators transaction news, the Nashville Predators promoted defenseman Filip Pyrochta from the Gladiators to the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League on Feb. 26 and sent down right winger Zach Magwood to the Gladiators from the Admirals on Feb. 27. In 14 games with the Gladiators, Pyrochta has two goals and three assists for five points and three assists in 24 games with the Admirals. In four games with the Gladiators, Magwood has one assist. He also has four goals and five assists for nine points in 39 games with the Admirals.
Also on March 1, the Gladiators signed defenseman Josh Victor. In 26 games this season with Fitchburg State College, Victor has one goal and seven assists for eight points.
Get your tickets to see the Atlanta Gladiators and the Florida Everblades on March 15 at the Infinite Energy Arena today!