Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Gladiators sign Jake Anderson to tryout contract

I first mentioned this as a possibility two weeks ago, but now the deal has been done. Gwinnett Gladiators head coach and director of hockey operations Jeff Pyle confirmed that he has signed Jake Anderson, elder son of Thrashers head coach John Anderson, to a tryout contract.

Pyle said that John Anderson called him and asked about it, which set the ball rolling. Pyle replied that he'd sit down and meet with Jake when they were both in town. Pyle hasn't seen Jake play, but said he has a great attitude, knows the game, has good bloodlines, and while he couldn't guarantee anything, would give him a chance in camp. If it doesn't work out right away, being local (he's moving to Atlanta regardless), he could be a valuable asset mid-season when they need some help.

Pyle pointed out that this year in the ECHL, there is a limit on the number of contracts that a team can sign players to heading into camp (due to abuse of the system of non-guaranteed contracts by certain teams), so he has to be even more careful on who he signs.

Jake played his junior hockey in the OPJHL, and played Division III college hockey at the Milwaukee School of Engineering. So he has never played pro, major junior, or Div I college. I asked Pyle if Jake's lack of experience playing at a high level was a concern. "Not at all," he said. Pyle said Jake is highly-motivated and skates every day. Lately he's been skating with Thrashers players, and may go to Chicago to skate there as well before Gladiators camp opens.

The Gladiators' season opener is Oct. 18 at home. The Thrashers also play that night, so if Jake makes the team, watching his son's pro debut will have to wait for John Anderson.

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