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Cincinnati Cyclones
Cincinnati Cyclones.jpg
City: Cincinnati, Ohio
League: ECHL
Conference: Eastern Conference
Division: North Division
Founded: 1990
Home Arena: Heritage Bank Center
Colors: Red, black, gold, white


Owner(s): Nederlander Cincinnati
General Manager: Ray Harris
Head Coach: Matt Thomas
Affiliates: Buffalo Sabres (NHL) and Rochester Americans (AHL)
Franchise history
1995–1998: Louisville River Frogs
1998–1999: Miami Matadors
1999–2001: inactive
2001–present: Cincinnati Cyclones
Regular Season Titles: 2007–08
Division Championships: 1995-96 (IHL)

2007–08, 2008–09

Conference Championships: 2007–08, 2009–10
Kelly Cups: 2007–08, 2009-10

The Cincinnati Cyclones are a professional hockey team based in Cincinnati, Ohio. The team is a member of the ECHL. Founded in 1990, the team first played their games in the Cincinnati Gardens and now play at Heritage Bank Center]. They are the reigning ECHL Kelly Cup Champions, having won the 2010 Kelly Cup Finals in five games over the Idaho Steelheads, and currently enjoy their 2nd championship reign in three seasons.

Cincinnati has fielded Cyclones teams in two different leagues: the International Hockey League (1992–2001) and the ECHL (1990–1992, 2001–2004, 2006–present). Together, the franchises have combined to win two Kelly Cups (2008 and 2010), two conference championships (2008 and 2010), one overall points championship (2008), and three division championships (1996, 2008, and 2009).

In 2007–08, the team had the most successful season in ECHL history. 55 wins and 115 points earned them the North Division Championship and Brabham Cup trophy, and the team won its first ever conference and league championships, winning the 2008 Kelly Cup in a six game final over the Las Vegas Wranglers.

In 2009-10, the team, even with the American Conference's #5 seed to begin the playoffs, made history by becoming the first team in ECHL history, and the 6th of seven professional hockey teams overall, to overcome a 3-0 deficit to win a best of seven playoff series, winning the American Conference Championship in the process. Nine days later, Cincinnati finished their improbable run with the 2nd Kelly Cup in team history, both in three years, completing a five game Kelly Cup Final win over the Idaho Steelheads

History of the Cincinnati Cyclones

There have been three separate franchises, known as the Cincinnati Cyclones. All three franchises have been hockey teams, two in the ECHL and one in the IHL.

The early ECHL years: 1990–1992

The first franchise to use the name Cincinnati Cyclones was founded in 1990. The team played their games during this time period at the Cincinnati Gardens. They lost in the first round of the playoffs in the 1990–1991 season. In the 1991–1992 season, the Cyclones lost in the Riley Cup semi-finals. The team's owner at the time, Doug Kirchhofer, was granted an IHL franchise who chose to move the Cyclones name to that franchise and relocate the ECHL franchise to Birmingham, Alabama to form the new Birmingham Bulls.

Since moving to Birmingham, this franchise has seen stints in three cities across the United States. The franchise played in Birmingham from the 1992–1993 season until the 2000–2001 season. Following the completion of the 2000–2001 season, the franchise moved to Atlantic City, New Jersey to become the short-lived Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies. The Boardwalk Bullies played for four seasons, the 2001–2002 season through the 2004–2005 season, before being moved to another city. While in New Jersey, the franchise won a Kelly Cup Championship in the 2002–2003 season, defeating the Columbia Inferno in the finals. Despite the success on ice, the Boardwalk Bullies were sold to the current ownership group after low attendance in Atlantic City. The franchise was moved to Stockton, California and changed the name to the Stockton Thunder. The franchise has been in Stockton since 2005–2006 and are coached by a former Cincinnati Cyclones player, Chris Cichocki.

The IHL years: 1992–2001

The first season in the IHL, Cincinnati failed to qualify for the post-season, which would be the first of only two seasons in which they did not qualify. Paul Lawless, who would eventually be Head Coach and Vice President of Player Development and have his number 13 retired, began his first a several stints with the team in the 1992–1993 season. On Friday, April 2, 2004, during his number retirement ceremony, he was singled out as a reason for the team's success, both on the ice and in attendance. During the IHL years, the Cyclones set a team record of 8 consecutive 90+ Point Seasons, [1] ending on June 4, 2001 when the International Hockey League ceased operations. During the Cyclones 9 years in the IHL, they won their only Division Championship and Conference Championship, both in the 1995–1996 season, but lost in a seven-game semi-final series to the Orlando Solar Bears.

In 1997, the Cyclones' lease agreement with the Cincinnati Gardens came to an end and the two sides were unable to reach an agreement for a new contract. It was at this time that team owner, Doug Kirchhofer purchased what then was known as Riverfront Coliseum in downtown Cincinnati, re-named it The Crown, renovated the arena, and moved the team there. During the seven seasons the Cyclones were in the arena, the venue was re-named the Firstar Center and now is known as U.S. Bank Arena. The team has since been unsuccessful in reclaiming the higher attendance numbers from the Cincinnati Gardens, until the most recent run at winning the Kelly Cup, where they drew 12,722 fans to the last game of the postseason. [2]

Back in the ECHL: 2001–2007

The third Cyclones franchise started in the 1995–1996 ECHL season as the Louisville River Frogs, playing in Louisville, Kentucky. After three years in Louisville, the team moved to Miami, Florida. After the lone 1998–1999 season as the Miami Matadors, the franchise eventually came into the ownership of a group in Birmingham, Alabama. Upon the IHL fold, the Cyclones name was sold to this ownership group who moved the franchise to Cincinnati to become the new Cincinnati Cyclones.

The first year back in the ECHL ended the team's streak of 90+ Point seasons with the Cyclones finishing just 12 points shy despite a 10 game fewer season length. Former Cyclones player Paul Lawless became head coach, as a mid-season replacement for Ray Edwards.

Before the start of the 2003–2004 season former Cyclones player and assistant coach Chris Cichocki left the Arkansas RiverBlades in order to return as the Cyclones head coach. Despite his success with Arkansas, though, Cichocki led the team to their worst season in points at 54 (previous low being the 61 points in their first IHL season) and failed to make the playoffs for the second time in team history.

Shortly after ending the season without a playoff berth, in April 2004, the Cyclones suspended operations. This suspension in operations was mainly due to lack of revenue brought on by a lack of safe access to the arena. Safe access was limited by construction in Downtown Cincinnati. This dormancy left Cincinnati hockey to the cross-town, Cincinnati Gardens-based AHL rival, Cincinnati Mighty Ducks and stopped the city's record of two minor league hockey teams in the same city for consecutive years.

With minor league hockey dormant in Cincinnati for a year, and plans for the proposed AHL Cincinnati RailRaiders franchise scrapped for 2006–07, on April 21, 2006 the Cyclones announced that they would participate in the upcoming 2006–2007 ECHL season. They returned in the American Conference, North Division of the ECHL and continue to play their home games at U.S. Bank Arena, joining their two ECHL, Ohio rivals, Dayton Bombers and Toledo Storm.

On July 18, 2006, the Cyclones announced their affiliation with the Montreal Canadiens of the NHL and the Hamilton Bulldogs of the AHL. The Cyclones won their first game back in the ECHL on October 20 against the Pensacola Ice Pilots at U.S. Bank Arena with a score of 3 to 1.

On May 23, 2007, the Cyclones announced they had re-signed head coach Chuck Weber to coach the team for the 2007–2008 season. Weber was also the runner-up for the ECHL's Coach of the Year award for 2006–2007.[3]

On August 2, 2007, In addition to the Montreal/Hamilton affiliation, the Cyclones announced an affiliation with the NHL's Nashville Predators and the AHL's Milwaukee Admirals.

150px Previous team logo

2007–08 season: The Kelly Cup Championship Season

The Cyclones' 2007–2008 season saw the club break numerous franchise and league records. Through 50 games, the Cyclones were 31 games over .500. Attendance at games had increased nearly 40% over 2006–2007 and the club had already surpassed their win total from 2006–2007 (37). They achieved this mark in 24 fewer games. [4]

On February 22, 2008 the Cyclones tied the ECHL record for a single-season winning streak of 14th consecutive games, defeating the Johnstown Chiefs 5–2 in Cincinnati.[5]

On February 23, 2008 David Desharnais recorded two assists, extending his streak of games with at least one assist to 18, this broke the existing ECHL record of 17. In the same game, the Cyclones set a new ECHL record for a single-season winning streak of 15 consecutive wins when the Cyclones defeated the Elmira Jackals in a 5–4 shootout.[6]

The team finished the regular season with 115 points, earning them the Brabham Cup regular season championship. They also won the Northern Division and American Conference regular season titles. Individually, Chuck Weber was named ECHL coach of the year, earning him the John Brophy trophy. David Desharnais claimed three ECHL awards: Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year, and the Leading Scorer award with 29 goals and 77 assists for 106 points. In addition, Chad Starling won the award for the most plus/minus points.

The Cyclones entered the playoffs and defeated the Johnstown Chiefs four games to none. The Cyclones moved on to take on the Reading Royals, Cincinnati took the series in seven games to claim their second ever North Division playoff title. Finally, on May 16, 2008, the Cyclones defeated the South Carolina Stingrays, 2-1 in overtime, to claim the American Conference Championship. With their victory, Cincinnati also claimed the E.A. "Bud" Gingher Memorial Trophy.

Three weeks later, following a six game victory over the National Conference Champion Las Vegas Wranglers in the Kelly Cup Finals, the Cyclones clinched the first championship in team history. After splitting the first two games in Cincinnati (Cincinnati 4-3 and Las Vegas 1-0), the series shifted to Las Vegas, where Cincinnati won games three and five to take a 3-2 series lead. In front of a record setting crowd, 12,722 fans, at US Bank Arena in Cincinnati on June 5, the Cyclones defeated Las Vegas in Game Six, 3-1, to take the championship. The clincher was the 71st win of the season. Goalie Cedrick Desjardins was named the Kelly Cup Playoff MVP.


After the Cyclones cup win coach Chuck Weber and assistant coach Dean Stork received multi-year extensions. Weber was also given the title of Vice President. On November 29, Chuck Weber picked up his 100th professional head coaching victory with a 6-3 win at Johnstown.

Cincinnati's season was not as successful as the last one, but they won 41 games for 87 points, repeating as North Division champions. They won a seven game series against Wheeling, including a double overtime game seven win, and swept the Elmira Jackals to win the North Division playoff title. However, the Cyclones would be swept by the South Carolina Stingrays in the American Conference Finals. These two teams had met in the conference finals the year before, with Cincinnati picking up a five game win.

2009–10 season, Champions Again

The 2009-2010 season proved to be more successful than the last. Cincinnati ended up with 44 wins and 91 points, the wins total being the most in the American Conference. Despite that, the Cyclones finished 2nd in the North Division to the Kalamazoo Wings and wound up 5th in the conference. This meant a rematch with 4th seeded, and defending champion, South Carolina in the first round, a matchup in which Cincinnati defeated the Stingrays in five games, ending on April 11, when veteran captain Barrett Eghotz scored in overtime for the 3-2 win in Game Five. The game was the third straight overtime game in the series. This set up a matchup with the top seeded Charlotte Checkers, and once again for Cincinnati it went the distance. Game Seven saw Cincinnati post a 2-1 victory, and in the process end Charlotte's tenure in the ECHL, as Charlotte will play the 2010-11 season in the AHL.

Cincinnati drew the Reading Royals in the American Conference Final. What was in all other accounts an epic seven game series was marred by several incidents, both on and off the ice, that resulted in suspensions and fines to players and staff of both organizations. The worst of it occurred after game six, when Reading's Scott Fletcher allegedly struck a Cincinnati fan with a stick, drawing an indefinite suspension by the league. Nevertheless, the series made ECHL history when, after losing the first two at home, then Game Three at Reading, Cincinnati posted wins of 6-4, 5-0 and 6-3 to force the team's third winner take all match in the 2010 playoffs. The game occurred on May 12 at US Bank Arena. In front of 5,340 fans, the Cyclones posted a 1-0 win to become the first team in ECHL history, and the 6th pro team in history, to come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a best of seven series. The only goal of the contest was scored by Barret Ehgoetz 13:48 into the game.

The Cincinnati Cyclones defeated the Idaho Steelheads in the 2010 Kelly Cup Final, four games to one. Cincinnati used game winning goals within the last minute in the first two games, a 3-2 win on a goal by Mark Van Guilder with 49.2 seconds remaining on May 14, and a 1-0 win the next night, when Mathieu Aubin netted the only goal in the contest, and only with 20.1 seconds remaining in regulation. The series shifted to US Bank Arena, and witnessed an Idaho victory within the first minute of the 2nd overtime of Game Three, as Evan Barlow received a pass at the bottom of the right circle and fired the puck into a largely vacated goal, as Cyclones goalie Robert Mayer had committed to the left side.

In front of yet another ECHL playoff record setting crowd of 13,483 at US Bank Arena in Cincinnati on May 21, the Cyclones defeated Idaho in Game Five, 2-1, to take the championship. With the victory, the Cyclones clinched their second Kelly Cup title in three years. The game was also the Cyclones 24th Kelly Cup playoff game, surpassing the club record of 22 postseason games played by the 2008 championship team and is one more than South Carolina (23) had in its title run in 2009. Rookie Cyclones goaltenders Robert Mayer and Jeremy Smith were named co-winners of the Kelly Cup playoffs MVP. Cincinnati finished with a total record of 59-32-4.

Head coach Chuck Weber lost his assistant, Dean Stork, on June 29, when Stork was named head coach of the Greenville Road Warriors, also from the ECHL.

2010–11 season

Sweeping changes will affect the Cyclones in the coming year. First, they will be with a new coaching staff for 2010-11. Assistant Coach Dean Stork became the head coach of the Greenville Road Warriors, formerly the Johnstown Chiefs, in June. Then, head coach Chuck Weber was promoted to the American Hockey League as head coach of the Rochester Americans on July 27. On August 4, Cincinnati signed a new affiliation agreement with the NHL's Florida Panthers, who use Rochester as their AHL farm team, creating a working relationship between Chuck Weber and his former Cyclones team. on August 12, Cincinnati named Jarrod Skalde as the new head coach.

The Cyclones will open up the 2010 Campaign on Friday, October 15 in Elmira against the Elmira Jackals. The first home game will be on Saturday, October 30 versus the Wheeling Nailers at 7:35 PM. All home games have been moved back 5 minutes to 7:35 Pm, instead of the previous 7:30 start time. This change was probably made to allow more fans to see the start of the game.

2011-12 season

Under Jarrod Skalde leadership the team posted the second best home record (26-7-0-3)this season. They did try to make a late comeback to make the post-season in the final two home games. The team missed the play-off to the Chicago Express in a over-time lost. Only the third time in team's over-all history to not make the post-season. Skalde was given a one year contract extension.

Season records

Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, OL = Overtime losses, SL = Shootout losses, Pts = Points, PCT = Winning percentage, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalty infraction minutes

Season League Division GP W L T OL SL Pts PCT GF GA PIM Coach(es) Result
1990–91 ECHL West 64 37 24 0 3 0 77 0.578 285 281 1954 Dennis Desrosiers Lost in round 1
1991–92 ECHL West 64 36 20 0 8 0 80 0.562 329 284 2323 Dennis Desrosiers Lost in round 3
1992–93 IHL IHLA 82 27 48 0 7 0 61 0.329 305 364 2388 Dennis Desrosiers Out of Playoffs
1993–94 IHL IHLC 81 49 23 0 9 0 107 0.605 336 282 2214 Dennis Desrosiers, Richard Kromm, Terry Murray Lost in round 2
1994–95 IHL Midwest 81 49 22 0 10 0 113 0.605 305 272 2125 Don Jackson Lost in round 2
1995–96 IHL IHLN 82 51 22 0 9 0 111 0.622 318 247 1806 Ron Smith Lost in round 3
1996–97 IHL IHLN 82 43 29 0 10 0 96 0.524 254 248 1890 Ron Smith Lost in round 1
1997–98 IHL IHLC 82 40 30 0 12 0 92 0.488 275 254 1702 Ron Smith Lost in round 2
1998–99 IHL IHLNE 82 44 32 0 6 0 94 0.537 269 270 1835 Ron Smith Lost in round 1
1999–00 IHL IHLE 82 44 30 0 8 0 96 0.537 244 246 1688 Ron Smith Lost in round 3
2000–01 IHL IHLE 82 44 29 0 9 0 97 0.537 267 258 1273 Ron Smith Lost in round 1
2001–02 ECHL Northwest 72 36 30 6 0 0 78 0.542 210 207 1462 Ray Edwards, Paul Lawless Lost in round 2
2002–03 ECHL Northwest 72 36 29 7 0 0 79 0.549 257 236 1686 Malcolm Cameron Lost in round 3
2003–04 ECHL Northern 72 25 43 4 0 0 54 0.375 175 223 1308 Chris Cichocki Out of Playoffs
2006–07 ECHL North 72 37 29 4 2 80 0.556 213 198 1602 Chuck Weber Lost in round 3
2007–08 ECHL North 72 55 11 1 4 115 0.799 292 178 1311 Chuck Weber ECHL Champions
2008–09 ECHL North 72 41 26 2 3 87 0.604 256 231 1391 Chuck Weber Lost in round 3
2009–10 ECHL North 72 44 25 2 2 91 0.611 253 200 1138 Chuck Weber ECHL Champions
2010–11 ECHL North 72 33 29 6 4 76 0.528 199 229 1351 Jarrod Skalde Lost in round 1
2011–12 ECHL North 72 35 28 2 7 79 0.549 228 227 1016 Jarrod Skalde Out of Playoffs
2012–13 ECHL North 72 42 22 5 3 92 0.639 227 195 1119 Jarrod Skalde Lost in round 3
2013–14 ECHL North 72 41 23 4 4 90 0.625 247 204 839 Ben Simon Lost in round 4
2014–15 ECHL North 72 31 30 2 9 73 0.507 195 212 963 Matt Macdonald Out of Playoffs
2015–16 ECHL Midwest 72 36 27 5 4 81 .563 222 210 847 Matt Macdonald Lost in round 1
2016–17 ECHL South 72 36 29 6 1 79 0.549 200 209 949 Matt Macdonald Out of Playoffs
2017–18 ECHL Central 72 39 30 3 0 98 0.681 229 226 992 Matt Macdonald Lost Division Semifinals
2018–19 ECHL Central 72 51 13 5 3 110 0.764 282 176 - Matt Thomas Lost Division Final
2019–20 ECHL Central 63 38 17 7 1 84 .667 196 161 808 Matt Thomas Season cancelled
2020-21 Woluntarily Suspend operations for season due to COVID-19 pandemic

Notable players

  • 16 - Greg Stewart Played the 06-07 season with the Cyclones and was the first player under Chuck Weber to reach the NHL with Montreal in 2008.
  • 44 - JT Wyman Played the 08-09 season with Cincinnati in 15 games JT had 8 assist while on loan from Hamilton, became the second player whom Chuck Weber coached to reach the NHL in 2009 with Montreal.
  • 51 - David Desharnais Played the 07-08 season with the Cyclones and was the ECHL Most Valuable Player, ECHL Rookie of the Year with 106 points in route to winning the Kelly Cup, became the third Chuck Weber product to make the NHL with Montreal in 2009
  • 20 - Kevin Kerr: All-time leader in scoring for non-NHL players, played three seasons and 112 games with Cincinnati, tallying 145 points in regular season play and 19 points in 13 playoff games with the Cyclones.
  • 30 - Cedrick Desjardins: The 2008 Kelly Cup Playoffs Most Valuable Player... posted a 40-23-3 record in two seasons as Cyclones netminder.
  • 21 - Gilbert Dionne: scored 134 goals in 313 games with the team, and won the 1999 IHL All Star Game MVP Award in a game played at US Bank Arena.
  • 22 - Don Biggs: The centerpiece of the team for many years, Biggs played 458 games for Cincinnati, scoring 147 goals and tallying 444 points total. Both totals are records for any player from any version of the Cyclones.
  • Coach Ron Smith - Head coach of the Cyclones from 1995-2001. Tallied a franchise record 266 wins during his six years with the team.

Retired numbers

  • 7* - Retired in honor of the fans. The fans, being the seventh player, were recognized by the team by the dedication of the number 7 to them.
  • 22 - Don Biggs
  • 13 - Paul Lawless on April 2, 2004.
  • 14* - Retired in honor of Pete Rose, the Cincinnati Reds baseball player. Since he is banned by Major League Baseball, the Reds cannot retire his number. The Cyclones retired the number in his honor for this reason.
  • 21 - Gilbert Dionne - Retired on December 2, 2006.

* - Denotes honorary number.

Infamous moments

  • February 1995 - Cyclones coach Don Jackson punches the Atlanta mascot, thus drawing a suspension from the league. [7]



External links

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Preceded by
Idaho Steelheads
Kelly Cup Champions
Succeeded by
South Carolina Stingrays
Preceded by
South Carolina Stingrays
Kelly Cup Champions
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