Atlanta Gladiators hockey fan suing team for $15K

But the team’s new owners say they aren’t responsible for a fans contest that happened before they took over the ECHL franchise.
Published: Mar. 7, 2023 at 10:34 AM EST|Updated: Mar. 9, 2023 at 11:15 AM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Back on Feb. 1, 2020, Blaine Byers won a drawing at an Atlanta Gladiators game for a luxury vacation to Costa Rica. Three years later, he’s yet to receive his prize, and now he’s suing the team in Gwinnett County Magistrate Court, claiming the team defaulted on the prize.

But lawyers for the team’s new owners, Atlanta Gladiators Hockey Group LLC, say they are not responsible because they were not the owners at that time. Alex Campbell and Anson Carter purchased the Gladiators in September 2022.

The game and the drawing happened a month and a half before the Covid-19 pandemic canceled the remainder of the Gladiators’ minor league, ECHL season.

After the first goal, fans hurled thousands of stuffed teddy bears onto the ice for the team’s annual “Teddy Bear Toss” for children’s charities.

Later in the game, the Gladiators held a drawing it promoted on its Facebook page. Any fan who purchased a ticket was eligible for the drawing and the prize included first-class tickets on Delta Air Lines, plus limousine transportation to a luxury vacation home in Costa Rica.


Byers, a long-time Gladiators fan, said he’d never won a contest before and was shocked when the announcer drew his name out of a hat.

“It was one of the coolest nights of my life for sure,” Byers said, “I kind of looked at my wife and said, ‘Oh my gosh, they just said my name!’ ”

Byers’ wife posted it on social media. “Sounds like a win-win for me!”

The excitement didn’t last.

“Monday rolls around and nobody calls, so I called them on Tuesday, and they act like they don’t know who I was or what was going on,” Byers said.

After Atlanta News First Investigates aired Byer’s story in April 2022, then-Gladiators President Jerry James provided Byers with two first-class Delta Air Lines vouchers but stopped short of providing the trip’s remainder.

Days turned into weeks and now, three years later, Byers isn’t giving up.

The law firm representing the team’s new owners are requesting Byers withdraw his lawsuit because the incident happened prior to their ownership.

The law firm representing the team owners said it “has recently been made aware of the lawsuit initiated by Mr. Byers against Atlanta Gladiators Hockey Group LLC. The facts alleged in the lawsuit occurred prior to the current ownership’s acquisition of the team in 2022, and the current ownership has no relationship with the named defendant. As this is an ongoing legal matter, we have no further comment at this time.”

“It’s crazy to me that it’s taken this long to get this far,” Byers said. “They could have done the right thing so many times.”


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