This year is the 15th anniversary of the Atlanta Gladiators and with the start of a new season, the Atlanta Gladiators also have a new head coach. We got a chance to catch up with Mr. Chuck Weber to ask him some questions about getting to know the team and his love for the sport.
Okay, we have to ask: Why do you DiG hockey? What drew you to the sport?
Chuck Weber: Love everything about the sport. Speed. Contact. Teamwork.
How many years have you coached hockey at this level?
CW: In the ECHL: 4 years as an assistant, 5 years as head coach.
How would you describe your coaching style?
CW: I Like to play aggressive on offense while playing responsible defensively. Communication with individual players is a key component and managing different personalities allows you to try to keep everyone on same page. I feel I am a demanding coach but try to be fair. I have high expectations & want this group to strive to be their best every day.
As this is your first year with the team, what is your relationship with the team like?
CW: Still getting to know the guys, as I didn’t sign most of the guys. They are a great group of guys who want to get better every day. I look forward to working with them.
You’ve coached all over the country and even abroad. How is this team different? What makes them special to you?
CW: Every team is different and has their individual personality. So we are still evaluating and shaping this team everyday.
We know that juggling general management and coaching duties can be a lot for some, how do you plan on handling both?
CW: They are demanding roles. They require a lot of hours and little sleep. So a lot of coffee and organization are key.
The Gladiators were in the playoff mix consistently for a while but have missed the playoffs the past few years. How will your experience as a coach, having won two Kelly Cup titles and a coach of the year distinction, help this team to become a contender again?
CW: I hope I can lean on some of my experiences from my 19 years of coaching. There will be highs and lows and it is about managing those.
How long have you been in the area and what are some of your favorite eats, art, and events in Gwinnett? Do you have any “bucket list” items in the area that you’d like to check off?
CW: I have seen the rink and my place. See question six, haha.
For people who have never been to a Gladiators game or even a hockey game at all, how would you convince someone to come out to a game?
CW: Hockey is fastest game on two feet. It is a game you have to see live to appreciate. It has all elements of physicality and speed any sports fan would love.
Lastly, what’s your outlook on this season and your future with the franchise?
CW: We will work to get better every day and maximize this group’s potential.
Catch Chuck and his Atlanta Gladiators at Infinite Energy Arena for some fast-paced fun. You can find their schedule online at www.atlantagladiators.com.