Check out the Gladiators this weekend as they celebrate Mardi Gras and pay homage to their past with the 2016 Specialty Jersey! The squad will sport the custom designed Mardi Gras / Mobile Mysticks themed sweaters on both Friday & Saturday night. Being that Mardi Gras is officially next Tuesday, we wanted to make a weekend out of the event - something we've not ever based a promo weekend around, said Christina Johnson, Senior Director of Digital, Media, & Game Operations and the creator of the jersey's concept. Toby [Jeffreys, Majority Owner] reached out last summer and proposed the idea, with a nod to the fact that it's the franchise's 20th year of existence. Joe Gelderman and I threw the proposed theme in the mix, tossed it around with a few other ideas we'd concocted, and ultimately decided Toby's idea was the winner for 2016.
The Gladiators franchise started in 1995 in Mobile, Alabama as the Mobile Mysticks. The organization would spend seven seasons in the The Port City before taking 2002-2003 off to relocate to Duluth. The now-Gladiators franchise would kick things off in their current home in October of 2003. Mobile and Mardi Gras go hand in hand - as evidenced by the nod to the city's history with the 'Mysticks' moniker, said Johnson. When it came time to design the sweater, I wanted something that incorporated both in a tasteful manner. Working with Athletic Knit made bringing the concept to reality an easy task and we knew when we had what we'd been anticipating. As is tradition with the Gladiators specialty jerseys, the team will participate in a LIVE Jersey Auction following the game Saturday night. Fans will have the chance to watch and participate as the team takes the stage in the main lobby one-by-one to auction off their game worn jerseys. The proceeds from the event will benefit the Gladiators Foundation for Kids as well as the non-profit organizations participating in the Glads Pink in the Rink Breast Cancer Fundraiser Weekend in mid-March. The organization does one specialty jersey per year by design. Lots of other teams in our league do multiple designs, and that's certainly their prerogative, but have a long history of doing one singular design, Johnson explained. One design per year, and the caveat that no design concept is repeated for 10 seasons, ensures that the investment our fans make in these jerseys is of the highest quality it could be. We don't flood the market with specialty jersey designs because we don't want to devalue the jerseys our fans spend their hard earned money on. Winning bidders of the jerseys will have the opportunity to take the jerseys home with them that night if paying by credit card or cash. Winners paying by check will have their jersey retained at the Gladiators Front Office until the check has cleared. All winners will have the chance to meet their player (so long as he is on the current roster) and have them autograph the jersey. Fans may have the jersey washed after the game if they so choose.