The Atlanta Gladiators of the ECHL will celebrate Martin Luther King Day on Jan. 21 when they host the Jacksonville Icemen at the Infinite Energy Arena. The Gladiators will be recognizing the bravery of Martin Luther King Jr., who is an Atlanta native. From 1954-1968, King was the most notable spokesperson for human rights in the United States as he constantly fought for racial equality and humanitarianism.
Throughout the game, which has a special 12:35 p.m. start time, children will be able to learn about the life of Martin Luther King Jr. After the game, all Gladiators players will be available for an autograph session.
The Gladiators have won two of their last five games. On Dec. 29, they beat the Norfolk Admirals 3-1 and on Jan. 4, they beat the Florida Everblades 2-1. In the Gladiators win over the Admirals, it was a magical game for Gladiators right winger Justin MacDonald. He recorded a hat trick as he scored all three goals for Atlanta. In the Gladiators win over the Everblades, Luke Stork broke a 1-1 tie with 4:48 left in the third period to give Atlanta an impressive win over the best team in the entire ECHL.
The Icemen are currently in third place in the South Division with a record of 19 wins, 14 losses and an overtime loss for 39 points. Their leading scorer is Kris Newbury, who has 12 goals and 19 assists for 31 points. The Gladiators leading scorers are Brett McKenzie and Derek Nesbitt, who each have 23 points. McKenzie has eight goals and 15 assists and Nesbitt has seven goals and 16 assists.
The Gladiators meanwhile have made several transactions in the last two weeks. On Dec. 28, the Gladiators acquired center Stork from the Wichita Thunder for future considerations. Stork never played for the Thunder this season, but did play 16 games for the Maine Mariners and had four assists. This is Stork's first year in the ECHL after playing the last four seasons at Ohio State University.
On Dec. 31, the Gladiators traded right winger Bo Brauer to the Worchester Railers to complete a previous deal that involved future considerations. Brauer made an impact in his Railers debut as he scored for Worchester in a 3-2 win over the Greenville Swamp Rabbits on Jan. 6.
Also on Dec. 31, the Gladiators traded defenseman Sean Campbell to the Reading Royals for cash considerations and signed center Joe Widmar from the Peoria Rivermen of the Southern Professional Hockey League. Campbell had two penalty minutes and was a -9 in 20 games for Atlanta this season. Widmar had four goals and 18 assists for 22 points with the Rivermen in only 15 games. The Gladiators become the third ECHL team Widmar has played for as he has also played for the Fort Wayne Comets and Swamp Rabbits.
On Jan. 1, the Gladiators announced that goaltender Michael Bitzer was acquired from the Rapid City Rush to a complete a deal that involved future considerations. In 12 games with the Rush, Bitzer had a record of three wins, six regulation losses, one loss in extra time, a goals against average of 3.64 and a save percentage of .882.
The Gladiators have had two defensemen return to them from the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League. On Jan. 1, Oliver Galipeau was reassigned and on Jan. 3, Joel Messner was reassigned. Galipeau had one assist in five games with the Bruins and four goals and nine assists for 13 points in 17 games with the Gladiators. Messner had one goal and four assists for five points in 20 games with the Bruins and has one goal and one assist for two points in four games with the Gladiators in 2018-19.
Get your tickets to see the Atlanta Gladiators and the Jacksonville Icemen on Jan. 21 at the Infinite Energy Arena today!.