The Syracuse Crunch are a professional ice hockey team in the American Hockey League (AHL). They play in Syracuse, New York, at the Oncenter War Memorial Arena. They are the primary development affiliate of the National Hockey League's Tampa Bay Lightning.
|2018–19 AHL season|
|City||Syracuse, New York|
|League||American Hockey League|
|Home arena||Oncenter War Memorial Arena|
|Colors||Blue, white, silver, black|
|General manager||Stacy Roest|
|Head coach||Benoit Groulx|
|Affiliates||Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL)|
Orlando Solar Bears (ECHL)
|Division Championships||4 (2001–02, 2012–13, 2016–17, 2018–19)|
|Conference Championships||2 (2012–13, 2016–17)|
The franchise originated in 1992 as the Hamilton Canucks, which were an affiliate of the NHL's Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks played in Hamilton, Ontario, for two seasons, before relocating to upstate New York in 1994. They were then renamed the 'Crunch' in a public vote of five names. Soon the team was among the most popular of the AHL, leading the league in sellouts in 1996–97 and 1997–98. After the relocation from Hamilton was complete, the Crunch remained the AHL farm team of the Canucks until 2000 – with also a season hosting Pittsburgh Penguins players in 1997–98 – when it switched its NHL affiliation to the newly formed Columbus Blue Jackets, an affiliation it retained for a decade, before the Jackets switched their affiliation to the Springfield Falcons in 2010. The Crunch then spent two seasons affiliated with the Anaheim Ducks before signing a multi-year affiliation deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning effective for the 2012–13 season. In the first year of the new partnership, the team reached the 2013 Calder Cup Finals, losing to the Grand Rapids Griffins. The team also reached the Calder Cup Finals again in 2017, facing Grand Rapids once again. The result was the same, as the Griffins took the series in 6 games and won the series 4-2.
On March 17, 2002, the Crunch played against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. This game was infamously named the "St. Patrick's Day Massacre". The Crunch piled up 124 penalty minutes, 80 of which were fighting related penalty minutes. The Penguins racked up 162 penalty minutes, 102 of which were fighting related penalties. There were 202 penalty minutes related to fighting and a grand total of 286 penalty minutes all together. The Crunch won the game 4-0.
At the time of defeat, the Syracuse Crunch were the 12th team to blow a 3-1 series lead and the fourth of the 12 to lose on home ice. They had a 3-1 series advantage in the Division Semifinals Round of 2004 Calder Cup Playoffs over the Rochester Americans before losing game 7 in overtime. The Crunch easily could've won the game, but Crunch forward Kent McDonnell missed an empty net. Amerks goalie Ryan Miller was caught out of position on the empty net. Rochester then stormed down the ice on an odd-man rush and Norm Milley beat Crunch goalie Karl Goehring to win the game in overtime and the series. They also blew a 3-1 series lead four years later in the 2008 Calder Cup Playoffs against the Toronto Marlies.
The Crunch played the first outdoor game in AHL history on February 20, 2010, against the Binghamton Senators. The Mirabito Outdoor Classic took place at the Grandstand at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse. The game set an AHL attendance record of 21,508. Syracuse won the game 2–1.
At the end of the 2012–13 regular season, Tyler Johnson was named league MVP. He was the first MVP in Crunch history. He totaled 65 points, scoring 37 goals and assisted on 28 goals. At the end of the season he was awarded the President's Award for outstanding accomplishments on the ice.
On November 22, 2014, the Syracuse Crunch set a new United States Indoor Professional Hockey attendance record by playing in front of 30,715 fans at the Carrier Dome for the "Toyota Frozen Dome Classic". Syracuse defeated the Utica Comets 2–1.
On May 5, 2018, the Syracuse Crunch played their longest game in team history, which the Crunch lost 2–1 in double overtime to the Toronto Marlies. The game lasted 95 minutes and 10 seconds. The Crunch previously played two double overtime games, both in the 2017 Calder Cup playoffs. They played a double overtime game in round 1 against the St. John's IceCaps, resulting in a 4–3 double overtime win. That game lasted 90 minutes and 37 seconds, their previous record. They also played another double overtime game in the 2017 Calder Cup Finals, a 6–5 loss in double overtime to the Grand Rapids Griffins, lasting 87 minutes and 2 seconds.
- 1992–2000: Vancouver Canucks
- 1997–1999: Pittsburgh Penguins
- 2000–2010: Columbus Blue Jackets
- 2010–2012: Anaheim Ducks
- 2012–present: Tampa Bay Lightning
Syracuse hockey historyEdit
American Hockey League teams that played in Syracuse:
- Syracuse Stars (1930–1936) in the Original IHL
- Syracuse Stars (1936–1940) in the IAHL – The first team to win the Calder Cup in (1936–37)
- Syracuse Warriors (1951–1954)
- Syracuse Eagles (1974–75)
- Syracuse Firebirds (1979–80)
Other hockey teams that played in Syracuse:
- Syracuse Braves (1962–1963) (EPHL)
- Syracuse Blazers (1967–1973) (EHL)
- Syracuse Blazers (1973–1977) (NAHL)
- Syracuse Condors (Granted a franchise by the NAHL for 1977–78 season, but the league folded and the team never played a game)
- Syracuse Hornets (1980–1981) (EHL) – played only ten games (0-9-1)
- Syracuse Jr. Crunch/Syracuse Stars (1996–2005) in the Metro Junior A Hockey League and Ontario Provincial Junior A Hockey League
Logos and uniformsEdit
Owner Howard Dolgon came up with the superhero mascot Crunchman for the team's debut in 1994. In 2000, as the Crunch became an affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Crunchman was replaced with Al the Ice Gorilla. Al remained until 2012, when Dolgon found the new affiliation with Tampa Bay a good reason to return with Crunchman.
The Crunch raised a banner following a fan vote during the team's fifth season in honor of fan favorite #14 "Big Bad" John Badduke. It is not retired, as it would later be worn by former United States Olympian Darby Hendrickson, Serge Aubin, Richard Panik, Justin Courtnall, Brandon Alderson, Mike McNamee and most recently, Kevin Lynch
During the 2008–09 AHL season, the team temporarily reserved, but not retired, #7 as a tribute to Paul Newman after his death. This honors Reg Dunlop, the player-coach for the fictional Charlestown Chiefs, which Newman played in the movie Slap Shot. The movie was filmed partially at Onondaga County War Memorial. Coincidentally, other scenes were filmed at Cambria County War Memorial Arena in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, the home ice of the Crunch's former ECHL affiliate, the Johnstown Chiefs. The banner was raised October 14 and was up for the entire season, but the number was not retired, as it was most recently worn by Crunch player Mathieu Joseph in the 2017-18 season.
On March 26, 2016, the Syracuse Crunch retired Dolph Schayes' number #4. Schayes played for the Syracuse Nationals and their successor, the Philadelphia 76ers. He was the first player in the National Basketball Association to score 15,000 points in his career. This number isn't officially retired, as the number was most recently worn by Matt Petgrave in the 2017-18 season.
Notable NHL alumniEdit
- Adrian Aucoin, Veteran of over 1100 NHL games. %
- Lonny Bohonos, Scored first goal in Crunch history and holds the single season record with 40. %
- Michael Peca, Veteran of over 800 NHL games. %
- Dave Scatchard, Journeyman defenseman in the NHL. %
- Brent Sopel, Journeyman defenseman in the NHL. %
- Scott Walker, Scrappy veteran of over 800 NHL games and recorded 334 penalty minutes in the inaugural Crunch season. %
Columbus Blue Jackets Era (2000–2010):
- Francois Beauchemin, Veteran NHL defenseman who won a Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks. %
- Derick Brassard, 6th overall pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.
- Grant Clitsome, Played for the Columbus Blue Jackets and Winnipeg Jets. %
- Ty Conklin, Veteran NHL goaltender. %
- Derek Dorsett, Enforcer with the Crunch, Blue Jackets, New York Rangers, and Vancouver Canucks. %
- Tim Jackman, Journeyman defenseman in the NHL. %
- Jean-Francois Labbe, AHL Hall of Famer and franchise leader in career shutouts, lowest GAA in a single season (2.18) and highest single season save percentage (.928). %
- Pascal Leclaire, 8th overall pick in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. %
Anaheim Ducks Era (2010–2012):
- Matt Beleskey, NHL grinder, most notably with the Boston Bruins.
- Nick Bonino, 2016 and 2017 Stanley Cup winner with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
- Ray Emery, Led the Ottawa Senators to a Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2007. %
- Patrick Maroon, Grinder in the NHL and 2019 Stanley Cup Champion.
- Kyle Palmieri, Forward for the New Jersey Devils.
Tampa Bay Lightning Era (2012–present):
- Mike Angelidis, Crunch captain from 2012-2016. %
- Mark Barberio, Veteran NHL defenseman.
- J. T. Brown, Forward for the Minnesota Wild.
- Anthony Cirelli, Tampa Bay Lightning forward.
- Cory Conacher, Top-10 point scorer in Crunch history.
- Erik Condra, Crunch captain from 2017-2018.
- Jonathan Drouin, 3rd overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft and forward for the Montreal Canadiens.
- Radko Gudas, Scrappy NHL defenseman with Philadelphia Flyers.
- Yanni Gourde, Forward for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
- Tyler Johnson, First MVP in Crunch history, 2014 Calder Trophy finalist.
- Mathieu Joseph, Forward for the Lightning.
- Alex Killorn, Forward for the Lightning.
- Slater Koekkoek, Defenseman for the Chicago Blackhawks.
- Nikita Kucherov, Forward for the Tampa Bay Lightning, one of the top forwards in the NHL.
- Anders Lindback, Journeyman goalie.
- Jonathan Marchessault, Forward for the Vegas Golden Knights.
- Vladislav Namestnikov, Forward for the Rangers.
- Ondrej Palat, Forward for the Lightning, 2014 Calder Trophy finalist.
- Richard Panik, Forward for the Blackhawks, most penalty minutes in a Crunch postseason (58).
- Cedric Paquette, Forward for the Lightning.
- Brayden Point, Forward for the Lightning.
- Andrej Sustr, Defenseman for the Lightning and Ducks.
- Dustin Tokarski, Journeyman goaltender.
- Andrei Vasilevskiy, Lightning goaltender, one of the top goaltenders in the NHL.
- Luke Witkowski, scrappy defenseman for the Lightning and Detroit Red Wings.
% = Retired player
- Dane Jackson, 1994–1995
- Mark Wotton, 1995–1999
- Brian Bonin, 1999–2000
- Mike Gaul, 2000–2001
- Sean Pronger, 2001–2002
- David Ling, 2002–2003
- Darrel Scoville, 2003–2004
- Jamie Pushor, 2004–2007
- Zenon Konopka, 2007–2008
- Dan Smith, 2008–2009
- Derek MacKenzie, 2009–2010
- Joe DiPenta, 2010–2011
- Nate Guenin, 2011–2012
- Mike Angelidis, 2012–2016
- Luke Witkowski, 2016–2017
- Erik Condra, 2017–2018
- Gabriel Dumont, 2018–present
Current coaching staffEdit
Crunch head coachesEdit
Team awards and recordsEdit
As of the 2018–19 season.
- Vance Lederman (2014–15)
- Howard Dolgon (2013–14)
Single season recordsEdit
- Goals: Lonny Bohonos, 40 (1995–96)
- Assists: Bill Bowler, 58 (2000–01)
- Points: Carter Verhaeghe, 82 (2018–19)
- Penalty minutes: Jody Shelley, 357 (2000–01)
- GAA: Jean-Francois Labbe, 2.18 (2001–02)
- SV%: Jean-Francois Labbe, .928 (2001–02)
Single postseason recordsEdit
- Goals: Lonny Bohonos, 16 (1996)
- Assists: Ondrej Palat, 19 (2013)
- Points: Cory Conacher, 28 (2017)
- Penalty minutes: Richard Panik, 59 (2013)
- Wins: Cedrick Desjardins (2013), Mike McKenna (2017), 13
- GAA: Cedrick Desjardins, 2.30 (2013)
- SV%: Pascal Leclaire, .939 (2006)
- "Lightning to affiliate with AHL's Syracuse Crunch". Tampa Bay Business Journal. Bizjournals.com. 2012-06-14. Retrieved 2013-12-25.
- Mancuso, Jim (2005). Hockey in Syracuse. Arcadia Publishing. p. 109. ISBN 0738538981.
- Central New York. "Blue Jackets all but packed and gone; Dolgon targets new parent club for Crunch". Syracuse.com. Retrieved 2013-12-25.
- Brett Carlsen (2013-06-06). "10 things to know If you're jumping on the Syracuse Crunch bandwagon | syracuse.com". Blog.syracuse.com. Retrieved 2013-12-25.
- Central New York (2013-06-19). "Calder Cup Finals: The 2012-'13 Syracuse Crunch won't soon be forgotten even in defeat". syracuse.com. Retrieved 2013-12-25.
- Central New York (2017-05-27). "Calder Cup Finals Schedule set: Syracuse Crunch vs. Grand Rapids Griffins". syracuse.com. Retrieved 2017-05-27.
- Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (2017-03-17). "BLOW BY BLOW – THE ST. PATRICK'S DAY MASSACRE". Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Retrieved 2019-03-18.
- Lindsay Kramer (2018-04-18). "Last playoff showdown with Rochester Amerks is a painful memory for the Syracuse Crunch". syracuse.com. Retrieved 2019-03-29.
- @LukasFavale (May 6, 2018). "Last night was the longest Syracuse Crunch game in franchise history, lasting 95 minutes and 10 seconds. It was the third multiple-overtime game in team history. All three have come in the last two postseasons. #GoGetIt" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- @SyracuseCrunch (March 30, 2019). "That's how you celebrate 25 seasons of #SyrCrunch hockey. 👊" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- "Tampa Bay Lightning, Syracuse Crunch Announce Long-Term Affiliation Extension". OurSportsCentral.com. September 12, 2018.
- "Crunchman returns as the Syracuse Crunch go back to the future : Sports". CNYcentral.com. Retrieved 2013-12-25.
- "Syracuse Crunch - 2017-18 Syracuse Crunch Roster". Syracuse Crunch. Retrieved 2016-02-01.
- "Syracuse Crunch Roster". American Hockey League. Retrieved 2015-12-17.
- "Syracuse Crunch roster". Elite Prospects. Retrieved December 17, 2015.
- "Syracuse Crunch to retire jersey of Hall of Famer and 12-time NBA All-Star Dolph Schayes March 26". Syracuse Crunch. February 23, 2016.