Albany River Rats
Albany River Rats
City: Albany, New York
League: American Hockey League
Operated: 1993–2010
Home Arena: Times Union Center
Colors: Red, black, white


Affiliates: Carolina Hurricanes (NHL) (2006–2010)
Colorado Avalanche (NHL) (2006–2007)
New Jersey Devils (NHL)(1993–2006)
Franchise history
1990–1993: Capital District Islanders
1993–2010: Albany River Rats
2010–present: Charlotte Checkers
Regular Season Titles: 2 1994–95, 1995–96
Division Championships: 4 1994–95, 1995–96, 1996–97, 1997–98
Calder Cups: 1 1994–95

The Albany River Rats were an ice hockey team in the American Hockey League. They played in Albany, New York at the Times Union Center.

History Edit

Founding to 2010 Edit

The team was founded as the Capital District Islanders (playing at Houston Field House on campus at RPI located across the Hudson River in Troy, New York) in 1990 but changed their name when the New Jersey Devils sold their old affiliate the Utica Devils to become linked with this team.

In 1998, Walter Robb purchased the franchise from original owner Al Lawrence, allowing the franchise to remain in Albany. Garen Szablewski has served as CEO and President of the River Rats for 15 years since 1994.

The Rats' glory days came in the mid to late 1990s making seven consecutive playoff appearances, won 2 division titles, and took home the AHL's Calder Cup in 1995. Also in 1995, their parent club, the New Jersey Devils won the Stanley Cup.

However, wins have declined since the 1997–98 season, the last time Albany won a playoff series. The River Rats finished last in each of the 6 seasons between 2000–01 and 2005–06. A new affiliation with the Carolina Hurricanes beginning in the 2006–07 season brought hope of a return to AHL glory not seen in Albany since the late '90s.

On March 22, 2006, the Devils announced that they were cutting ties with the River Rats after the 2005–06 AHL season, as the parent club announced the purchase of the Lowell Lock Monsters. Despite the move, the River Rats were not relocated.1 In April 2006, The Carolina Hurricanes signed a one year agreement (with the option to renew for two additional) with the River Rats to be their farm affiliate.2 Later on, Carolina was joined by the Colorado Avalanche in a one-year partnership agreement. On February 22, 2007, the Carolina Hurricanes and Albany River Rats announced that their affiliation agreement had been extended through the 2008–09 season. 3

On April 24, 2008, the River Rats lost 2–3 to the Philadelphia Phantoms in the longest game played in AHL history. The Phantoms Ryan Potulny scored 2:58 into the fifth overtime. Albany gave up 101 shots on goal, and goaltender Michael Leighton made 98 saves.

Move to Charlotte Edit

On January 22, 2010, a report out of Raleigh, North Carolina that the franchise was to be sold and moved to Charlotte, North Carolina. The new franchise would be the new affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes with a team name of the Charlotte Checkers.

On February 10, 2010 the River Rats web site announced the sale of the River Rats is complete and they will be moving to Charlotte at the conclusion of the 2009-10 AHL Season. "Capital District Sports, Inc. announced today that its subsidiary, the Albany River Rats, has sold its American Hockey League franchise to MAK Hockey, LLC located in Charlotte, North Carolina. The sale will not affect the remainder of the 2009-10 season, with regular season games concluding on April 10, 2010 followed by the 2010 Calder Cup Playoffs." [1] However after the end of the 2010 season the team will relocate to Charlotte, North Carolina and be known as the Checkers and play in the Time Warner Cable Arena.

Shortly following the sale of the franchise, officials in Albany, as well as AHL President Dave Andrews, told media outlets the city would likely have a team for the 2010-2011 season and may even keep the River Rats title and logo, which remain property of former owner Walter Robb. It was reported in the Albany Times Union and the Portland Press Herald on March 15 that talks between the Times Union Center and the Portland Pirates to relocate the Pirates have broken off. Both Newspapers are reporting that Times Union Center GM Bob Belber said that they will go in a new direction and try to sign a deal with the Lowell Devils and bring back the Devils affiliaton to Albany. On the 6th of June the New Jersey Devils announced the relocation of the Lowell Devils to Albany to begin play in the AHL in the 2010-2011 season as the Albany Devils.[2]

This market was previously served by: Albany Choppers of the IHL (1990–91)
The franchise was replaced by: Albany Devils of the AHL, a relocation of the Lowell Devils (2010-present)
The franchise was later known as: Charlotte Checkers

2009 Bus Crash Edit

On February 19, 2009, five people were seriously injured when a bus carrying the team home from a game in Lowell struck a guard rail and rolled on its side on Interstate 90 in western Massachusetts. Nicolas Blanchard, Joe Jensen, Jonathan Paiement, Casey Borer, and the River Rats radio color commentator John Hennessy were taken to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield with "serious" injuries.[3]

Affiliates Edit

Season-by-season results Edit

Regular season Edit

Season Games WonLostTiedOTLSOLPoints Goals
1993–94803834 8 843123153rd, North
1994–95804617171092932191st, North
1995–96805419 71153222181st, Central
1996–97803828 9 5 902692313rd, Empire State
1997–9880432011 61032902231st, Empire State
1998–99804626 6 21002752302nd, Empire State
1999–00803040 7 3 702252504th, Empire State
2000–01803040 6 4 702162626th, Mid-Atlantic
2001–028014421212 521722714th, East
2002–0380253711 7 681972355th, East
2003–0480213911 9 621822577th, East
2004–05802938 6 7 711982487th, East
2005–06802548 4 3 572062787th, Atlantic
2006–07803736 4 3 812462584th, East
2007–08804330 3 4 932131983rd, East
2008–09803340 3 4 732192587th, East
2009–10804329 3 5 942442312nd, East

Playoffs Edit

Season1st round2nd round3rd roundFinals
1993–94 L, 1-4, PORT
1994–95 W, 4-0, ADIR W, 4-2, PROV --W, 4-0, FRED
1995–96 L, 1-3, CORN
1996–97 W, 3-1, ADIR W, 4-3, ROCH L, 1-4, HAM
1997–98 W, 3-0, ADIR W, 4-0, HAM L, 2-4, PHIL
1998–99 L, 3-2, HAM
1999–00 L, 3-2, ROCH
2000–01 Out of playoffs
2001–02 Out of playoffs
2002–03 Out of playoffs
2003–04 Out of playoffs
2004–05 Out of playoffs
2005–06 Out of playoffs
2006–07 L, 1-4, HER
2007–08 L, 3-4 PHIL
2008–09 Out of playoffs
2009–10 W, 4-0 WBSL, 0-4 HER

Team records Edit

Single season Edit

Goals: 46 Flag of Canada Jeff Williams (1998-99)
Assists: 63 Flag of the United States Keith Aucoin (2006-07)
Points: 99 Flag of the United States Keith Aucoin (2006-07)
Penalty Minutes: 348 Flag of Canada Matt Ruchty (1994-95)
GAA: 2.10 Flag of Canada Michael Leighton (2007-08)
SV%: .931 Flag of Canada Michael Leighton (2007-08)

Career Edit

Career goals: 155 Flag of Canada Steve Brule
Career assists: 214 Flag of Canada Steve Brule
Career points: 369 Flag of Canada Steve Brule
Career penalty minutes: 1197 Flag of Canada Rob Skrlac
Career goaltending wins: 77 Flag of Poland Peter Sidorkiewicz
Career shutouts: 8 Flag of Poland Peter Sidorkiewicz
Career games: 423 Flag of Slovakia Jiri Bicek

Current rosterEdit

As of April 14, 2010.

# Player Catches Date of birth Place of birth
31 Flag of Canada Justin Pogge L April 22, 1986 Fort McMurray, AB, Canada
35 Flag of Canada Justin Peters L August 30, 1986 Blyth, ON, Canada
# Player Shoots Date of birth Place of birth
2 Flag of the United States Jamie McBain R February 25, 1988 Edina, MN, USA
4 Flag of the United States Zack Fitzgerald L May 16, 1985 Two Harbors, MN, USA
5 Flag of the United States Tim Conboy R March 22, 1982 Farmington, MN, USA
6 Flag of Canada Jay Harrison R November 3, 1982 Oshawa, ON, Canada
7 Flag of the United States Kyle Lawson R July 11, 1987 Southfield, MI, USA
28 Flag of the United States Casey Borer L July 28, 1985 Minneapolis, MN, USA
33 Flag of Canada Bryan Rodney R April 22, 1984 London, ON, Canada
34 Flag of Canada Brett Bellemore R June 25, 1988 Windsor, ON, Canada
# Player Position Shoots Date of birth Place of birth
8 Flag of Canada Nick Dodge C R May 1, 1986 Oakville, ON, Canada
9 Flag of the United States Drayson Bowman LW L March 8, 1989 Grand Rapids, MI, USA
10 Flag of Canada Mike Angelidis C L June 27, 1985 Unionville, ON, Canada
11 Flag of Canada Zach Boychuk C L October 4, 1989 Airdrie, AB, Canada
12 Flag of Canada Steven Goertzen RW R May 26, 1984 Stony Plain, AB, Canada
15 Flag of Canada Stefan Chaput C L March 11, 1988 Montreal, QC, Canada
17 Flag of Canada Jerome Samson RW R September 4, 1987 Greenfield Park, QC, Canada
18 Flag of Canada Jacob Micflikier LW L July 11, 1984 Winnipeg, MB, Canada
19 Flag of Canada Rob Hennigar C L April 4, 1983 St. Catharines, ON, Canada
20 Flag of the Czech Republic Jiri Tlusty LW L March 16, 1988 Slaný, Czechoslovakia
25 Flag of Canada Chris Terry C L April 7, 1989 Brampton, ON, CAN
26 Flag of Canada Nicolas Blanchard LW L May 31, 1987 Granby, QC, Canada
32 Flag of Finland Oskar Osala LW L December 26, 1987 Vaasa, Finland
36 Flag of Canada Brad Herauf LW L August 24, 1982 Regina, SK, Canada
Title Staff member
Head coach Jeff Daniels
Assistant coach Geordie Kinnear
Head trainer Brian Maddox

References Edit

External links Edit

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