Gladiators honor former captain Flache

Paul Flache

Paul Flache

DULUTH -- Paul Flache, who played in 236 games over five seasons in Gwinnett, announced his retirement during the summer. On Friday night, the former defenseman and captain got his official send-off from the Gladiators.

Flache participated in the unveiling of Gwinnett's ECHL South Division championship banner prior to the game and then was honored during the first-period intermission of the home opener against Ontario in the Arena at Gwinnett Center.

The 6-foot-6 Canadian ranks third all-time in games played for Gwinnett and is among the leaders in penalty minutes with 371. He had 26 points and an even plus/minus rating over 57 games in his final season.

The former Atlanta Thrashers draft pick may no longer be playing, but he hasn't left the game or Gwinnett. He runs a training program and coaches the Duluth IceForum's U16 Thunder travel team.

Flache, 30, was selected by the Thrashers in the fifth round of the 2002 NHL Draft, but never progressed past the AHL during a career beset by injuries. He played in Europe before returning to Gwinnett for his final two seasons.-- Guy Curtright