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Loss of Thrashers is Gwinnett Gladiators' gain

10:32 AM, Dec 28, 2011   |    comments
  • Thrasher fans turn to Gwinnett Gladiators for hockey fix.
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DULUTH, Ga. -- The minor league Gwinnett Gladiators are seeing a boost in ticket sales following the sale of the Atlanta Thrashers six months ago.

Full season ticket sales are up 20 percent, according to Gladiators General Manager Steve Chapman.

Chapman said walk-up ticket sales are also up, and there's still a lot of hockey left to play with the halfway mark for the season about two weeks away.

"The biggest indication will be what happens [now]," Chapman said. "In the South, the hockey season doesn't start until after Christmas because it's football until then. After Christmas, hockey takes off."

It's easier to draw in more fans when you're winning. The team's in first place the South Division in the ECHL, which is hockey's equivalent to AA baseball.

New Head Coach John Wroblewski said watching minor league hockey can be more exciting than major league.

"It's a very hard-working group of guys who band together, stick up for each other," Wroblewski said. "That's not something you always see in the major leagues, pro football or in this case, the NHL."

The Gladiators are planning a few wacky promotions to fill seats. For Wednesday night's game against the South Carolina Stingrays, the theme is "Festivus for the Rest of Us," a play on a Seinfeld episode from the late 1990's.

The promotion will include a Festivus Pole, the Airing of Grievances and Feats of Strength throughout the game.

Other promotions this season will center around stretching your dollar with ticket deals and cheap merchandise.

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