The Syracuse Crunch are a professional ice hockey team in the American Hockey League (AHL). They play in Syracuse, New York, at the Upstate Medical University Arena at Onondaga County War Memorial. They are the primary development affiliate of the National Hockey League's Tampa Bay Lightning.
|2021–22 AHL season|
|City||Syracuse, New York|
|League||American Hockey League|
|Home arena||Upstate Medical University Arena at Onondaga County War Memorial|
|Colors||Blue, white, silver, black|
|General manager||Stacy Roest|
|Head coach||Benoit Groulx|
CW 6 (Televised home games)
|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)|
Vancouver and Pittsburgh affiliations (1994–2000)Edit
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. The Crunch played their first game in Syracuse on September 30, 1994, against the Albany River Rats to a 7–7 tie with Lonny Bohonos scoring the first Crunch goal. The Crunch finished their first season 29–42–9–0, fifth place in the division, and outside the playoffs. The Crunch made the playoffs in the following season after finishing 31–37–5–7 and made it to the 1996 conference finals before losing to the eventual Calder Cup champion Rochester Americans. The team led the league in sellouts in 1996–97 and 1997–98 seasons. In 1997, the Crunch added a second NHL affiliate with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The 1998–99 AHL season was the Crunch's worst season as of 2021[update] with a 18–50–9–3 record. On November 25, 1998, the Crunch suffered their worst loss in team history to the Providence Bruins, with a 14–2 final score. They allowed an AHL record of 10 goals in the first period. Goalie Craig Hillier allowed seven goals before being pulled for Mike Valley, who also allowed seven. The Penguins' affiliation ended after this season when they launched the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
On October 30, 1999, while playing against Rochester, goaltender Christian Bronsard scored the first and only Crunch goalie goal. Bronsard became the fourth goaltender in American Hockey League history to score a goal.
Columbus affiliation (2000–2010)Edit
The Crunch became the affiliate of the newly formed Columbus Blue Jackets following the 1999–2000 season. They made the playoffs in their first season under the Jackets, but lost in five games to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the first round. In the following 2001–02 season, the Crunch won their first division title in franchise history behind goaltender Jean-Francois Labbe. They swept the Philadelphia Phantoms in three games in the first round, but lost to the eventual Calder Cup champion Chicago Wolves in the next round in seven games.
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 accumulated 124 penalty minutes, 80 of which were fighting related, while the Penguins had 162 penalty minutes with 102 for fighting. The Crunch won the game 4–0. The Crunch would miss the playoffs the following season, their second worst season in franchise history, finishing 27-41-8-4.
In the 2004 Calder Cup playoffs, the Crunch became the twelfth team to blow a 3–1 series lead when they lost to the Rochester Americans in the first round. The Crunch were on home ice for game seven and forward Kent McDonnell missed an empty net when the Americans' goalie Ryan Miller was caught out of position. Rochester then recovered with an odd-man rush and Norm Milley beat Crunch goalie Karl Goehring to win the game in overtime.
The 2005–06 season was the best season the Crunch had during the 80-game schedule format. They scored a team record of 272 goals, but they also allowed 251 goals, and ended the regular season second in their division, 13 points behind Grand Rapids. They also had 47 wins, which is tied with their 2018–19 season record, albeit in four less games with the 76-game schedule. Andy Delmore won the Eddie Shore Award, scoring 72 points in 66 games, while also making the AHL First All-Star team at the end of the season. Mark Hartigan also scored 75 points in 49 games, averaging over a point and a half per game. They then lost in the first round of the 2006 Calder Cup playoffs to the Manitoba Moose in six games.
During the 2007–08 season, the Crunch went on a 15-game winning streak at the end of the season from March 8 to April 13, 2008, to make the playoffs. This streak is still the longest in team history as of 2020[update]. They defeated the Manitoba Moose in six games, where five of them went to overtime. They advanced to the second round to face the Toronto Marlies, but blew another 3–1 series lead.
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 a then AHL attendance record of 21,508. Syracuse won the game 2–1, with goals scored by Alexandre Picard and David Liffiton. Goaltender Kevin Lalande made 36 saves en route to the Syracuse victory.
Anaheim affiliation (2010–2012)Edit
The Anaheim affiliation lasted two seasons, resulting in one playoff appearance in the 2011–12 season. They lost in the first round to the St. John's IceCaps in four games. The affiliation produced future NHL players such as Kyle Palmieri, Nick Bonino, and Patrick Maroon.
Tampa Bay affiliation (2012–present)Edit
The Crunch signed a multi-year affiliation deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning beginning with the 2012–13 season. The affiliation bought immediate success, resulting in the team's first division championship in 11 years. At the end of the 2012–13 regular season, Tyler Johnson won the Les Cunningham Award, Willie Marshall Award, and the President's Award. He was the first MVP in Crunch history. He totaled 65 points, scoring 37 goals and assisted on 28 goals. The team reached the 2013 Calder Cup finals, their first ever Calder Cup appearance, but lost to the Grand Rapids Griffins.
On November 22, 2014, the Syracuse Crunch set a new United States indoor professional hockey attendance record with 30,715 fans at the Carrier Dome for the "Toyota Frozen Dome Classic". Syracuse defeated the Utica Comets 2–1.
The Crunch won their second division title under the Tampa affiliation in the 2016–17 season. They advanced to their second Calder Cup appearance, again against the Grand Rapids Griffins. The Griffins took the series in six games and won the series 4–2. They also lost an AHL record eight road games during the playoffs.
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 the first round 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.
The 2018–19 season was the best season the Crunch has had during the 76-game schedule format. The Crunch tied a team record in points with 102, and tied a franchise record in wins with 47. Eddie Pasquale won the Harry "Hap" Holmes Memorial Award, Carter Verhaeghe won the John B. Sollenberger Trophy, and Verhaeghe and Alex Barre-Boulet both won the Willie Marshall Award, as they both tied for the league lead in goals scored. The Crunch also achieved 900 franchise victories with a 6–2 win over the Utica Comets on March 30, 2019. The Crunch won their third division title in the Tampa affiliation, but were upset in four games by the Cleveland Monsters.
The Crunch played their first 62 games of the 2019–20 season, but the season was suspended on March 12, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The season was ultimately cancelled on May 11, 2020. The start of the following season was also pushed back to February 5, 2021. The Crunch also gained a temporary second NHL affiliation in the Florida Panthers as their AHL affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers, opted out of participating in the abbreviated season. Prior to the pandemic-related schedule changes, the Crunch were to face the Utica Comets in an outdoor game hosted by Utica at the Griffiss Business and Technology Park in Rome, New York, on February 13, 2021, however, the game did not take place as scheduled.
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
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.
|Conference Champions||Division Champions||League leader|
Records as of the end of the 2020–21 season.
|1994–95||80||29||42||9||0||—||67||.419||288||325||5th, South||1995||Did not qualify|
|1995–96||80||31||37||5||7||—||74||.463||257||307||5th, Central||1996||W, 3–1, BNG||W, 4–3, BAL||L, 1–4, RCH||—|
|1996–97||80||32||38||10||0||—||74||.463||241||265||4th, Empire State||1997||L, 0–3, RCH||—||—||—|
|1997–98||80||35||32||11||2||—||83||.519||272||285||3rd, Empire State||1998||L, 2–3, HAM||—||—||—|
|1998–99||80||18||50||9||3||—||48||.300||220||327||5th, Empire State||1999||Did not qualify|
|1999–00||80||35||35||9||1||—||80||.500||290||294||2nd, Empire State||2000||L, 1–3, HAM||—||—||—|
|2000–01||80||33||30||12||5||—||83||.519||235||254||3rd, Mid-Atlantic||2001||L, 2–3, WBS||—||—||—|
|2001–02||80||39||23||13||5||—||96||.600||228||193||1st, Central||2002||W, 3–0, PHI||L, 3–4, CHI||—||—|
|2002–03||80||27||41||8||4||—||66||.413||201||256||4th, Central||2003||Did not qualify|
|2003–04||80||38||25||10||7||—||93||.581||239||235||2nd, North||2004||L, 3–4, RCH||—||—||—|
|2004–05||80||36||33||—||4||7||83||.519||215||230||5th, North||2005||Did not qualify|
|2005–06||80||47||25||—||5||3||102||.638||272||251||2nd, North||2006||L, 2–4, MTB||—||—||—|
|2006–07||80||34||34||—||4||8||80||.500||250||248||5th, North||2007||Did not qualify|
|2007–08||80||46||26||—||2||6||100||.625||247||201||2nd, North||2008||W, 4–2, MTB||L, 3–4, TOR||—||—|
|2008–09||80||40||32||—||5||3||88||.550||214||226||5th, North||2009||Did not qualify|
|2009–10||80||34||39||—||4||3||75||.469||227||272||6th, East||2010||Did not qualify|
|2010–11||80||35||38||—||3||4||77||.481||221||250||6th, East||2011||Did not qualify|
|2011–12||76||37||29||—||5||5||84||.553||238||229||4th, East||2012||L, 1–3, STJ||—||—||—|
|2012–13||76||43||22||—||6||5||97||.638||247||201||1st, East||2013||W, 3–0, POR||W, 4–0, SPR||W, 4–1, WBS||L, 2–4, GR|
|2013–14||76||31||32||—||4||9||75||.493||198||232||5th, East||2014||Did not qualify|
|2014–15||76||41||25||—||10||0||92||.605||218||219||2nd, Northeast||2015||L, 0–3, WBS||—||—||—|
|2015–16||76||32||29||—||11||4||79||.520||213||240||6th, North||2016||Did not qualify|
|2016–17||76||38||24||—||7||7||90||.592||232||227||1st, North||2017||W, 3–1, STJ||W, 4–3, TOR||W, 4–1, PRO||L, 2–4, GR|
|2017–18||76||46||22||—||3||5||100||.658||236||193||2nd, North||2018||W, 3–0, RCH||L, 0–4, TOR||—||—|
|2018–19||76||47||21||—||4||4||102||.671||264||187||1st, North||2019||L, 1–3, CLE||—||—||—|
|2019–20||62||30||23||—||4||5||69||.556||202||210||5th, North||2020||Season cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic|
|2020–21||32||19||10||—||3||0||41||.641||120||93||3rd, North||2021||No playoffs were held|
|Totals||2062||953||817||96||119||65||1409||.536||6285||6447||15 playoff appearances|
-Indicates league leading: most regulation losses
Players and coachesEdit
- 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, 2019–2021
- Erik Condra, 2017–2018
- Gabriel Dumont, 2018–2019
Current coaching staffEdit
- Benoit Groulx — Head coach
- Gilles Bouchard — Assistant coach
- Eric Veilleux — Assistant coach
- Joe Palmer — Goaltending and video coach
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, Kevin Lynch and most recently, Devante Stephens.
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 2019-20 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 during the 2017-18 season.
Notable Crunch alumniEdit
- Mike Angelidis
- Adrian Aucoin
- Mark Barberio
- Francois Beauchemin
- Matt Beleskey
- Lonny Bohonos
- Nick Bonino
- Derick Brassard
- J. T. Brown
- Anthony Cirelli
- Grant Clitsome
- Cory Conacher
- Brett Connolly
- Erik Condra
- Ty Conklin
- Derek Dorsett
- Jonathan Drouin
- Ray Emery
- Yanni Gourde
- Radko Gudas
- Tim Jackman
- Tyler Johnson
- Mathieu Joseph
- Alex Killorn
- Slater Koekkoek
- Nikita Kucherov
- Jean-Francois Labbe
- Pascal Leclaire
- Anders Lindback
- Jonathan Marchessault
- Patrick Maroon
- Vladislav Namestnikov
- Ondrej Palat
- Kyle Palmieri
- Richard Panik
- Cedric Paquette
- Michael Peca
- Brayden Point
- Dave Scatchard
- Brent Sopel
- Andrej Sustr
- Dustin Tokarski
- Andrei Vasilevskiy
- Carter Verhaeghe
- Scott Walker
- Luke Witkowski
Franchise records and leadersEdit
Records as of the beginning of the 2021–22 AHL season
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
Minimum 10 Calder Cup playoff games played
- 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) and Mike McKenna (2017), 13
- GAA: Jean-François Labbé, 1.91 (2002)
- SV%: Jean-François Labbé, .939 (2002)
Trophies and awardsEdit
- Vance Lederman (2014–15)
- Howard Dolgon (2013–14)
- "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.
- Cirino, Alex (September 1, 2021). "How the Syracuse Crunch's unorthodox dual affiliation saved the franchise". The Daily Orange. Retrieved September 12, 2021.
- Mark Divver (2016-11-24). "Mark Divver: Looking back at the night P-Bruins set AHL record with 10 goals in one period". Providence Journal Star. Retrieved 2019-06-28.
- "Penguins Farm Team Affiliations". PittsburghHockey.net. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
- "Lagace credited with goal in Wolves win". theahl.com. Retrieved July 23, 2021.
- 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.
- Central New York. "Blue Jackets all but packed and gone; Dolgon targets new parent club for Crunch". Syracuse.com. Retrieved 2013-12-25.
- "Tampa Bay Lightning, Syracuse Crunch Announce Long-Term Affiliation Extension". OurSportsCentral.com. September 12, 2018.
- Brett Carlsen (June 6, 2013). "10 things to know If you're jumping on the Syracuse Crunch bandwagon | syracuse.com". Blog.syracuse.com. Retrieved December 25, 2013.
- Central New York (June 19, 2013). "Calder Cup Finals: The 2012-'13 Syracuse Crunch won't soon be forgotten even in defeat". syracuse.com. Retrieved December 25, 2013.
- Lindsay Kramer (November 23, 2014). "Final attendance number for Frozen Dome Classic crushes previous U.S. indoor pro hockey record". syracuse.com. Retrieved December 23, 2019.
- @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.
- "AHL suspends play". American Hockey League. March 12, 2020. Retrieved March 12, 2020.
- "Syracuse Crunch will have dual affiliation in 2021". The Post-Standard. January 6, 2021.
- Ben Birnell (February 19, 2020). "Utica Comets to host 2021 AHL outdoor game". uticaod.com. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
- "Utica Comets' Empire State Classic delayed until later in 2021 due to COVID-19". Observer-Dispatch. January 8, 2021.
- "Crunchman returns as the Syracuse Crunch go back to the future : Sports". CNYcentral.com. Retrieved 2013-12-25.
- Hockeydb.com, Syracuse Crunch season statistics and records.
- "Syracuse Crunch - 2020-21 Syracuse Crunch Roster". Syracuse Crunch. Retrieved 2021-04-21.
- "Syracuse Crunch Roster". American Hockey League. Retrieved 2021-04-21.
- "Syracuse Crunch roster". Elite Prospects. Retrieved April 18, 2021.
- "Syracuse Crunch to retire jersey of Hall of Famer and 12-time NBA All-Star Dolph Schayes March 26". Syracuse Crunch. February 23, 2016.