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ECHL: Atlanta Gladiators’ Eric Neiley returns to the ice

ECHL: Atlanta Gladiators’ Eric Neiley returns to the ice

Last August, the Atlanta Gladiators announced Eric Neiley’s retirement from professional hockey. The move brought a range of emotions to Neiley and many dedicated Atlanta fans, as Neiley went from playing on the ice with the team to taking on the role of assistant head coach.

But Neiley’s time as a player with the Atlanta Gladiators isn’t over yet. The team announced today that the veteran player is making his comeback from retirement and will be back on the ice with the Atlanta Gladiators for the 2024-25 season. In a press release from the Atlanta Gladiators, Neiley said, “I’m looking forward to trading in my suits for skates. Injuries played a major role in my initial hiatus, but after a year of rehab and strengthening, I feel better than ever. I look forward to getting back on the court, in front of our fans in October, and doing everything I can to help us get back to winning ways.”

Neiley made an impact on the Gladiators and, in total, he played 265 games with the team over the last five years. He held the position of Atlanta’s second-leading scorer of all time, scoring a total of 103 goals during his time with the team. Additionally, at the time of his retirement, he ranked seventh in total assists, providing 95, and fifth in total points with 198.

During his final season with the Gladiators, Neiley played in 50 games, contributing 25 goals and 19 assists, accumulating a total of 44 points. In addition to his time with the Gladiators, Neiley also played for the Adirondack Thunder and the Jacksonville Icemen. Additionally, he showcased his talents in the American Hockey League (AHL) while playing for the Providence Bruins.

The Gladiators will open their season at home against the Indy Fuel on Saturday, October 19.

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Karen Zehner

Credentialed writer covering the ECHL’s Atlanta Gladiators. Dive into the world of slapshots, penalties and the game we love. (@RunwithK) on social media.