ECHL: Atlanta Gladiators’ Eric Neiley Returns to the Ice

In August last year, the Atlanta Gladiators announced Eric Neiley’s retirement from professional hockey. This change brought forth a range of emotions for both Neiley and many devoted Atlanta fans as Neiley transitioned from playing on the ice with the team to taking on the role of their Assistant Head Coach.

Yet, Neiley’s time as an Atlanta Gladiator was not quite over, it seems. The team announced today that the veteran player is making a comeback from retirement and will be back on the ice with the Atlanta Gladiators for the upcoming 2024-25 season. In a press release by the Atlanta Gladiators, Neiley stated, “I’m looking forward to swapping my suits back to skates. Injuries played a major role in me stopping to play originally, but after a year of rehab and strengthening, I feel better than ever. I can’t wait to get back out there, in front of our fans in October, and do whatever I can to help get us back to winning consistently.”

Neiley made an impact for the Gladiators, and in total, he played in 265 games with the team over the course of those last five years. He held the position of Atlanta’s second-highest goal scorer of all time, achieving a total of 103 goals throughout his time with the team. Moreover, at the time of his retirement, he ranked seventh in terms of total assists, providing 95 assists, and was fifth in overall points with 198.

During his last season with the Gladiators, Neiley appeared in 50 games, contributing 25 goals and 19 assists, accumulating a total of 44 points. Apart from his tenure with the Gladiators, Neiley has also competed for the Adirondack Thunder and Jacksonville Icemen. Additionally, he showcased his skills in the American Hockey League (AHL) while playing for the Providence Bruins.

The Gladiators will kick off their season at home against the Indy Fuel on Saturday, October 19th.

Karen Zehner

Credentialed Beat Writer covering the ECHL Atlanta Gladiators. Diving into the world of slap shots, penalty kills, and the game we love. [@RunwithK] on socials.

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