DULUTH -- Gwinnett Gladiators president Steve Chapman announced Friday that the candidates for the team's coaching search have been narrowed to three finalists: Steve Weeks, Leigh Mendelson and John Wroblewski.
The organization plans to name their second head coach in team history to replace Jeff Pyle within the next seven days. Pyle was named the head coach of the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League on July 13.
Over the past two weeks, the Gladiators received over 50 inquiries from interested applicants concerning the position. After a detailed preliminary review and screening process, the list was narrowed to about a dozen candidates for phone interviews.
"The sheer number and quality of the applicants was quite impressive," said Chapman. "It was very difficult to pare the applicants down to a workable number, but that is certainly a good problem to have. It's also a tribute to the solid reputation established by the Gladiators organization within the professional hockey community to see such a large number of qualified coaches express their interest in leading this team."
Weeks served as an assistant coach for the Atlanta Thrashers for eight seasons from 2001-2010. Prior to his time with the Thrashers, Weeks spent eight seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes (and previously Hartford Whalers) organization from 1993 to 2001 as an assistant coach and scout. He played 13 NHL seasons from 1980 to 1993 with the New York Rangers, Hartford Whalers, Los Angeles Kings, Ottawa Senators, Vancouver Canucks and the New York Islanders. Prior to turning pro, he played four seasons at Northern Michigan University where he helped the Wildcats to the 1980 "Frozen Four."
Mendelson was an assistant coach with the Utah Grizzlies last year during the 2010-2011 season and he helped the Grizzlies advance to the Western Conference Semifinals before falling to the Victoria Salmon Kings. He served as an interim head coach with the Norfolk Admirals of the AHL during the 2009-10 season posting a 7-7-2 record during his time behind the bench. He was also an assistant with the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies during the 2001-2002 season.
Wroblewski served as an assistant coach for the Wheeling Nailers last season and helped the Nailers advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. Prior to that, he served as an Assistant Head Coach for the United States National Development Team from 2007