(via Gwinnett Gladiators/Getty Images)
The ECHL’s Gwinnett Gladiators are paying tribute to Atlanta’s hockey tradition by wearing jerseys in the style of the Atlanta Flames for the remainder of the 2014-15 season. The jerseys will make their debut on Friday, Jan. 23.
With the Atlanta Thrashers packing up in 2011 and moving north of the border to become the Winnipeg Jets, the hope that the team would ever pay homage to hockey’s history in Georgia died. But never fear, Atlanta Flames fans, because the ECHL’s Gwinnett Gladiators are picking up the slack. For weeks, the Gladiators having been teasing the release of a new jersey, hyping it using the hashtag “#passthetorch.” The hashtag itself was a tip of the cap to the Flames, and the jerseys are the Gladiators going the rest of the way. The new threads themselves are slick and do a good job harkening back to the Flames of the ‘70s and still looking modern.
"We wanted to create something that was decidedly ’Gladiator’ with a nod to the fact that Atlanta has such a significant history within our sport," said Christi Johnson, Gladiators director of media, game operations, and merchandising, in a statement from the team. The gorgeous jersey will be worn for each of the team’s remaining home games, except for Sunday night affairs in which the team will wear their traditional black uniform. "Many of our fans see these red and yellow colors and think of the history associated behind it,” said Steve Champan, president of the Gladiators Being here for 12 seasons, we hope that we’ve added a little bit to that history as well. This jersey will honor this city, and those classic teams of the past." The jerseys will make their debut in game action on Friday, Jan. 23, when the Gladiators faceoff against the Florida Everblades. Tim Ecclestone, Eric Vail, and Willi Plett, each of whom played for the Atlanta Flames, will drop the game’s ceremonial puck and be honored by the Gladiators for their contributions to hockey in Atlanta.