|2019–20 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 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.
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 six games and won the series 4–2.
On the night before Thanksgiving in 1998, the Crunch suffered their worst loss in team history to the Providence Bruins 14–2. 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 1998–99 season is the worst season in franchise history as of 2019[update].
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 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 in the 2018–19 season, 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.
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.
American Hockey League teams that played in Syracuse:
Other hockey teams that played in Syracuse:
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.
|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||—||—||—|
|17||Peter Abbandonato||C||L||21||2019||Laval, Quebec||Crunch|
|12||Alex Barre-Boulet||C||L||22||2018||Montmagny, Quebec||Lightning|
|22||Ross Colton||C||L||23||2018||Robbinsville, New Jersey||Lightning|
|1||Mike Condon||G||L||29||2019||Holliston, Massachusetts||Lightning|
|25||Callan Foote||D||R||20||2018||Englewood, Colorado||Lightning|
|24||Cameron Gaunce (A)||D||L||29||2018||Sudbury, Ontario||Lightning|
|15||Jimmy Huntington||C||L||21||2019||Laval, Quebec||Lightning|
|13||Boris Katchouk||LW||L||21||2018||Waterloo, Ontario||Lightning|
|62||Danick Martel||LW||L||24||2018||Drummondville, Quebec||Lightning|
|30||Spencer Martin||G||L||24||2019||Oakville, Ontario||Lightning|
|27||Dominik Masin||D||L||23||2016||Mestec Kralove, Czech Republic||Lightning|
|19||Chris Mueller (A)||C/RW||R||33||2019||West Seneca, New York||Lightning|
|18||Taylor Raddysh||RW||R||21||2018||Toronto, Ontario||Lightning|
|46||Gemel Smith||C||L||25||2019||Toronto, Ontario||Lightning|
|16||Otto Somppi||C||L||21||2018||Helsinki, Finland||Lightning|
|76||Oleg Sosunov||D||L||21||2018||Ryazan, Russia||Lightning|
|23||Matthew Spencer||D||R||22||2017||Oakville, Ontario||Lightning|
|67||Mitchell Stephens||C||R||22||2017||Peterborough, Ontario||Lightning|
|26||Ben Thomas||D||R||23||2016||Calgary, Alberta||Lightning|
|8||Nolan Valleau||D||L||27||2018||Novi, Michigan||Crunch|
|83||Alexander Volkov||RW||L||22||2017||Moscow, Russia||Lightning|
|85||Daniel Walcott||LW||L||25||2015||Île-Perrot, Quebec||Lightning|
|29||Scott Wedgewood||G||L||27||2019||Brampton, Ontario||Lightning|
|28||Luke Witkowski||D||R||29||2019||Holland, Michigan||Lightning|
|11||Dennis Yan||LW||L||22||2017||Portland, Oregon||Lightning|
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.