Duluth, GA – The Atlanta Gladiators have re-signed veteran Justin MacDonald. The returning forward was a big part of the club’s offense last season. He finished the year top three on the team in goals, assists, and points.
"The way the team finished off the last half of the season was great. We were hard-working, disciplined, and great on special teams. Now that some of us are coming back, we can pass what we learned on to the new guys and come out stronger than ever," said MacDonald.
Justin, a 28-year-old, right-handed forward, hails from New Market, Ontario, Canada. In his first season as a pro in 2011-12, he played for three teams in the SPHL. He began the season with the Fayetteville FireAntz, moved on to play for the Augusta RiverHawks and finished with the Mississippi RiverKings. It was with the RiverKings where he had the most impact, winning the SPHL championship.
After averaging just over seven goals, nine assists and 17 points in three seasons, with five teams mostly in the SPHL, he would return to the FHL for the 2014-15 season to have a monster year. MacDonald scored 44 goals, tallied 58 assists for 102 points with the Watertown Wolves, in just 46 games. That season, he also led the league in goals, was the league MVP and helped the Wolves win the FHL Championship. He finished the year in the ECHL with the Evansville Iceman, where he would spend parts of four seasons. Between the two squads, he had 51 goals, 63 assists, and 114 points in 66 combined games.
MacDonald has spent most of the last five seasons in the ECHL with the Evansville Iceman, Indy Fuel, Cincinnati Cyclones, Adirondack Thunder, Fort Wayne Komets and last season with the Gladiators. He was a major contributor last year for Atlanta scoring 21 goals (second on the team), with 28 assists, totaling 49 points (both third on the club) in 59 games. During his time in the ECHL, he has 45 goals, 54 assists, for 99 points in 192 career games.
Coach Pyle said of his forward, “Justin had a great season for us last year. He’s a good kid and I’m looking for him to step up in a leadership role. He was able to contribute to all parts of our game. A great penalty killer, strong on the puck and is good on the power play. He knows the message that needs to be sent. Glad he is coming back.”
The Atlanta Gladiators open the 2019-20 season home schedule on October 18th and 19th at the Infinite Energy Arena. Fans can purchase tickets by visiting www.atlantagladiators.com or by calling the front office at (770) 497-5100.
The Atlanta Gladiators are members of the ECHL, the nation’s premier "AA" hockey league and are the Affiliate of the Eastern Conference Champion Boston Bruins. All home games are played at the 9,119-seat Infinite Energy Arena, located just off I-85 on Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth, Georgia. The Gladiators have established an unrivaled commitment to excellence, maintaining a distinctive reputation for providing fun, friendly, family, affordable entertainment and are consistently ranked as one of the best “Things to Do” in the Atlanta Metro area and across the North Georgia region.