Dacula native Malcolm Hayes, right, signed with the Atlanta Gladiators after finishing his college career at the University of Alaska-Anchorage.

Atlanta Gladiators president Jerry James and head coach Jeff Pyle announced on Wednesday that two-way player Malcolm Hayes and defenseman Zach Yoder have agreed to terms for the 2021-2022 season.

“Atlanta is continuing to build on a rich hockey tradition,” said James. “Hockey and the Atlanta Gladiators are embedded in our community’s identity, and we could not be more excited to sign two local products with such bright futures.”

Hayes, a 26-year-old Atlanta native, is entering his third year of professional hockey. The Georgian most recently played 12 games with the Birmingham Bulls in the Southern Professional Hockey League last season. During his rookie campaign in 2019-20, Hayes split time between the SPHL’s Fayetteville Marksmen and the Kansas City Mavericks in the ECHL.

Yoder, a 26-year-old Woodstock native, also enters his third season of professional hockey. The defenseman turned pro in the 2019-20 season with the Toledo Walleye in the ECHL. Last season, Yoder skated in eight games with the Huntsville Havoc in the Southern Professional Hockey League.

“Both Hayes and Yoder are great players from the Atlanta area ready to make their mark in pro hockey,” said Pyle. “I’m excited to finally get a chance to work with them.”

Prior to turning pro, the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Hayes played collegiately at the University of Maine and at the University of Alaska-Anchorage. The Atlanta native skated in 88 NCAA Division I games while at Maine and Alaska-Anchorage.

Yoder was a local standout at Woodstock High School where he earned three letters on the ice for the Wolverines and two on the lacrosse field.

Prior to his professional start, the 6-foot-5, 195-pound Yoder played four seasons of NCAA Division I hockey. The blueliner played one season at the Air Force Academy before transferring to Ferris State University. During three campaigns with the Bulldogs, the defenseman skated in 98 contests, recorded five goals and 16 assists, and amassed 124 penalty minutes.

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