Colorado Eagles

The Colorado Eagles are a professional minor league ice hockey team based in Loveland, Colorado. The Eagles play in the Pacific Division of the American Hockey League's Western Conference.

Colorado Eagles
2019–20 AHL season
CityLoveland, Colorado
LeagueAmerican Hockey League
ConferenceWestern
DivisionPacific
Founded2003 (In the CHL)
Home arenaBudweiser Events Center
ColorsNavy blue, red, gold, white
                   
Owner(s)Colorado Eagles Professional Hockey LLC
General managerCraig Billington[1]
Head coachGreg Cronin
CaptainMark Alt
Media
AffiliatesColorado Avalanche (NHL)
Utah Grizzlies (ECHL)
Franchise history
2003–presentColorado Eagles
Championships
Regular season titles3 (2005, 2006, 2009)
Division Championships7 (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2016, 2018)
Conference Championships7 (2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2017, 2018)
Ray Miron President's Cup2 (2005, 2007)
Kelly Cups2 (2017, 2018)

The Eagles were founded as an expansion franchise in 2003 in the Central Hockey League and remained in the league until June 2011, when they joined the ECHL. During their time in the CHL, the Eagles won two Ray Miron President's Cups, three regular season titles, five conference titles and six division titles in eight seasons. The team was granted a membership as an expansion team in the American Hockey League beginning with the 2018–19 season as the affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche of the National Hockey League.

The Eagles play at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland and serve the Fort Collins-Loveland metropolitan area.

Franchise history

Central Hockey League era (2003–2011)

The franchise was founded in 2003 by former Montreal Canadiens player Ralph Backstrom.[2] The Eagles advanced to the playoffs in their first season and won the CHL championship in their second season, 200405. They won their division in 200506, but lost in the second round of the playoffs to the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs, after having defeated the Oklahoma City Blazers in the first round. They would again win the CHL Championship in 2006–07, defeating the Laredo Bucks four games to two in the Cup Finals.

After the 200708 season, coach Chris Stewart retired, and Kevin McClelland was named as his replacement. Following the 200910 season, McClelland was not retained and Stewart - who had been working as team president and general manager since leaving the bench – resumed head coaching duties.

During the 200809 season, the Eagles hosted the 2009 CHL All-Star Game and took on a group of CHL All-Stars from various teams. The exhibition took place on January 14, 2009, at the Budweiser Events Center, with the Eagles defeating the CHL All-Stars, 8-4.

Move to ECHL (2011–2018)

During the 2011 Ray Miron President's Cup playoffs, the Eagles had been rumored to be transferring to the ECHL following the completion of the playoffs.[3][4] Former International Hockey League commissioner Dennis Hextall has stated that he had heard that the Colorado Eagles may already be included in the ECHL's tentative schedule for the 201112 season.[5]

On May 29, 2011, KEVN-TV in Rapid City, South Dakota reported that Colorado was to move to the ECHL in time for the 201112 season.[6] The following day, the team announced that they would have a press conference on May 31 at the Budweiser Events Center and that local media were urged to attend and fans urged to listen to the press conference online or on a local radio station.[7] At the press conference, Head Coach, General Manager and President Chris Stewart announced that the team had been accepted as an expansion franchise in the ECHL for the 201112 season.

In August 2011, the Eagles were assigned to the Western Conference's Mountain Division as part of the league realignment for the 2011–12 ECHL season.[8]

They served as the second-tier affiliate of the National Hockey League's Winnipeg Jets and the American Hockey League's St. John's IceCaps until the end of the 2012–13 hockey season[9] and then as the Calgary Flames and Adirondack Flames affiliate during the 2014–15 season.

In July 2016, head coach Chris Stewart retired as coach for the second time but remained with the organization as general manager.[10] He was replaced by assistant coach and longtime Eagles player, Aaron Schneekloth.[11] On July 20, the Eagles announced a four-year affiliation with the NHL's Colorado Avalanche and the AHL's San Antonio Rampage after one season of playing independent of affiliations.[12] In their first season with the Avalanche affiliation, the Eagles would go on to finish second in the Mountain Division of the ECHL and then win the Kelly Cup as the 2017 playoffs champions. In their last season in the ECHL in 2017–18, the Eagles finished with back-to-back Kelly Cups with the 2018 playoff championship. Traditionally, the Kelly Cup is held by the winning team during the following season and returned before the playoffs, but the Eagles did not return the trophy to the league after leaving for the AHL and it had to be replaced.[13][14][15] They eventually sent it to the 2019 ECHL champion Newfoundland Growlers before opening night of the 2019–20 ECHL season.[16]

Move to the AHL

For the 2017–18 season, the National Hockey League added the Vegas Golden Knights as a 31st team. The approval of a new NHL team also led to discussions of adding a 31st team in the American Hockey League.[17] With the Golden Knights choosing to affiliate with the Chicago Wolves instead of adding their own AHL expansion team, talks with other organizations were opened. The owners and managers of the Eagles began discussions with the Avalanche with interests into becoming an AHL expansion for the 2018–19 season.[18] On October 10, 2017, the Avalanche and the Eagles officially announced that the club would be promoted to the AHL in 2018.[19][20]

The Avalanche hired Greg Cronin as the Eagles' first AHL head coach and retained former head coach Aaron Schneekloth as an assistant.[21]

Season records

Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, OTL = Overtime losses, SOL=shootout losses, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes

Records as of end of the 2018–19 AHL season.[22]

Regular season Playoffs
SeasonGPWLOTLSOLPtsGFGAPIMFinishYear1st round2nd round3rd roundFinals
Central Hockey League
2003–04644316059123215614531st, Northwest2004L, 1–3, WIC
2004–05604310529322112313451st, Northwest2005W, 4–1, TULW, 4–2, WICW, 4–1, LAR
2005–06644414069424118318981st, Northwest2006W, 4–3, OKCL, 1–4, BS
2006–07644617019325618219441st, Northwest2007W, 4–2, YNGW, 4–3, OKCW, 4–2, MEMW, 4–2, LAR
2007–08643720258125422316371st, Northwest2008BYEW, 4–1, YNGW, 4–3, TEXL, 0–4, ARZ
2008–09644515139427519514291st, Northwest2009BYEW, 4–0, BSW, 4–2, MISL, 1–4, TEX
2009–10644215529127720815572nd, Northern2010BYEL, 0–4, BS
2010–11664022228425019913522nd, Turner2011W, 3–1, QCW, 3–1, MOW, 4–3, RCL, 3–4 BS
ECHL
2011–12723828158225025214852nd, Mountain2012L, 0–3, STK
2012–13723431347523922415343rd, Mountain2013L, 2–4, IDA
2013–14713326757821121811584th, Mountain2014L, 2–4, IDA
2014–15714123449023620914573rd, Pacific2015L, 3–4, ONT
2015–16724127318623219314271st, West2016L, 2–4, UTA
2016–17724720239926520614152nd, Mountain2017W, 4–1, IDAW, 4–2, ALNW, 4–1, TOLW, 4–0 SC
2017–187248184210226521413771st, Mountain2018W, 4–2, WICW, 4–0, IDAW, 4–3, FWW, 4–3, FLA
American Hockey League
2018–19683627417719120511144th, Pacific2019L, 1–3, BAK

Players

Current roster

Updated December 12, 2019.[23]

# Nat Player Pos S/G Age Acquired Birthplace Contract
10 Mark Alt (C) D R 28 2018 Kansas City, Missouri Avalanche
35 Antoine Bibeau  G L 25 2019 Victoriaville, Quebec Avalanche
14 Shane Bowers C L 20 2019 Halifax, Nova Scotia Avalanche
47 Colin Campbell RW R 28 2019 Pickering, Ontario Eagles
22 Erik Condra (A) RW R 33 2019 Trenton, Michigan Eagles
7 Kevin Connauton (A) D L 29 2019 Edmonton, Alberta Avalanche
40 Josh Dickinson  C L 22 2018 Georgetown, Ontario Avalanche
15 Sheldon Dries (A) C L 25 2018 Macomb Township, Michigan Avalanche
24 A.J. Greer LW L 23 2018 Joliette, Quebec Avalanche
70 Nick Henry RW R 20 2019 Portage la Prairie, Manitoba Avalanche
88 Michael Joly LW L 24 2018 Gatineau, Quebec Eagles
61 Martin Kaut  RW R 20 2018 Brno, Czech Republic Avalanche
54 Anton Lindholm D L 25 2018 Skellefteå, Sweden Avalanche
34 Jacob MacDonald D/LW L 26 2019 Portland, Oregon Avalanche
21 Jayson Megna C/RW R 29 2019 Fort Lauderdale, Florida Avalanche
32 Hunter Miska G L 24 2019 Stacy, Minnesota Eagles
38 Julien Nantel LW L 23 2018 Laval, Quebec Eagles
25 Logan O'Connor RW R 23 2018 Missouri City, Texas Avalanche
5 Dan Renouf D L 25 2019 Pickering, Ontario Avalanche
43 Igor Shvyrev C L 21 2018 Magnitogorsk, Russia Avalanche
20 Conor Timmins D R 21 2019 St. Catharines, Ontario Avalanche
36 T. J. Tynan (A) C R 27 2019 Orland Park, Illinois Avalanche
13 Ryan Wagner LW L 23 2019 Park Ridge, Illinois Eagles
30 Adam Werner G L 22 2019 Mariestad, Sweden Avalanche

Retired numbers

Colorado Eagles retired numbers
No. Player Position Career No. retirement
12Riley NelsonC2003–2014December 12, 2014[24]
17Ryan ToblerLW2003–2010March 27, 2015[25]
23Aaron SchneeklothD2006–2013March 22, 2019[26]
27Brad WilliamsonD2003–2009March 22, 2019[26]
89Greg PankewiczRW2003–2009October 16, 2009[27]

Awards and honors

Ray Miron President's Cup
CHL playoff champion

  • 2005, 2007

Kelly Cup
ECHL playoff champion

Bud Poile Governors' Cup
CHL regular season champion

  • 200405, 200506, 200809

Conference playoff championship

  • 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011

Division titles

  • 200305, 200405, 200506, 200607, 200708, 200809, 2015–16

References

  1. "GRIZZLIES BECOME ECHL AFFILIATE OF COLORADO AVALANCHE". ECHL. June 28, 2018. Archived from the original on June 28, 2018. Retrieved June 28, 2018.
  2. Scott, Jon C. (2006). Hockey Night in Dixie: Minor Pro Hockey in the American South. Heritage House Publishing Company Ltd. p. 163. ISBN 1-894974-21-2.
  3. Sandalow, Brian (April 30, 2011). "Icy future awaiting Bees?". The Monitor. Retrieved May 25, 2011.
  4. Cohn, Justin A. (May 6, 2011). "Lots of excitement". The Journal Gazette. Retrieved May 25, 2011.
  5. DeVrieze, Craig (April 29, 2011). "Change rumors swirl in the CHL". Quad-City Times. Retrieved May 23, 2011.
  6. Coppock, Cory (May 29, 2011). "Colorado Eagles moving to ECHL". KEVN-TV. Archived from the original on June 2, 2011. Retrieved May 30, 2011.
  7. Press release (May 30, 2011). "Eagles schedule new conference for Tuesday". The Coloradoan. Retrieved May 30, 2011.
  8. Press release (August 1, 2011). "Annual ECHL Board of Governors meeting concludes". ECHL. Archived from the original on August 24, 2011. Retrieved August 1, 2011.
  9. Press release (May 14, 2013). "Jets cut ties to ECHL club". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
  10. "Chris Stewart retires as Colorado Eagles coach". Fort Collins Coloradoan. July 6, 2016.
  11. "Colorado Eagles name Aaron Schneekloth to replace Chris Stewart". Reporter-Herald. July 18, 2016.
  12. "Eagles Announce Affiliation with Colorado Avalanche". OurSports Central. July 20, 2016.
  13. "The Kelly Cup was never returned so the ECHL created a replacement trophy". WTVG. May 31, 2019.
  14. "STATEMENT FROM EAGLES OWNER MARTIN LIND REGARDING KELLY CUP". Colorado Eagles. May 31, 2019.
  15. "STATEMENT FROM THE ECHL REGARDING THE KELLY CUP". ECHL. June 1, 2019.
  16. "Growlers to Celebrate Opening Night with Two Kelly Cups". OurSports Central. October 10, 2019.
  17. "American Hockey League president talks scheduling, expansion, All-Stars, etc". The Press-Enterprise. February 11, 2017.
  18. "Colorado Eagles in discussions to become the Avalanche's AHL affiliate". The Denver Post. June 14, 2017.
  19. "Colorado Eagles moving to AHL to become top Avalanche affiliate". Fort Collins Coloradoan. October 10, 2017.
  20. "AHL Awards Expansion Membership to Colorado Eagles" (Press release). American Hockey League. October 10, 2017.
  21. "AVALANCHE NAME CRONIN COLORADO EAGLES HEAD COACH". Colorado Eagles. July 12, 2018.
  22. "Colorado Eagles season statistics and records". hockeydb.com. 2016-04-01. Retrieved 2016-04-01.
  23. "Colorado Eagles playing roster". 2018-06-21. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2018-06-21.
  24. "Former Eagles captain Riley Nelson settling into life after hockey". Reporter-Herald. 2014-12-11. Retrieved 2014-12-11.
  25. "Ryan Tobler honored to have Colorado Eagles retire his number". Reporter-Herald. 2015-03-27. Retrieved 2015-03-27.
  26. "Colorado Eagles to retire numbers of Schneekloth, Williamson". Colorado Eagles. 2019-02-05. Retrieved 2019-02-05.
  27. "Pankewicz retires becomes assistant coach". Colorado Eagles. 2009-08-10. Retrieved 2009-10-12.
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