Duluth, GA - The Gladiators invited four players who currently play professionally in China to this year’s camp. They will work with Atlanta’s players and coaching staff, to further elevate their game with North American players. With this year’s team containing players with experience as high as the AHL, they will have opportunities to help further improve hockey in China, as their country prepares for the upcoming Winter Olympics.
All four players are currently members of the China Golden Dragons in the Czech3 League. Invited to camp are three 18-year old players in Ruinan Yan, a lefty defenseman, plus three right-handed shooting forwards in Jianing Guo, Yuyang Hou, as well as 24-year-old Cheng Zhang. Zhang brings the most experience with six seasons in the Asia League who bring in top talent from all over the world. Glad's alum Jon Awe, who finished his career here with the Gladiators in 2012-13, played three seasons there for the Anyang Halla from 2008-2011.
Gladiators Head Coach Jeff Pyle said on the players joining his training camp, “We are excited to have the opportunity to create an experience that will help these players develop both on and off the ice. This is a chance for them to see what we are doing, how we do it and an opportunity to experience a pro hockey camp. I want them to enjoy the experience and not feel any pressure. We have a great group of people willing to help and we know they will enjoy the great city of Atlanta and all it has to offer and are excited to be part of this opportunity."
As the host country, China brings the Olympics back to Beijing, however it will be the first time the country will host the Winter Olympics and want to bring their game to the next level. With the steep competition they will face in 2022, China wants to put together a competitive team for their home country on the world stage.
“The players will experience one of the most diverse counties in the country, with Gwinnett having a very big Pan-Asian community. This is not only great for the Atlanta Gladiators but the entire Atlanta Metro Area. We are very pleased they have selected the Gladiators to send players here to develop their hockey skills. As we continue to climb to new levels of diversity and inclusion here in Atlanta, we are very proud to host these players. If it makes them better, it makes us better as an organization and we are glad to have them here,” said Gladiators Team President Jerry James.
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.