Colorado Eagles
2021–22 AHL season
CityLoveland, Colorado
LeagueAmerican Hockey League
ConferenceWestern
DivisionPacific
Founded2003 (In the CHL)
Home arenaBudweiser Events Center
Colors       
Owner(s)Colorado Eagles Professional Hockey LLC
General managerCraig Billington[1]
Head coachGreg Cronin
Media
AffiliatesColorado Avalanche (NHL)
Utah Grizzlies (ECHL)
Franchise history
2003–presentColorado Eagles
Championships
Regular season titles3 (2005, 2006, 2009)
Division Championships8 (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 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.

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 Statistical 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, 2004–05. They won their division in 2005–06, 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 2007–08 season, coach Chris Stewart retired, and Kevin McClelland was named as his replacement. Following the 2009–10 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 2008–09 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 2011–12 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 2011–12 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 2011–12 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 2020–21 AHL season.[22]

Regular season Playoffs
Season GP W L OTL SOL Pts GF GA PIM Finish Year 1st round 2nd round 3rd round Finals
Central Hockey League
2003–04 64 43 16 0 5 91 232 156 1453 1st, Northwest 2004 L, 1–3, WIC
2004–05 60 43 10 5 2 93 221 123 1345 1st, Northwest 2005 W, 4–1, TUL W, 4–2, WIC W, 4–1, LAR
2005–06 64 44 14 0 6 94 241 183 1898 1st, Northwest 2006 W, 4–3, OKC L, 1–4, BS
2006–07 64 46 17 0 1 93 256 182 1944 1st, Northwest 2007 W, 4–2, YNG W, 4–3, OKC W, 4–2, MEM W, 4–2, LAR
2007–08 64 37 20 2 5 81 254 223 1637 1st, Northwest 2008 BYE W, 4–1, YNG W, 4–3, TEX L, 0–4, ARZ
2008–09 64 45 15 1 3 94 275 195 1429 1st, Northwest 2009 BYE W, 4–0, BS W, 4–2, MIS L, 1–4, TEX
2009–10 64 42 15 5 2 91 277 208 1557 2nd, Northern 2010 BYE L, 0–4, BS
2010–11 66 40 22 2 2 84 250 199 1352 2nd, Turner 2011 W, 3–1, QC W, 3–1, MO W, 4–3, RC L, 3–4 BS
ECHL
2011–12 72 38 28 1 5 82 250 252 1485 2nd, Mountain 2012 L, 0–3, STK
2012–13 72 34 31 3 4 75 239 224 1534 3rd, Mountain 2013 L, 2–4, IDA
2013–14 71 33 26 7 5 78 211 218 1158 4th, Mountain 2014 L, 2–4, IDA
2014–15 72 41 23 4 4 90 236 209 1457 3rd, Pacific 2015 L, 3–4, ONT
2015–16 72 41 27 3 1 86 232 193 1427 1st, West 2016 L, 2–4, UTA
2016–17 72 47 20 2 3 99 265 206 1415 2nd, Mountain 2017 W, 4–1, IDA W, 4–2, ALN W, 4–1, TOL W, 4–0 SC
2017–18 72 48 18 4 2 102 265 214 1377 1st, Mountain 2018 W, 4–2, WIC W, 4–0, IDA W, 4–3, FW W, 4–3, FLA
American Hockey League
2018–19 68 36 27 4 1 77 191 205 1114 4th, Pacific 2019 L, 1–3, BAK
2019–20 56 34 18 3 1 72 188 162 683 2nd, Pacific 2020 Season cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic
2020–21 34 15 15 3 1 34 .500 101 104 5th, Pacific 2021[a] OTW, 5–4, ONT L, 1–5, SJ
  1. ^ The 2021 Calder Cup playoffs were not held; the Pacific Division held a postseason tournament for the division title. The bottom four teams had single-elimination play-in games to qualify for the semifinals (the first two rounds). The division semifinals and finals were best-of-three for the John D. Chick Trophy (the last two rounds).

Players

Current roster

Updated November 20, 2021.[23]

# Nat Player Pos S/G Age Acquired Birthplace Contract
60 Finland Justus Annunen G L 21 2021 Kempele, Finland Avalanche
20 Canada Justin Barron D R 20 2021 Halifax, Nova Scotia Avalanche
74 Canada Alex Beaucage RW R 20 2021 Trois-Rivières, Quebec Avalanche
14 Canada Shane Bowers C L 22 2019 Halifax, Nova Scotia Avalanche
54 United States Trey Bradley LW L 25 2021 Tampa, Florida Eagles
68 United States Callahan Burke C R 24 2020 Boxborough, Massachusetts Eagles
38 Canada Luka Burzan C L 21 2021 Surrey, British Columbia Eagles
88 Sweden Andreas Englund D L 25 2021 Stockholm, Sweden Eagles
41 Canada Gabriel Fontaine C L 24 2021 Montreal, Quebec Eagles
93 Canada Jean-Luc Foudy C R 19 2021 Scarborough, Ontario Avalanche
48 United States Dennis Gilbert (A) D L 25 2021 Buffalo, New York Avalanche
79 United States Jordan Gross D R 26 2021 Maple Grove, Minnesota Avalanche
65 Canada Rob Hamilton D L 27 2021 Calgary, Alberta Eagles
70 Canada Nick Henry RW R 22 2019 Portage la Prairie, Manitoba Avalanche
16 United States Jacob MacDonald (C) D L 28 2019 Portland, Oregon Avalanche
57 Russia Mikhail Maltsev LW/C L 23 2021 Saint Petersburg, Russia Avalanche
10 Canada Roland McKeown D R 25 2021 Listowel, Ontario Avalanche
67 Canada Keaton Middleton (A) D L 23 2020 Stratford, Ontario Avalanche
50 Canada Trent Miner G R 20 2021 Souris, Manitoba Avalanche
75 Finland Sampo Ranta LW L 21 2021 Naantali, Finland Avalanche
9 Canada Dylan Sikura C L 26 2021 Aurora, Ontario Avalanche
73 Canada Dalton Smith LW L 29 2021 Oshawa, Ontario Eagles
64 Canada Benjamin Tardif C L 21 2021 Notre-Dame-de-l'Île-Perrot, Quebec Eagles
13 United States Ryan Wagner LW L 25 2019 Park Ridge, Illinois Eagles
63 Sweden Andreas Wingerli C/LW L 24 2021 Lycksele, Sweden Avalanche

Retired numbers

Colorado Eagles retired numbers
No. Player Position Career No. retirement
12 Riley Nelson C 2003–2014 December 12, 2014[24]
17 Ryan Tobler LW 2003–2010 March 27, 2015[25]
23 Aaron Schneekloth D 2006–2013 March 22, 2019[26]
27 Brad Williamson D 2003–2008 March 22, 2019[26]
89 Greg Pankewicz RW 2003–2009 October 16, 2009[27]

Awards and honors

Andrew Agozzino representing the Eagles at the 2019 AHL All-Star Classic.
Andrew Agozzino representing the Eagles at the 2019 AHL All-Star Classic.

Ray Miron President's Cup
CHL playoff champion

Kelly Cup
ECHL playoff champion

Bud Poile Governors' Cup
CHL regular season champion

Conference playoff championship

Division titles

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. Archived from the original on July 11, 2011. Retrieved May 25, 2011.
  4. ^ Cohn, Justin A. (May 6, 2011). "Lots of excitement". The Journal Gazette. Archived from the original on May 10, 2011. 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. ^ "Eagles schedule new conference for Tuesday". The Coloradoan. May 30, 2011. Retrieved May 30, 2011.[dead link]
  8. ^ "Annual ECHL Board of Governors meeting concludes". ECHL. August 1, 2011. Archived from the original on August 24, 2011. Retrieved August 1, 2011.
  9. ^ "Jets cut ties to ECHL club". Winnipeg Free Press. May 14, 2013. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
  10. ^ Lytle, Kevin (July 6, 2016). "Chris Stewart retires as Colorado Eagles coach". Fort Collins Coloradoan. Retrieved July 6, 2016.
  11. ^ Tiller, Cris (July 18, 2016). "Colorado Eagles name Aaron Schneekloth to replace Chris Stewart". Reporter-Herald. Retrieved July 18, 2016.
  12. ^ "Eagles Announce Affiliation with Colorado Avalanche". OurSports Central. July 20, 2016. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
  13. ^ "The Kelly Cup was never returned so the ECHL created a replacement trophy". WTVG. May 31, 2019. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  14. ^ "STATEMENT FROM EAGLES OWNER MARTIN LIND REGARDING KELLY CUP". Colorado Eagles. May 31, 2019. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  15. ^ "STATEMENT FROM THE ECHL REGARDING THE KELLY CUP". ECHL. June 1, 2019. Retrieved June 1, 2019.
  16. ^ "Growlers to Celebrate Opening Night with Two Kelly Cups". OurSports Central. October 10, 2019. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  17. ^ Alexander, Jim (February 12, 2017). "American Hockey League president talks scheduling, expansion, All-Stars, etc". The Press-Enterprise. Retrieved February 12, 2017.
  18. ^ Chambers, Mike (June 14, 2017). "Colorado Eagles in discussions to become the Avalanche's AHL affiliate". The Denver Post. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  19. ^ Lytle, Kevin (October 10, 2017). "Colorado Eagles moving to AHL to become top Avalanche affiliate". Fort Collins Coloradoan. Retrieved October 10, 2017.
  20. ^ "AHL Awards Expansion Membership to Colorado Eagles" (Press release). American Hockey League. October 10, 2017. Retrieved October 10, 2017.
  21. ^ "AVALANCHE NAME CRONIN COLORADO EAGLES HEAD COACH". Colorado Eagles. July 12, 2018. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  22. ^ "Colorado Eagles season statistics and records". HockeyDB. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  23. ^ "Colorado Eagles roster". Colorado Eagles. November 20, 2021. Retrieved November 20, 2021.
  24. ^ Tiller, Cris (December 11, 2014). "Former Eagles captain Riley Nelson settling into life after hockey". Reporter-Herald. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  25. ^ Tiller, Cris (March 27, 2015). "Ryan Tobler honored to have Colorado Eagles retire his number". Reporter-Herald. Retrieved March 27, 2015.
  26. ^ a b "Colorado Eagles to retire numbers of Schneekloth, Williamson". Colorado Eagles. February 5, 2019. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  27. ^ "Pankewicz retires becomes assistant coach". Colorado Eagles. August 10, 2009. Archived from the original on August 17, 2016. Retrieved October 12, 2009.