DULUTH, Ga. - The Atlanta Gladiators announced today that the club has signed defenseman Anthony Firriolo and forward Jackson Pierson to contracts for the 2023-24 season.
Firriolo, 25, joins the Gladiators following a brief stint with the Jacksonville Icemen last season, where he played five games, adding one assist.
The 5-11 blue liner has an impressive collegiate resume, producing 75 points (22g-53a) across 123 games with Army West Point, serving as captain his senior season. Firriolo led all Army defenders in scoring his junior and senior seasons, while also being named to the Atlantic Hockey Association All-Second Team both years.
"Anthony is coming to us from West Point where he was the captain and also drove a lot of their offense even as a defenseman," head coach Derek Nesbitt said. "It was clear early on that Anthony is a character guy who isn’t afraid to put the work in and be a good teammate. From watching video, his offensive ability and skill-set combined with his skating are a huge plus for us. He wants to learn, is really excited to learn the pro game, and just loves hockey from my talks with him."
Pierson, 23, also joins the Gladiators following a quick stint in the ECHL, skating in six games with the Fort Wayne Komets this past season.
In college, Pierson played four seasons with the University of New Hampshire, recording 88 points (31g-57a) in 115 games. In 2020-21, Pierson led the Wildcats in scoring, piling up 25 points (9g-16a) and was named a Second Team Hockey East All-Star.
The next year, which would be his final as a Wildcat, the forward was named alternate captain, totaled a career high in goals (12), and won the Len Ceglarski Individual Sportsmanship Award for the Hockey East Association.
Following his senior season, the Zionsville, Indiana, native joined the University of Notre Dame as a graduate transfer. In 31 games as a member of the Irish, Pierson put up nine points (1g-8a).
"Jackson put up some impressive college numbers in his four years at the University of New Hampshire and one season at Notre Dame," head coach Derek Nesbitt remarked. "Once he was at Notre Dame for his fifth year, he was put in a checking role and openly accepted it. To me, that’s a good team guy who expanded his game, which guys need to be able to do at the professional level. From watching video you can see he has high hockey IQ, is solid on face-offs, and is a plus skater with quick feet. With his numbers in college you know there is an offensive upside in there as well."
Anthony Firriolo and Jackson Pierson now join Dylan Carabia, Ryan Cranford, Brayden Crowder, Evan Dougherty, Tyler Harmon, Mitch Fossier, Cody Sylvester, and Mitch Walinski as players to have signed with the Gladiators for the 2023-24 season.
Photo credits belong to the University of Notre Dame and the Jacksonville Icemen.