The Cleveland Monsters are a professional ice hockey team in the American Hockey League (AHL). The team began play in 2007 as the Lake Erie Monsters and since 2015 has served as the top affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets of the National Hockey League (NHL). The Monsters play home games at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in downtown Cleveland and have one Calder Cup championship, after winning their first title in 2016.
|League||American Hockey League|
|Founded||1994 (In the IHL)|
|Home arena||Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse|
|Colors||Wine, black, gold, white, blue|
|General manager||Chris Clark|
|Head coach||Mike Eaves|
TV: SportsTime Ohio
|Affiliates||Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL)|
|2007–2016||Lake Erie Monsters|
|Conference Championships||1 (2015–16)|
|Calder Cups||1 (2015–16)|
The Monsters began in 2006 when the dormant Utah Grizzlies AHL franchise was purchased on May 16, 2006, by a Cleveland ownership group led by Dan Gilbert, owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Quicken Loans. A new AHL team was awarded to Cleveland following the departure of the Cleveland Barons to Worcester, Massachusetts, after the 2005–06 season. With Quicken Loans Arena established as the team's home venue, the Colorado Avalanche was announced on December 17, 2006, as the franchise's first NHL parent club with a five-year agreement.
The franchise was officially announced on January 25, 2007, as the Lake Erie Monsters, referring to Bessie, a creature of local folklore. The name was chosen from researching focus groups around the Cleveland area and the logo incorporated the geographical connection in the region with Lake Erie. The Monsters do not recognize any past links to the Grizzlies (including the Grizzlies' two Turner Cups) and promote themselves as having begun in 2007.
Former NHL player Joe Sacco was named as the Lake Erie Monsters first head coach. The Monsters opened their inaugural 2007–08 campaign at home against the Grand Rapids Griffins on October 6, 2007, with Craig Billington acting as the Monsters General Manager.
At the end of the 2010–11 season, the Monsters qualified for the Calder Cup playoffs for the first time in team history. After gaining a 3-1 series lead over the Manitoba Moose in the opening round, the Monsters proceeded to lose the next three consecutive games, losing the series 4-3.
Blue Jackets era
On April 17, 2015, the Monsters announced the signing of a multi-year agreement to become the AHL affiliate for the Columbus Blue Jackets, which took effect in the 2015–16 season. The affiliation was among several that offseason that brought AHL and NHL franchise affiliations geographically closer together. The multi-season affiliation was extended in 2019.
The Monsters finished the 2015–16 season by setting a franchise record in points (97) and qualified for the playoffs for the second time in team history. On April 23, 2016, the Monsters defeated their first round opponent, the Rockford IceHogs 5–3, capping a three-game sweep of their opponent in a best-of-five series. The Monsters advanced to the Western Conference Semifinals to play the Grand Rapids Griffins in a best-of-seven series, defeating them 4–2 in six games. They then swept the defending Calder Cup Champion Ontario Reign in the Western Conference Finals to reach their first Calder Cup Final in franchise history. On June 11, 2016, the Monsters won the franchise's first Calder Cup in a four-game sweep of the Hershey Bears, with Oliver Bjorkstrand scoring the Cup-winning goal in overtime.
This marked Cleveland's first AHL title since the Barons won their last Calder Cup in 1964, and 10th overall for a Cleveland-based AHL team. The Monsters won Game 4 before a sellout crowd of 19,665 people at Quicken Loans Arena — the second largest crowd for a professional hockey game in Ohio behind the 19,941 in a Cleveland Lumberjacks game against the Minnesota Moose in February 1996, and the second largest in Calder Cup playoff history behind the 20,103 Philadelphia Phantoms game four victory in the 2005 Calder Cup Finals over the Chicago Wolves.
On August 9, 2016, the Lake Erie Monsters changed their name to the Cleveland Monsters. The team's Calder Cup winning head coach, Jared Bednar, was then hired by the Colorado Avalanche on August 25. Under their new name and coach John Madden, the Monsters failed to qualify for the playoffs in the 2016–17 season. In 2017–18 season, the Monsters were the first team eliminated from playoff contention, failing to make the post-season for the ninth time in 11 seasons, and earned last place in the Western Conference. The team returned to the playoffs following the 2018–19 season as the fourth seed in the North Division where they upset the division champion Syracuse Crunch before being swept by the Toronto Marlies in the division finals. Head coach John Madden then left the team and was replaced by Mike Eaves.
Cleveland hockey history
The following teams have previously played in Cleveland. The Monsters recognize and honor past Cleveland teams with commemorative banners at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse:
|2007–08||80||26||41||6||7||65||.406||209||276||6th, North||2008||Did not qualify|
|2008–09||80||34||38||3||5||76||.475||199||218||6th, North||2009||Did not qualify|
|2009–10||80||34||37||1||8||77||.481||234||257||6th, North||2010||Did not qualify|
|2010–11||80||44||28||3||5||96||.600||223||206||2nd, North||2011||L, 3–4, MTB||—||—||—|
|2011–12||76||37||29||3||7||84||.553||189||210||3rd, North||2012||Did not qualify|
|2012–13||76||35||31||3||7||80||.526||211||220||3rd, North||2013||Did not qualify|
|2013–14||76||32||33||1||10||75||.492||200||235||4th, North||2014||Did not qualify|
|2014–15||76||35||29||8||4||82||.539||211||240||4th, Midwest||2015||Did not qualify|
|2015–16||76||43||22||6||5||97||.638||211||188||2nd, Central||2016||W, 3–0, RFD||W, 4–2, GR||W, 4–0, ONT||W, 4–0, HER|
|2016–17||76||39||29||4||4||86||.566||195||198||5th, Central||2017||Did not qualify|
|2017–18||76||25||41||7||3||60||.395||190||258||7th, Central||2018||Did not qualify|
|2018–19||76||37||29||8||2||84||.553||232||234||4th, North||2019||W, 3–1, SYR||L, 0–4, TOR||—||—|
No Monsters player has had his number retired. However, the team has retired the numbers of players who have played on past Cleveland franchises to honor the city's hockey history.
- Goals: 33, Zac Dalpe (2018-19)
- Assists: 50, T.J. Hensick (2009–10)
- Points: 70 T.J. Hensick (2009–10), Ben Walter (2010–11)
- Penalty Minutes: 215, Daniel Maggio (2014–15)
- Wins: 27 Anton Forsberg (2016–17)
- GAA: 2.11, Cedrick Desjardins (2011–12)
- SV%: .932, Cedrick Desjardins (2011–12)
- Shutouts: 8, Tyler Weiman (2008–09)
- Goaltending records need a minimum 25 games played by the goaltender
- Goals: 10, Oliver Bjorkstrand (2016)
- Assists: 10, Ryan Craig (2016)
- Points: 16 (tie), Oliver Bjorkstrand and Lukas Sedlak (2016)
- Penalty Minutes: 26, Kerby Rychel (2016)
- Wins:9, Anton Forsberg (2016)
- GAA: 1.34, Anton Forsberg (2016)
- SV%: .949, Anton Forsberg (2016)
- Shutouts: 2, Anton Forsberg (2016)
Firsts and franchise records
- Franchise First Game: October 6, 2007. Grand Rapids Griffins 3, Lake Erie Monsters 2
- Franchise First Win: October 20, 2007. Lake Erie Monsters 3, Syracuse Crunch 2.
- Franchise First Goal: October 6, 2007. Grand Rapids Griffins 3, Lake Erie Monsters 2. Goal scored by Matt Hussey
- Franchise First Shutout: November 15, 2007. Jason Bacashihua. Lake Erie Monsters 2, Quad City Flames 0.
- Franchise First Hat Trick: November 17, 2007. Chris Stewart. Lake Erie Monsters 5, Toronto Marlies 3.
- Franchise Most Goals in a Game: December 3, 2010. 4-Patrick Rissmiller. Lake Erie Monsters 6, Chicago Wolves 3.
- Franchise Most Wins in a Season: 44 (2010–11)
- Franchise Most Home Wins in a Season: 25 (2015–16)
- Franchise Most Points in a Season: 97 (2015–16)
- Franchise Most Games Won in a Row: 8 (2010–11)
- Franchise First Playoff Game: April 16, 2011. (vs Manitoba Moose)
- Franchise First Playoff Goal: April 16, 2011 (by Matthew Ford)
- Franchise First Playoff Win: April 16, 2011 (Monsters 6, Manitoba Moose 4)
- Franchise First Playoff Series Win: April 23, 2016 (Monsters win series 3-0, Rockford IceHogs)
- Franchise First Western Conference Championship: May 26, 2016 (Monsters win series 4-0, Ontario Reign)
- Franchise First Calder Cup Championship: June 11, 2016 (Monsters win series 4-0, Hershey Bears)
ALT 99.1 (WMMS-HD2) serves as the radio outlet for the team. Play-by-play announcer Tony Brown calls games on-site.
Select Monsters games will be televised, with SportsTime Ohio serving as the outlet. The broadcast team consists of play-by-play broadcaster Tony Brown, former Cleveland Lumberjacks player Jock Callander as analyst, and WHBC afternoon host Kenny Roda as rink side/locker room reporter. All televised games are also simulcast on the radio.
Mascot and entertainment
The Monsters' official mascot is a seagull character named "Sullivan C. Goal" (aka "Sully"). Also featured are the "Monsters Hockey Girls" cheerleaders.
- "Blue Jackets Name Chris Clark Monsters' General Manager". Cleveland Monsters. June 18, 2019. Retrieved June 18, 2019.
- "Lake Erie Monsters history". Case Western Reserve University. 2013-02-03. Retrieved 2013-02-03.
- "Famous sea monsters". Sea Monster.org. 2013-04-05. Retrieved 2013-04-05.
- "Monsters front office". Lake Erie Monsters. 2014-10-10. Retrieved 2014-10-10.
- "Monsters' stats". JustSportsStats.com. 2011-04-28. Retrieved 2012-03-04.
- "Monsters affiliate with the Columbus Blue Jackets". Lake Erie Monsters. 2015-04-17. Retrieved 2015-04-17.
- "Columbus Blue Jackets, Cleveland Monsters Announce Multi-Year Extension of Affiliation Partnership". OurSports Central. August 20, 2019.
- "Monsters Move On With 4-3 OT Win". BlueJackets Xtra. Retrieved 2016-05-18.
- Record full house at the Q for Lake Erie Monsters' Calder Cup bid - Cleveland.com (Plain Dealer)
- "Lake Erie Monsters change name, get new uniforms". KLTV. August 9, 2016. Archived from the original on August 16, 2016. Retrieved August 9, 2016.
- Sadowski, Rick (August 25, 2016). "Jared Bednar hired as Avalanche coach". NHL.com. Retrieved August 26, 2016.
- "Madden will not return as Monsters head coach". Columbus Blue Jackets. May 29, 2019.
- "Cleveland hockey history". Lake Erie Monsters. 2013-02-03. Retrieved 2013-02-03.
- "Cleveland Monsters – Team roster". Elite Prospects. Retrieved 2015-09-16.
- ClevelandMonsters.com (October 4, 2018). "2018-19 TV and Radio Broadcast Schedules". ClevelandMonsters.com (Press release). Cavaliers Hockey Holdings, LLC. Archived from the original on January 26, 2019. Retrieved January 26, 2019.
- Monsters broadcast schedule - Cleveland Monsters.com
- "Sully, the Monsters official Mascot". Lake Erie Monsters. 2013-10-02. Retrieved 2013-10-02.
- "Monsters Hockey Girls". Lake Erie Monsters. 2013-10-02. Retrieved 2013-10-02.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Cleveland Monsters.|
- Cleveland Monsters (official website)