DULUTH, GA – The Atlanta Gladiators announced today the re-signing of defenseman Josh Thrower and forward Nick Bligh for the 2020-2021 ECHL season.
Gladiators head coach Jeff Pyle described Thrower as a “hard-nosed defensive player that came a long way. He was performing very confidently at the end of last season.” Pyle mentioned that the defenseman “is a presence on the ice and gives our guys an opportunity to execute their game.” The coach said the other players on the team “love him and were happy to see him progress the way he did [last season]. This will be a big year for Josh.”
Thrower is a 24-year-old defenseman from Squamish, British Columbia. He amassed 309 games of experience in the WHL from 2012 to 2017. In that time, the defenseman totaled 73 points (11 goals, 62 assists) for four different teams. Thrower made his professional debut with the Allen Americans in 2017, and went on to play 106 games for the ECHL squad over two seasons. In his first year with Atlanta last season, he scored a pair of goals and added a pair of assists in 38 games played.
“We all want to get back to playing hockey,” Thrower noted. “But our collective health is more important right now. We have a great group of guys coming back this year, and we have added a few players that can help us make a big push. I am excited to get back after it.”
Nick Bligh’s numbers were down last season, and Coach Pyle mentioned that “he ran in to a few injuries last year and having him back healthy is a big plus for us.” The coach praised the forward as “one of the best goal scorers that I have ever had. He will be a big part of our success going forward.”
Bligh is a 27-year-old forward from Boston, Massachusetts. He played four seasons at Dartmouth College from 2012 to 2016, and tallied 42 points (19 goals, 23 assists) over that span. Bligh made his professional debut with the South Carolina Stingrays in 2016, and has played in 187 ECHL games since. The forward played for five other ECHL teams, and even made one appearance in the AHL with the Syracuse Crunch. He signed with Atlanta for the 2018-2019 season and had his best season as a professional. Bligh set career highs in games played (51), goals (22), assists (22), and points (44). In a season mired by injury last year, he tallied 15 points (8 goals, 7 assists) in 30 games played.
“Both Josh and Nick bring a different skillset to our team, but each is important to our future,” said Gladiators team president Jerry James. “We are excited to see how Josh can continue to grow into his role. A healthy Nick Bligh will be an offensive weapon for a roster already filled with scoring talent.”