MACON, Ga – 20 years of hockey will be celebrated this season by the Atlanta Gladiators, and fans won’t have to wait long to see the Gladiators take the ice.
Atlanta begins the season with an opening weekend of three games, hosting the defending Kelly Cup Champion Florida Everblades Oct. 21-22 before the newest ECHL team, the Savannah Ghost Pirates, visit on Oct. 23.
The Gladiators will see plenty of the Ghost Pirates this season, taking on Savannah more than any team on the schedule aside from South Carolina, 12 times overall. The first seven of those games will be at home, with Atlanta not going to the Enmarket Arena until Jan. 29.
Speaking of early-season highlights, one that diehard Atlanta fans certainly should circle is Nov. 13, when the Gladiators will retire the jersey of longtime forward and captain Derek Nesbitt, who in recent weeks announced his retirement. The night will also include a meet and greet and bobblehead giveaway, according to the team’s website.
On Sunday, November 13th, 2022 we will retire #17 in honor of Derek Nesbitt. A ceremony will be held for Nesbitt’s number retirement.
The night will also be celebrated with a meet and greet and a Nesbitt bobblehead giveaway. Come celebrate with us! pic.twitter.com/exoo4AO9sW
— Atlanta Gladiators (@atlgladiators) July 14, 2022
Opportunity to build up momentum early in the season for Atlanta with five out of six games prior to Christmas at home by way of visits from South Carolina on Dec. 14, Greenville on Dec. 16, and a Dec. 17 road jaunt to Greenville being followed by Savannah, South Carolina, and Greenville at home Dec. 18, 20 and 22.
Following going back to Greenville on Dec. 28, another run of home games returns on Dec. 30 and 31 against Norfolk and New Year’s Day against Savannah. That and Jan. 8 and 11 matchups against Savannah and South Carolina will be sandwiched around playing at South Carolina on Jan. 6. All told, it’ll be a 13-game stretch with eight at home.
Those spurts of home games will be key with critical road games in the latter stages of the season. In February, Atlanta plays five in a row on the road, which includes lengthy road trips to Maine and Adirondack Feb. 17-19, with March having five in a row and seven of eight away from home, a span marked by two games at Reading March 17-18.
Atlanta also plays its final four games on the road, April 7-8 at Jacksonville and April 14-15 at Florida.
The late-season road games aren’t the only things that’ll be rigorous to the Gladiators schedule. Already in the same division with Florida, Atlanta plays the Everblades 11 times. In addition, both North Division semifinalists from a year ago, Maine and Reading, are also on the schedule.
South Carolina will be the most common opponent with 13 combined games with the I-85 rival Greenville on the docket for 11 games.
Jacksonville, who knocked Atlanta out of the postseason a year ago, plays the Gladiators seven times, the same number of matchups against Orlando.
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