By the time most fans have left, it#s been a long day for the players. The people who filled the seats think only in terms of the three periods it takes to play a hockey game, but, for the players, the game began much earlier in the day. Take a look at a typical game-day schedule for Gwinnett Gladiators forward Kris Goodjohn:
8 a.m. # Alarm goes off&up for breakfast!
9 a.m. # Off to the rink.
10 a.m. – 11 a.m. # Pre-game skate # get the hands and legs going and have a little fun on the ice to relax.
11 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. # Stretch out and have an ice bath.
12 p.m. – 12: 45 p.m. # Pre-game lunch&usually at the Olive Garden!
2 p.m. – 4 p.m. # Pre-game nap.
4 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. # A little snack of toast or cereal and get the suit and tie on.
5 p.m. – Arrive at the rink.
5 p.m. – 6:55 p.m. # Warm up, stretch out, get equipment ready for game.
6:55 p.m. – 7:15 p.m. # Pre-game warm-up.
7:30 p.m. # Game time!
It#s a schedule that will begin all over again for Goodjohn and the other players this October when the Gladiator#s second season faces off. Building upon last year#s stellar season, this year promises to be just as good, if not better.
#We had a great group of guys last year # we all got along really well, and I don#t see it being any different this year,# said Goodjohn.
During the Gladiator#s inaugural year, the team made it to the Western Conference Final and set all time team highs for wins, road wins and points during the year. They also made the best playoff run in the team#s history. In previous years as the Mobile Mysticks, the team only made it to the second round once during the 2000-01 season and never advanced further. This past season, they not only got to the second round, but they also defeated the Louisiana IceGators, 3 games to 1.
#This year#s outlook is even bigger and better. We#re building on last year#s success as ECHL Central Division champions and going from there,# said General Manager Steve Chapman.
#For me, it#s about taking last year and learning from that. We#re planning on having more big nights and events geared towards families and businesses. The fans enjoy watching the Gladiators play, and we want to add even more fun to the experience,# said Chapman.
Out of the 36 home games, 21 of those are scheduled for either a Friday or Saturday, making for more family friendly dates.
Chapman expects the upcoming team won#t be quite as young as it was last year, but that it will have better experience and be an exciting, well-coached team.
The Gladiator#s second season begins on the road, with the first home game on October 29 at the Arena against rival team, the Augusta Lynx.
#Jeff (Pyle, head coach) did such a good job last year of putting a great team together # I don#t see that changing at all this year. We#re going to have a great team and year,# said Goodjohn.