DULUTH, GA – The Atlanta Gladiators announced the re-signing of defensemen Rob Hall and Chris Forney for the 2020-2021 ECHL season today.
“Rob Hall is a versatile, two-way defenseman that played some forward for us last year,” said Gladiators head coach Jeff Pyle. “He is a great teammate and an amazing presence in the locker room. Rob works hard and competes for every puck. I am looking for a big year from him.”
Hall is a 28-year-old defensemen from Schaumburg, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. He played his collegiate hockey at the State University of New York – Brockport. In his four years spanning from 2013 to 2017, he registered 88 games played for the Golden Eagles. Rob spent the following year and a half in the SPHL, playing the majority of his 61 games in the league under Coach Pyle for the Evansville Thunderbolts. Hall broke into the ECHL in the 2018-2019 season, playing in a career-high 48 games for the Wheeling Nailers and tallying 11 points (2 goals, 9 assists). He began last season with the Norfolk Admirals before being traded to Atlanta. In total during the 2019-2020 season, Hall played in 38 games and gathered six assists.
Rob outlined his excitement to re-join the team, saying “the organization is second to none in treating its players well. It is an honor to come back to this team for another year.” Hall also cited close relationships, noting his previous experience with Coach Pyle in Evansville and “making life-long friends in my first season here.” Like most returning players, he is excited to see how the team can kick off the campaign. “The last couple months of last season is when we clicked as a whole unit. It was a joy coming to the rink each day.”
Coach Pyle said that Chris Forney was a “big part of why we were so good in the defensive zone last year.” The Gladiators coach sees Forney’s role growing in the upcoming here, saying the defenseman “will be expected to take a big leadership role this year.”
Forney is a 25-year-old defenseman from Thief River Falls, Minnesota. In 2014, he began his four-year stint at the University of Massachusetts – Lowell. In the 135 games played for the Minutemen, Chris totaled 14 goals and 35 assists. Right after college, he made his professional debut in the AHL, playing in six games for the San Diego Gulls. Forney then came to the ECHL in the 2018-2019 season, where he played 40 regular-season games for the Tulsa Oilers. Chris also played in 20 playoff games that year, helping the Oilers reach the Western Conference Finals. He played a career-high 58 games in his first season with the Gladiators last year, scoring nine points on the campaign (2 goals, 7 assists).
Chris pointed out some of the main reasons he is returning to Atlanta, noting “how well the organization is run and how much support we get from our fans. Coach Pyle has done a great job of building a championship-caliber team, and I am excited to be a part of it.”
“Our group of defensemen played a big role in the momentum built at the end of last season,” said Atlanta team president Jerry James. “Both Rob and Chris were important contributors in that group. We are excited to welcome them both back and build continuity on our roster.”