ECHL Breaking News: Atlanta Gladiators Join with Nashville Predators, Name Derek Nesbitt Head Coach

Photo Credit: Atlanta Gladiators

The Atlanta Gladiators announced that they had a new deal in place to be the ECHL affiliate for the Nashville Predators starting with the 2023-24 season. The Gladiators will also be the affiliate for the Milwaukee Admirals, who lost in the Western Conference Finals of the Turner Cup playoffs. This ends a one-year partnership with the Arizona Coyotes and the Tucson Roadrunners. Brian Poile, Assistant General Manager and Director of Hockey Operations touched on how exciting this was for Hockey in the south. Poile, was born in Atlanta, and his father, soon to be retired Nashville Predator GM David Poile was also in the Atlanta Flames organization. “It’s going to be an excellent partnership, and we are looking forward to it.” said Poile who also touched on this partnership being four years in the making. Poile touted the changes to the arena that were made including updates to the locker room.

Atlanta also announced that long time Head Coach Jeff Pyle would be promoted to Director of Hockey Operations, which would allow long time Atlanta Gladiator Derek Nesbitt to be promoted to Head Coach. Nesbitt spent the last year on the bench as Pyle’s assistant after spending 10 total years as a player, including the last six in a row. “I came here in 2005, with no clue on what to expect” Nesbitt said in his first words to the media after being announced as Head Coach. Nesbitt acknowledged what it meant to him to have Pyle as a mentor. “I had an awesome coach, who helped me in every way, and I am happy to follow in your footsteps.” Nesbitt became emotional as he talked about his wife and how she was born and raised here. “I will not take this for granted, I’m glad I don’t have to pack a bag to go anywhere.”

The Gladiators start the 2023-24 season in four and a half short months on October 21st against their in-state rivals, the Savannah Ghost Pirates.

Phil Wilds

Atlanta Gladiators writer for Inside The Rink. Patiently waiting for the 3rd Atlanta NHL team! Follow me on Twitter @PWilds121 for awful takes that you will most certainly disagree with!

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