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28-Year-Old Defenseman Returns For Third Stint In Atlanta

DULUTH, Ga. - The Atlanta Gladiators announced today that the club has signed defenseman Jacob Graves to an ECHL contract for the 2023-24 season.

Graves, 28, played parts of the last two seasons in Atlanta, appearing in 23 total games and recording four assists (0g-4a). This past year, Graves posted ECHL career highs in both assists (13) and points (15) in 31 games following a trade to the Fort Wayne Komets.

Prior to turning pro, Graves played six seasons in the Ontario Hockey League, accruing 42 points (3g-39a) in 281 total games with the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors, Mississauga Steelheads, Kingston Frontenacs, Oshawa Generals, and London Knights.

In what would be his last season in the OHL, the 6-2, 190-pound defenseman won the J. Ross Robertson Cup with the aforementioned Knights in 2015-16, skating in all 18 playoff games, and recording 10 assists. Graves has American Hockey League experience as well, appearing in 42 games with the Cleveland Monsters in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons.

"It was a really tough day for everyone when Gravy [Jacob Graves] got moved last year," Gladiators head coach Derek Nesbitt said. "A tough situation where he was the guy another team picked due to a prior trade where we owed a player. We knew what he brought to the team as a great teammate on and off the ice. You could really feel that presence gone when he left, which makes it that much more special to have him back. Gravy even put together his best offensive production last season, which will only add to his overall confidence as a veteran player for us. We couldn’t be happier to see him back in a Gladiator jersey."

Jacob Graves joins Dylan Carabia, Ryan Cranford, Brayden Crowder, Evan Dougherty, Tyler Harmon, Anthony Firriolo, Mitch Fossier, Jackson Pierson, Adam Samuelsson, Cody Sylvester, Alex Whelan, Mitch Walinski, and Zach Yoder as players to have signed with the Gladiators for the 2023-24 season.