DULUTH, Ga. - The Atlanta Gladiators announced today that forward Eric Neiley has retired and will serve as the next assistant coach for the club. Neiley, 31, takes over as assistant coach for the Gladiators following seven seasons in the ECHL, five coming with Atlanta. In 265 total games with the franchise, Neiley sits second all-time in goals scored (103), seventh in assists (95), and fifth in points produced (198). Elsewhere in the ECHL, he has skated with both the Adirondack Thunder and Jacksonville Icemen.
"I came to Atlanta eight years ago as a rookie trying to make a career in professional hockey," Eric Neiley commented. "Now after five unforgettable seasons with the Glads, Atlanta is home. I’ll certainly miss putting on that jersey, but couldn’t be more excited to start this new journey. Special thanks to Jeff Pyle for everything he’s done for me as a player, and as I make the transition to the coaching staff. It’s pretty cool to have the opportunity to begin this new chapter with Nezzy [Derek Nesbitt], someone I played with for so many years. We both want nothing more than to bring a championship to Atlanta, and we will continue to strive for that, just now, from behind the bench. I can’t wait for this season to get started!"
Prior to turning pro, Neiley played with Dartmouth College for four seasons, appearing in 129 total games, totaling 94 points (45g-49a). The Warminster Township, Pennsylvania native also played in the American Hockey League, skating with the Providence Bruins on two separate occasions.
"Neils [Eric Neiley] is one of my favorite teammates I’ve had in my career," Gladiators head coach Derek Nesbitt said. "As much as I was really looking forward to having him as part of my team as a player, I’m equally excited to get to work with him day in and day out as a coaching partner. The only reason he is finished playing is because of how hard he played. Plain and simple, and that’s pretty honorable. He has put his body on the line night in night out for this organization for five seasons, and has always been committed to the team's success. It’s a no-brainer to keep him on as an important part of our team. Congratulations to him and his wife Tam on an awesome playing career, and I’m excited about being part of the next chapter in the game with the both of them."
The Gladiators season begins on October 21st, at 7pm, at Gas South Arena, for a highly anticipated matchup against the division rival Savannah Ghost Pirates.