Colorado Eagles
Colorado eagles
City: Loveland, Colorado
League: ECHL (2011-2018)
AHL (2018-19)
Conference: Western
Division: Mountain
Founded: 2003 (In the CHL)
Home Arena: Budweiser Events Center
Colors: Navy blue, red, gold, white
Owner(s): Colorado Eagles Professional Hockey LLC
General Manager: Chris Stewart
Head Coach: Aaron Schneekloth
Media: The Coloradoan
Loveland Reporter-Herald
Affiliates: Colorado Avalanche (NHL)
San Antonio Rampage (AHL)
Franchise history
2003–present: Colorado Eagles
Regular Season Titles: 3 (2005, 2006, 2009)
Division Championships: 8 (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2016, 2018)
Conference Championships: 7 (2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2017), 2018
Ray Miron President's Cup: 2 (2005, 2007, 2018)
Kelly Cups: 2 (2017, 2018)

The Colorado Eagles are a professional ice hockey team based in Loveland, Colorado. The Eagles play in the Mountain Division of the ECHL's Western Conference.

The Eagles were founded as an expansion franchise in 2003 in the Central Hockey League and remained in the league until June 2011. 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 Eagles play at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland and serves the Fort Collins-Loveland metropolitan area.

The team has been granted an membership as an expansion team in the American Hockey League beginning with the 2018–19 season.

Franchise history Edit

Central Hockey League era (2003–2011) Edit

The franchise was founded in 2003 by former Montreal Canadiens player Ralph Backstrom.[1] 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) Edit

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.[2][3] 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.[4]

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.[5] 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.[6] 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.[7]

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[8] 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.[9] He was replaced by assistant coach and longtime Eagles player, Aaron Schneekloth.[10] 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.[11] 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.

Move to the AHLEdit

During the 2017–18 offseason, the National Hockey League added the Vegas Golden Knights as a 31st team. The addition of the new NHL team also led to discussions of adding a 31st team in the American Hockey League.[12] 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.[13] On October 10, 2017, the Avalanche and the Eagles officially announced that the club would be promoted to the AHL in 2018.  The teams present AHL affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage will become an affiliate of the St. Louis Blues who were splitting a Chicago Wolves affiliation with the Vegas Golden Knights.  The Wolves will have a single affiliation with the Golden Knights for 2018-19. [14][15][16]  The team will continue to play out of the Budweiser Events Center, but; the arena will require several upgrades in its infrastructure to meet the conditions set out in the AHL’s collective bargaining agreement, such as modernized and expanded locker rooms and training facilities, as well as designated areas for visiting NHL scouts to watch the games. The team's run in the 2018 Calder Cup playoffs (they are in the Western Conference Finals as of this entry) have made it so that the window to get the upgrades done is getting smaller; but the team has started the behind the scenes upgrades as possible while the team is still playing and have stated not meeting the standards would be irresponsible.

Season recordsEdit

Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, OL = Overtime/shootout losses or tie, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes

Records as of end of the 2016-17 ECHL Season.[17]

Season GP W L OTL Pts GF GA PIM Finish Playoffs
Central Hockey League
2003–04 64 43 16 5 91 232 156 1453 1st, Northwest Lost in Conference Semifinals, 1–3 (Wichita)
2004–05 60 43 10 7 93 221 123 1345 1st, Northwest Ray Miron President's Cup Champions, 4–1 (Laredo)
2005–06 64 44 14 6 94 241 183 1898 1st, Northwest Lost in Conference Finals, 1–4 (Bossier-Shreveport)
2006–07 64 46 17 1 93 256 182 1944 1st, Northwest Ray Miron President's Cup Champions, 4–2 (Laredo)
2007–08 64 37 20 7 81 254 223 1637 1st, Northwest Lost in Ray Miron President's Cup Finals, 0–4 (Arizona)
2008–09 64 45 15 4 94 275 195 1429 1st, Northwest Lost in Ray Miron President's Cup Finals, 1–4 (Texas)
2009–10 64 42 15 7 91 277 208 1557 2nd, Northern Lost in Conference Semifinals, 0–4 (Bossier-Shreveport)
2010–11 66 40 22 4 84 250 199 1352 2nd, Turner Lost in Ray Miron President's Cup Finals, 3–4 (Bossier-Shreveport)
2011–12 72 38 28 6 82 250 252 1485 2nd, Mountain Lost in Conference Quarterfinals, 0–3 (Stockton)
2012–13 72 34 31 7 75 239 224 1534 3rd, Mountain Lost in Conference Quarterfinals, 2–4 (Idaho)
2013–14 71 33 26 12 78 211 218 1158 4th, Mountain Lost in Conference Quarterfinals, 2–4 (Idaho)
2014–15 71 41 23 8 90 236 209 1457 3rd, Pacific Lost in Division Semifinals, 3–4 (Ontario)
2015–16 72 41 27 4 86 232 193 1427 1st, West Lost in Conference Quarterfinals, 2–4 (Utah)
2016–17 72 47 20 5 99 265 206 1415 2nd, Mountain Won Kelly Cup Finals, 4–0 (South Carolina)
Season GP W L OL SL Pts GF GA Finish Playoffs
2017-18 72 48 18 4 2 102 265 214 1st Mountain Won Kelly Cup Finals, 4-3 (Florida Everblades)
American Hockey League

Players Edit

Retired numbersEdit

Colorado Eagles retired numbers
No. Player Position Career No. retirement
12 Riley Nelson C 2003–2014 December 12, 2014[18]
17 Ryan Tobler LW 2003–2010 March 27, 2015[19]
89 Greg Pankewicz RW 2003–2009 October 16, 2009.[20]

Awards and honors Edit

Ray Miron President's Cup
CHL playoff champion

  • 2005, 2007

Kelly Cup
ECHL playoff champion

Bud Poile Governors' Cup
CHL regular season champion

  • 2004–05, 2005–06, 2008–09

Conference playoff championship

  • 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011

Division titles

  • 2003–05, 2004–05, 2005–06, 2006–07, 2007–08, 2008–09, 2015–16

References Edit

  1. Scott, Jon C. (2006). Hockey Night in Dixie: Minor Pro Hockey in the American South. Heritage House Publishing Company Ltd., 163. ISBN 1-894974-21-2. 
  2. Sandalow, Brian (April 30, 2011). Icy future awaiting Bees?. The Monitor. Retrieved on May 25, 2011.
  3. Cohn, Justin A. (May 6, 2011). Lots of excitement. The Journal Gazette. Retrieved on May 25, 2011.
  4. DeVrieze, Craig (April 29, 2011). Change rumors swirl in the CHL. Quad-City Times. Retrieved on May 23, 2011.
  5. Coppock, Cory (May 29, 2011). Colorado Eagles moving to ECHL. KEVN-TV. Retrieved on May 30, 2011.
  6. Press release (May 30, 2011). Eagles schedule new conference for Tuesday. The Coloradoan. Retrieved on May 30, 2011.
  7. Press release. "Annual ECHL Board of Governors meeting concludes", ECHL, August 1, 2011. Retrieved on August 1, 2011. 
  8. Press release. "Jets cut ties to ECHL club", Winnipeg Free Press, May 14, 2013. Retrieved on May 14, 2013. 
  9. Chris Stewart retires as Colorado Eagles coach. Fort Collins Coloradoan (July 6, 2016).
  10. Colorado Eagles name Aaron Schneekloth to replace Chris Stewart. Reporter-Herald (July 18, 2016).
  11. Eagles Announce Affiliation with Colorado Avalanche. OurSports Central (July 20, 2016).
  12. American Hockey League president talks scheduling, expansion, All-Stars, etc.. The Press-Enterprise (February 11, 2017).
  13. Colorado Eagles in discussions to become the Avalanche’s AHL affiliate. The Denver Post (June 14, 2017).
  14. Colorado Eagles moving to AHL to become top Avalanche affiliate. Fort Collins Coloradoan (October 10, 2017).
  15. AHL AWARDS EXPANSION MEMBERSHIP TO COLORADO EAGLES. American Hockey League (October 10, 2017).
  17. "Colorado Eagles season statistics and records". (2016-04-01). Retrieved on 2016-04-01.
  18. "Former Eagles captain Riley Nelson settling into life after hockey". Reporter-Herald (2014-12-11). Retrieved on 2014-12-11.
  19. Ryan Tobler honored to have Colorado Eagles retire his number. Reporter-Herald (2015-03-27). Retrieved on 2015-03-27.
  20. "Pankewicz retires becomes assistant coach". Colorado Eagles (2009-08-10). Retrieved on 2009-10-12.

External links Edit

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