Gladiators Welcome Gary Martin Hays to Ownership Group

October 24, 2008 - ECHL (ECHL) - Atlanta Gladiators News Release

The Gwinnett Gladiators announced today that Gary Martin Hays has joined their partnership group, Gwinnett County Hockey, LLC, as a minority partner in the organization. Gary Martin Hays is the founding partner of the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates, a law firm that specializes in personal injury law with offices in Duluth and Athens. Gary joins a partnership of nine local Atlanta-area businessmen, whose managing member is Toby Jeffreys.

Gary first became involved with the Gladiators as a season ticket holder with the team, later becoming a corporate partner with the organization. In the past few years, in addition to sponsoring the team, he and the Gladiators have worked hand-in-hand on a number of charitable and community-oriented programs including involvement with the Gwinnett County Relay for Life Children's Walk and the Dream House for Medically Fragile Children. After working with the organization and its members on several fronts, Gary expressed his interest to the team in becoming an ownership partner.

"After getting to know Gary through his involvement with our team and our joint efforts in various community related projects, we felt not only comfortable with him as an individual, but very proud that he would want to join our organization as a partner," said Gladiators President Steve Chapman. "Gary is a great fit with our partnership group and brings with him a wealth of knowledge and insight from his experience in marketing and building one of the most successful law firms in the country."

Gary attended Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, graduating in 1986 with a B.A. in Political Science, and a minor in African-American and African Studies. He then attended the Walter F. George School of Law of Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. Because of his outstanding academic achievements, he was selected as a member of the Mercer Law Review. While at Mercer, he was elected Vice-President of the Student Bar Association. He was also the recipient of the Class of 1977 Scholarship Award. He is licensed to practice in all of the State and Superior Courts of Georgia, the Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court of Georgia. He is also licensed in Federal Court before the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. He is a Champion Member of the Georgia Trial Lawyers' Association as well as a Champion Member of the Civil Justice PAC.

"I definitely was not raised an ice hockey fan as I grew up in very rural towns in south Alabama," said Gary. "But after attending just one Gwinnett Gladiators game, I was hooked on the sport as it is so fast paced and hard hitting. Now I love watching the reactions of other people after they attend their first game. They walk out saying "That was fun. It was nothing like I expected. We have to come back." I am so proud to be a part of this first class, winning organization because of their success on the ice, as well as their desire to be a great corporate citizen in our community."

Gary was awarded Georgia Trial Lawyer's Community Service Award in 2007 for his charitable endeavors for the American Cancer Society, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, and Dream House for Medically Fragile Children. Gary has also served on the Advisory Council for Mothers Against Drunk Driving in Georgia. He has helped raise over $3.5 million for charities, given away 1,000 bicycle helmets and 14 college scholarships, and supported numerous youth sports teams.

"I'm very happy to welcome Gary as a partner," said Gladiators Managing Member Toby Jeffreys. "He shares with us our vision of providing first-class and affordable family entertainment to the Metro Atlanta community and he also shares our passion for helping others. He'll be a great addition to our team here and we're glad to have him involved."

Gary, his wife Sheri and their three daughters live in Duluth.

The Gladiators continue the 2008-09 season on Tuesday, October 28th at the Arena at Gwinnett Center as they host the Charlotte Checkers at 7:05 p.m.

Began in 1988-89 with five teams playing in four states, the Premier 'AA' Hockey League has grown into a coast-to-coast league that will have 23 teams in 16 states and British Columbia playing 864 games from Oct. 17, 2008 to Apr. 4, 2009. Eighteen of the 23 teams have played at least five years in their current city.

The third-longest tenured professional hockey league behind only the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League, the ECHL averaged 4,174 per game last season, marking the fourth year in row and the 16th time in the last 18 years that the league has averaged over 4,000 fans. The league has drawn over four million fans each of the last five years and 11 times in the past 12 seasons.

The Gwinnett Gladiators continue their sixth season as a proud member of the ECHL - season ticket packages are on sale now. In addition, the Gladiators offer several unique multi-game ticket packages as well as discounted group rates, suite rentals, and birthday parties. For more information call 770-497-5100 or log on to gwinnettgladiators.com.

The Gladiators are the AA affiliate of the Atlanta Thrashers and play all home games at the spectacular 11,355-seat Arena at Gwinnett Center, located just off I-85 on Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth, where parking is always free.

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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