|League:||American Hockey League|
|Home Arena:||MassMutual Center|
|Colors:||Blue, Red, Silver, & White
|Owner(s):||Springfield Pro Hockey, LLC|
|General Manager:||Bruce Landon|
|Head Coach:||Rob Riley|
|Media:||The Springfield Republican]|
|Affiliates:||Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL)|
Gwinnett Gladiators (ECHL)
|Division Championships:||4 (1995–96, 1997–98, 2012–13, 2013–14)|
The Springfield Falcons were an ice hockey team in the American Hockey League (AHL). They played in Springfield, Massachusetts, at the MassMutual Center and were the top affiliate of the Arizona Coyotes of the National Hockey League. The Falcons' two main rivals were the Hartford Wolf Pack and the Providence Bruins. Their mascot is a falcon named Screech. On March 25, 2010, the Falcons announced that they will be the AHL affiliate for the Columbus Blue Jackets beginning with the 2010-11 AHL season, It is a one-year affiliation agreement with a one-year option.
In 1994, the longtime AHL Springfield Indians team was sold to interests that moved the franchise to Worcester, Massachusetts, to become the Worcester IceCats (now the Peoria Rivermen). Ex-Indian players Bruce Landon, then the general manager of the Indians, and Wayne LaChance, a local rink owner, secured an expansion franchise for Springfield for the 1995 season. The Indians name was still under trademark, so the new owners named the team after Andy and Amelia, a pair of nesting peregrine falcons that was a popular local civic symbol. The Falcons secured affiliation with both the Hartford Whalers and the Winnipeg Jets of the NHL, keeping continuity with the Whalers' affiliation of the previous few years. Veteran defenseman John Stevens (who shared the co-captaincy that first year with Rob Murray and the last captain of the Indians) scored the franchise's first goal.
Among the Falcons' notable players have included Jean-Guy Trudel, the franchise's leading career goal and point scorer; Daniel Briere; Karri Ramo, the former Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender, Manny Legace, the franchise's all-time leading goaltender and former St. Louis Blues starter; Nikolai Khabibulin, former Stanley Cup winning goalie also played 23 games with Springfield; and Rob Murray, the franchise's long-time captain and inspirational leader, and current head coach of the Providence Bruins. During the 2004 season, Springfield fans voted on the Web for the team's 10th Anniversary Team, and selected Briere at center, Trudel at left wing, Tavis Hansen at right wing, Brad Tiley and Dan Focht on defense, and Legace in goal.
Individual honors won by Falcons players have included the Baz Bastien Award given to the league's best goaltender (to Legace in 1996 and Scott Langkow in 1998), Briere winning the Red Garrett Award emblematic of rookie of the year and a nod as First Team All-Star center in 1998, Tiley winning the Eddie Shore Award for the league's outstanding defenseman in 2000, Trudel winning a Second Team All-Star award in 1999-00, and Charles Linglet was also named a second-team all star in 2009–10. The 2012-13 season saw winger Jonathan Audy-Marchessault named to the first team all star with goaltender Curtis McElhinney a second team all star.
The team has finished in first place in its division four times and made the playoffs eight times in its twenty seasons, including the last two seasons in a row. After the Whalers relocated to become the Carolina Hurricanes, the Falcons were subsequently affiliated exclusively with the Jets, an affiliation that continued when that team became the Phoenix Coyotes in 1996. The team was affiliated with the Tampa Bay Lightning between 2005 and 2007.
On March 19, 2007, the team announced that given its ninth straight losing season, it was exercising its option to sever relations with the Lightning to become an affiliate to the Edmonton Oilers, starting in the 2007–08 AHL season, through the 2009–10 AHL season. The Lightning became affiliated with the Norfolk Admirals.
The Edmonton Oilers Affiliation
On August 3, 2007, the team hired former Edmonton Oilers player Kelly Buchberger to be the head coach. After posting a .500 record, the Oilers promoted Buchberger to be an assistant coach on the Oilers staff. On June 17, 2008, assistant coach Jeff Truitt was named the team's tenth head coach. He was fired in February 2009, after 50 games, and replaced by former Houston Aeros coach Rob Daum. The Falcons finished the 2008–09 season with the worst record in the AHL.
On June 23, 2009, Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini announced that Rob Daum would remain the head coach of the Springfield Falcons through the 2009–10 American Hockey League season. From November 25 to January 1, the Falcons went on a franchise record 17-game losing streak, recording only 5 points in that span. The Falcons finished the 2009–10 season as the worst team in the AHL once again, and was the only team that did not win 30 games. It marked the seventh consecutive year the Falcons have missed the playoffs.
On February 9, 2010 the Edmonton Oilers announced to sever ties with the Springfield Falcons, and move their affiliation to Oklahoma City, a decision that had been expected for months.
The Columbus Blue Jackets Affiliation
On March 25, 2010, the Columbus Blue Jackets announced a one-year affiliation agreement with a one-year option. Also introduced was a new jersey design and logo. The new logo will still have a falcon holding a hockey stick, but the background will be grey, the word Falcons in red, and the word Springfield in navy blue. The new jerseys will have the Blue Jackets logo on the shoulders, with a white star on each sleeve. The new ECHL affiliation for the Falcons will be with the Evansville IceMen.
The Falcons opened the 2010–11 AHL season with a home-and-home matchup against the Providence Bruins. The Bruins hosted on October 8, 2010 in Providence, and the Falcons hosted on October 9, 2010 in Springfield. To honor the 75th anniversary of the American Hockey League, each team wore throwback jerseys from 1936. The Bruins wore the jerseys of the Providence Reds while the Falcons wore the jerseys of the Springfield Indians. The Falcons won the first game in Providence 5-1, while the Bruins took the following game in Springfield 6-5.
On December 21, 2010 it was announced that the Falcons had been sold from Springfield Pro Hockey, LLC to Falcons Hockey Entertainment, LLC. The majority owner is Charlie Pompea, while Bruce Landon is the minority owner, and will continue to be the president/general manager. Pompea has stated that he intends to keep the Falcons in Springfield, MA. It was also announced that day that the Falcons lease at the MassMutual Center was extended, as well as the affiliation with the Columbus Blue Jackets. The following season, Columbus decided to once again renew their affiliation with the Falcons, through the 2013–14 season.
During the 2011–12 AHL Season the Falcons honored the Springfield hockey teams that have won the Calder Cup. The teams honored include the 1960, 1961, 1962, 1974, 1990, and 1991 Springfield Indians, in addition to the 1971 Springfield Kings. The Falcons wore commemorative jerseys for those games, and former coaches and players will be there to take part in pre-game festivities.
Following the season, Rob Riley was fired as head coach after two seasons of missing the playoffs. Assistant coach Brad Larsen was named head coach for the 2012–13 season.
The 2012-13 season, beginning with the NHL Lockout, saw the Falcons make the playoffs for the first time since 2003. With help of NHL players Matt Calvert, Cam Atkinson, Ryan Johansen, John Moore, and Tim Erixon, the Falcons were able to take an early lead in both the Northeast Division and the Eastern Conference. When the NHL lockout ended and these players were called up to Columbus, the Falcons continued to stay at the top of the standings. All Star play from goaltender Curtis McElhinney, forward Jonathan Audy-Marchessault, and veteran leadership from team captain Ryan Craig helped guide the team to a first place finish in the Northeast Division. On April 6, 2013, the Falcons officially qualified for the 2013 Calder Cup playoffs, ending a nine-year playoff drought, the longest in AHL history. The Falcons were able to defeat the Manchester Monarchs in the first round 3 games to 1, with all of their wins coming in overtime. Nick Drazenovic clinched the series for the Falcons with his goal in game 4. The Falcons playoff run would come to an end by the hands of the Syracuse Crunch, as the Crunch swept the Falcons out of the playoffs in their second round matchup.
On December 10, 2013, the Falcons and Blue Jackets announced that they had exercised their option their affiliation through the 2014-15 season. The Falcons also announced their lease option with the MassMutual Center on the same day.
On February 4, 2014, the Springfield Falcons announced that Bruce Landon would be retiring. Landon had served as President, General Manager and co-owner since 1994. He will remain with the team as Director of Hockey Operations. Sarah Pompea, the daughter of owner Charlie Pompea, was named as the new team president.
The 2013-14 Falcons set a team record for wins (47) and points (100). They suffered a first round defeat in the playoffs at the hands of the Providence Bruins in 5 games. While it was initially announced that the entire coaching staff would return to Springfield for the 2014-15 season, head coach Brad Larsen was promoted to an assistant coach in Columbus. He replaced former assistant coach Dan Hinote. On June 16, 2014, Columbus announced that Jared Bednar would become head coach for the 2014-15 season. He will continue to be joined by assistant coach Nolan Pratt, in addition to first year assistant Toby Petersen.
The 2014-15 season has seen the team set a franchise record with 11 consecutive wins. The streak lasted from November 14 through December 6, and propelled the Falcons back into first place in the Northeast Division.
The Arizona Coyotes Affiliation
On April 17, 2015, the Springfield Falcons and Arizona Coyotes announced that they had reached a three-year affiliation agreement. This was part of change of affiliations for the 2015–16 season where Columbus would have their AHL team in Lake Erie, the Colorado Avalanche in San Antonio, and the Florida Panthers would be tied to the Portland Pirates.
On April 19, 2016 the Arizona Coyotes and the ownership of the Falcons announced an agreement in principle to sell the franchise to the Coyotes ownership and that the team would be relocated to Tucson, Arizona for the 2016-17 season. The team will apparently join the Pacific Division. On May 10th the Board of Governors unanimously gave conditionally approval to the transfer of ownership and the relocation of the franchise. The Portland Pirates organization in the interim announced an agreement in principle to sell the franchise and relocate it to Springfield to replace the departing Falcons franchise. The BOG also announced they woud vote on the request of the Portland sale and relocation within 2 weeks.
This market was previously home to:
- Springfield Indians (1926–1994)
- Springfield Falcons 1994–Present
|1994–95||80||31||37||12||—||—||74||.463||269||289||5th, North||1995||Out of Playoffs|
|1995–96||80||42||22||11||5||—||100||.625||272||215||1st, North||1996||—||W, 3–1, PRO||L, 2–4, POR||—||—|
|1996–97||80||41||25||12||2||—||96||.600||268||229||2nd, New England||1997||—||W, 3–2, POR||W, 4–1, PRO||L, 3–4, HER||—|
|1997–98||80||45||26||7||2||—||99||.619||278||248||1st, New England||1998||—||L, 1–3, WOR||—||—||—|
|1998–99||80||35||35||9||1||—||80||.500||245||232||3rd, New England||1999||—||L, 0–3, HAR||—||—||—|
|1999–00||80||33||35||11||1||—||78||.488||272||252||4th, New England||2000||—||L, 2–3, HAR||—||—||—|
|2000–01||80||29||37||8||6||—||72||.450||253||280||6th, New England||2001||Out of Playoffs|
|2001–02||80||35||41||2||2||—||74||.463||213||237||5th, North||2002||Out of Playoffs|
|2002–03||80||34||38||7||1||—||76||.475||202||243||4th, East||2003||W, 2–0 HAR||L, 1–3, HAM||—||—||—|
|2003–04||80||26||43||9||2||—||63||.394||179||234||7th, Atlantic||2004||Out of Playoffs|
|2004–05||80||24||47||—||3||6||57||.356||161||255||7th, Atlantic||2005||Out of Playoffs|
|2005–06||80||28||43||—||3||6||65||.406||220||312||6th, Atlantic||2006||Out of Playoffs|
|2006–07||80||28||49||—||1||2||59||.369||181||268||7th, Atlantic||2007||Out of Playoffs|
|2007–08||80||35||35||—||5||5||80||.500||214||257||5th, Atlantic||2008||Out of Playoffs|
|2008–09||80||24||44||—||8||4||60||.375||188||258||7th, Atlantic||2009||Out of Playoffs|
|2009–10||80||25||39||—||12||4||66||.413||207||296||8th, Atlantic||2010||Out of Playoffs|
|2010–11||80||35||40||—||2||3||75||.469||232||253||6th, Atlantic||2011||Out of Playoffs|
|2011–12||76||36||34||—||3||3||78||.513||217||231||4th, Northeast||2012||Out of Playoffs|
|2012–13||76||45||22||—||5||4||99||.651||235||186||1st, Northeast||2013||—||W, 3–1, MAN||L, 0-4, SYR||—||—|
|2013–14||76||47||23||—||1||5||100||.651||247||212||1st, Northeast||2014||—||L, 2-3, PRO||—||—||—|
|2014–15||76||38||28||—||8||2||86||.566||192||209||3rd, Northeast||2015||Out of Playoffs|
|2015-16||76||26||42||-||3||5||60||.395||194||265||8th, Atlantic||2016||Out of Playoffs|
Note: Former AHL President Jack Butterfield and Vice-President Gordie Anziano, longtime Springfield residents, have been honored with banners raised with the retired numbers.
List of team captains
- John Stevens, Rob Murray (co-captains) 1994–1996
- Rob Murray 1996–99
- Tavis Hansen 1999–01
- Jean-Guy Trudel 2001–02
- Rob Murray 2002-03
- Shane Willis 2004-05
- Ryan Craig 2005–06
- Norm Milley 2006–07
- Rick Berry 2007–08
- Tim Sestito 2008–09
- Dean Arsene 2009–10
- Ben Guite 2010–11
- Dane Byers 2011–12
- Ryan Craig 2012–present
Notable NHL alumni
List of Springfield Falcons alumni who played more than 100 games in Springfield and 100 or more games in the National Hockey League.
- Daniel Briere
- Matt Calvert
- Martin Cibak
- Ryan Craig
- Jeff Daniels
- Robert Esche
- Nick Holden
- Manny Legace
- Francois Leroux
- Trevor Letowski
- Scott Levins
- Marek Malik
- Steve Martins
- Colin McDonald
- John Moore
- Rob Murray
- Theo Peckham
- Nolan Pratt
- Dalton Prout
- Liam Reddox
- David Savard
- Rob Schremp
- Wyatt Smith
- John Stevens
- Radoslav Suchy
- Nick Tarnasky
- Brent Thompson
- Shane Willis
- Goals: John LeBlanc, 39 (1994–95)
- Goals by a Rookie: Daniel Briere, 36 (1997–98)
- Assists: Jean-Guy Trudel, 65 (2000–01)
- Points: Jean-Guy Trudel, 99 (2000–01)
- Penalty Minutes: Rob Murray, 373 (1994–95)
- Appearances by a Goalie: Devan Dubnyk, 62 (2008–09)
- GAA: Manny Legace 2.27 (1995–96)
- SV%: Curtis McElhinney, .923 (2012–13)
- Shutouts: Curtis McElhinney, 9 (2012–13)
These are the top ten scorers in Falcons' history.
Note: Pos = Position; GP = Games Played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points
- Career Penalty Minutes: 1529 Rob Murray
- Career Goaltending Wins: 64 Manny Legace
- Career Shutouts: 9 Curtis McElhinney
- Career Games: 501 Rob Murray
- Career Goals: 94 Ryan Craig
- Career Shorthanded Goals: 5 Andrew Joudrey
- Goals: 4 Jean-Guy Trudel, Daniel Briere, Grant Potulny, Chad Wiseman, Jack Skille
- Points: 6 Chad Wiseman
List of NHL Affiliates
- Hartford Whalers 1994-1997
- Winnipeg Jets/Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes 1994-2004, 2015-present
- Tampa Bay Lightning 2001-2003, 2004-2007
- Edmonton Oilers 2007-2010
- Columbus Blue Jackets 2010-2015
- First Four teams are in. American Hockey League (2013-04-06).
- Falcons, Blue Jackets continue affiliation. American Hockey League (2013-12-10).
- Bruce Landon stepping down as Springfield Falcons president and part owner. Masslive (2014-02-04).
- FALCONS END REGULAR SEASON WITH RECORD WIN, POINT TOTALS. Springfield Falcons (2014-04-19).
- Coyotes Announce New Affiliation Agreement with Springfield of the AHL. Arizona Coyotes (2015-04-17).
- Falcons, Monsters, Rampage swap NHL affiliates. AHL (April 17, 2015).
- The Springfield Falcons Official Website
- The Internet Hockey Database - Springfield Falcons
- The official website of the American Hockey League
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