|2019-20 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|
|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 Upstate Medical University Arena at Onondaga County War Memorial. 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. 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 2019 with a 18-50-9-3 record. 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 Penguins' affiliation ended after this season when they launched the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
The Crunch made the playoffs the following season, their last as Vancouver's AHL affiliate, but lost in the first round to the Hamilton Bulldogs.
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 2003-04 season, the Crunch became the twelfth team to blow a 3-1 series lead when they lost to the Rochester Americans in the first round of the 2004 Calder Cup playoffs. 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 2019 . 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 an AHL attendance record of 21,508 and Syracuse won the game 2-1.
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.
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 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.
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.
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||--||--||--|
|2019-20||62||30||23||--||4||5||69||.556||202||210||5th, North||2020||Season Cancelled due to COVID-19|
|17||Peter Abbandonato||C||L||22||2019||Laval, Quebec||Crunch|
|12||Alex Barre-Boulet||C||L||23||2018||Montmagny, Quebec||Lightning|
|22||Ross Colton||C||L||23||2018||Robbinsville, New Jersey||Lightning|
|89||Cory Conacher (A)||C/LW||L||30||2016||Burlington, Ontario||Lightning|
|1||Mike Condon||G||L||30||2019||Holliston, Massachusetts||Lightning|
|25||Callan Foote||D||R||21||2018||Englewood, Colorado||Lightning|
|24||Cameron Gaunce (A)||D||L||30||2018||Sudbury, Ontario||Lightning|
|15||Jimmy Huntington||C||L||21||2019||Laval, Quebec||Lightning|
|7||Mathieu Joseph||RW||L||23||2017||Laval, Quebec||Lightning|
|13||Boris Katchouk||LW||L||21||2018||Waterloo, Ontario||Lightning|
|30||Spencer Martin||G||L||24||2019||Oakville, Ontario||Lightning|
|27||Dominik Masin||D||L||24||2016||Mestec Kralove, Czech Republic||Lightning|
|18||Taylor Raddysh||RW||R||22||2018||Toronto, Ontario||Lightning|
|23||Patrick Sieloff||D||R||26||2019||Ann Arbor, Michigan||Lightning|
|46||Gemel Smith||C||L||26||2019||Toronto, Ontario||Lightning|
|16||Otto Somppi||C||L||22||2018||Helsinki, Finland||Lightning|
|14||Devante Stephens||D||L||23||2019||White Rock, British Columbia||Lightning|
|26||Ben Thomas||D||R||24||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||26||2015||Île-Perrot, Quebec||Lightning|
|29||Scott Wedgewood||G||L||27||2019||Brampton, Ontario||Lightning|
|28||Luke Witkowski (C)||D||R||30||2019||Holland, Michigan||Lightning|
|11||Dennis Yan||LW||L||23||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 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 in the 2017-18 season.
Records as of the beginning of the 2019-20 AHL season