We're about a week away from the opening of training camp for the Gwinnett Gladiators, who are of course the AA affiliate of the Atlanta Thrashers. They play right near the Thrashers practice facility out in the burbs, for those of you not familiar with the city. Anyway, during hockey season there will be a fair number of blog posts with news about the team and the Thrashers prospects assigned there. Gladiator news was a significant part of the reason I created the blog, actually. I end up with lots of news about them just from being around that otherwise goes unreported, and since it doesn't inconvenience me to type it up, why not do it?
Here are some items kicking around.
I'm looking forward to the visual image of goaltenders Craig Kowalski and Dan Turple together. I interviewed K-Wal a few years ago, and having stood next to him, I'd say his listing of 5'8 is probably a bit generous. Turple is a solid 6'6 though, so there's almost a foot difference there. Sometimes last season with Dave Caruso and Turple, I had to look at the mask to tell who was in net because they were of somewhat similar height, but that won't be a problem this year for sure. K-Wal and Turps are also pretty different in personality too. K-Wal reminds me a lot of Pasi Nurminen, visually and temperament wise (remember the comparisons to Cartman). And Turps is pretty low-key. They are truly the odd couple.
Here's a link to the Q&A I did with K-Wal in 2004. I loved his answer to the rookie question. Had a good laugh about that one.
Next item, Dani Ellis will be the team's head athletic trainer this year. She served as assistant trainer last year under the departed Meg Guthrie. Dani was the natural choice because there's a height limit for the support staff of the Glads -- I kid! I kid!
There will be a significant player signing announced within the next week, which should solidify the team at least in the short run.
The team opens camp (on-ice) on Oct. 5 at the IceForum (at 12:10), and I do recommend attending the first day -- as you never know who might suit up. That's all I want to say about that for now.
And lastly, in what has to be a sign of the coming apocalypse, former ECHL referee David Banfield has been hired by the NHL. Those who don't know the name -- I'm sure you soon will. Maybe you'll even thank me for the warning.