The Gwinnett Gladiators have announced that Andy Brandt, who has served as the team’s interim head coach since December 2nd, has been named Head Coach and General Manager of Hockey Operations for the 2015-2016 season. The announcement was made to Gladiators Full Season Ticket Holders at a team event on Tuesday evening.
“This season’s slide has been difficult on all of us. What we have seen from Andy is that he possesses the tools, the qualities and the character that are needed to return the Glads to the winning tradition that we have earned in the past.,” said Gladiators Chairman and Majority Owner Toby Jeffreys. “We feel that Andy can build a team of highly motivated players that care about each other and about our organization. In our discussions and analysis over the past few months, we have come to realize that we simply needed to take the construction of the team in a new direction.”
Over the past month, the Gladiators have nearly completely re-tooled the make-up of the team roster through trades and the signing of college prospects with a focus on the 2015-2016 season. Several trades that were made include key futures acquisitions that will take place at the conclusion of the ECHL playing season. In total, the Gladiators have brought in 11 new players in the past month including five collegiate players to begin to assess their potential impact for next season. The Gladiators are also owed a total of 8 players currently playing in the ECHL via trades made in the past month.
“I am extremely honored to be named Head Coach and to take on the duties of General Manager of Hockey Operations,” said Brandt. “I am very thankful for this opportunity. I look forward to building upon the tradition of excellence that was instilled in me during my career here. This is an exciting challenge as we plan and work to return Gladiators hockey back to the level of success that we expect. I am committed to the individual success of our players and I want each player that returns or comes to the Glads to know that they will be an integral part of restoring our winning tradition.”
Previous to his coaching appointment, Brandt played five full seasons for the Gladiators after his graduation from the University of Wisconsin, where he played in all four seasons of his eligibility and was a member of a NCAA National Championship team in 2006. Brandt is the all-time games played leader for the Gladiators with a total of 385 matches in a Glads uniform, wearing a letter in all five seasons with the team. He has also played 14 games in the American Hockey League.
“Clearly our focus is on building a better team for next season. There is no moving forward without understanding the path that led us to where we are,” said Gladiators President Steve Chapman. “Clearly, our on-ice product has not been performing to the level that we expect as an organization. No one is more frustrated with that fact than our ownership group and Andy. No one. There are a number of factors involved and – to play the blame game – there are a number of directions, including at me, to point fingers. That blame is deserved and we are all accountable. But, while these past two seasons have not been what we expect, I think that our overall track record proves our organization’s standard. We decided that the best path to get us back to that level that we expect is to make wholesale changes in our personnel and to begin to build for the 2015-2016 season. We are going to return the team to the level of higher expectations and results that has been our identity. We expect that change to occur next season and we believe in Andy’s abilities and that he is going to get the job done. He has shown a tremendous amount of leadership and intestinal fortitude as we have gone through this season. We believe that he will prove his abilities to the fans with the team that he assembles, motivates and coaches going forward.”
The Gladiators are members of the ECHL, the nation’s premier “AA” hockey league, and are affiliated with the Arizona Coyotes of the NHL. All home games are played at the 11,355-seat Arena at Gwinnett Center, located just off I-85 on Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth – where parking is always free.
As Atlanta’s “One and Only” professional hockey team, the Gladiators have established an extraordinary winning tradition and unrivaled commitment to excellence, maintaining a distinctive reputation for affordable and family-friendly sports entertainment. The Gladiators are consistently ranked as one of the top “Things To Do” in the Atlanta area and across the North Georgia region.