|League:||American Hockey League|
|Home Arena:||MassMutual Center|
|Colors:||Blue, Red, Silver, & White
|Owner(s):||Falcons Hockey Entertainment, LLC|
|General Manager:||Bruce Landon|
|Head Coach:||Brad Larsen|
|Media:||The Springfield Republican|
|Affiliates:||Columbus Blue Jackets|
|Division Championships:||2 (1995–96, 1997–98)|
The Springfield Falcons are an ice hockey team in the American Hockey League. They play in Springfield, Massachusetts, at the MassMutual Center and are the top affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets of the National Hockey League. The Falcons' two main rivals are the Connecticut Whale and the Providence Bruins.
Official Springfield Falcons Website: http://www.falconsahl.com/
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 of the Philadelphia Flyers; 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 Anchorage Aces. 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 defenceman 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 team has finished in first place in its division twice and made the playoffs six times in its seventeen seasons, although only once in the last eleven years. After the Whalers relocated to become the Carolina Hurricanes, the Falcons were subsequently affiliated exclusively with the Jets, and with their relocated successors, the Phoenix Coyotes. 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 Tampa Bay Lightning to become an affiliate to the Edmonton Oilers, starting in the 2007–08 AHL season, through the 2009-10 AHL season. The Tampa Bay 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, Edmonton 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 marks 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 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 CHL affiliation for the Falcons will be with the Fort Wayne Komets.
Rob Riley was named the new head coach of the Falcons on August 3, 2010, replacing Rob Daum. Riley was the former head coach at the United States Military Academy.
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 were there to take part in pre-game festivities.
This market was previously home to:
- Springfield Indians (1926–1994)
|1996–97||80||41||25||12||2||—||96||268||229||2nd, New England|
|1997–98||80||45||26||7||2||—||99||278||248||1st, New England|
|1998–99||80||35||35||9||1||—||80||245||232||3rd, New England|
|1999–00||80||33||35||11||1||—||78||272||252||4th, New England|
|2000–01||80||29||37||8||6||—||72||253||280||6th, New England|
|Season||Prelim||1st Round||2nd Round||3rd Round||Finals|
|1994–95||Out of Playoffs|
|1995–96||—||W, 3–1, PROV||L, 2–4, PORT||—||—|
|1996–97||—||W, 3–2, PORT||W, 4–1, PROV||L, 3–4, HER||—|
|1997–98||—||L, 1–3, WOR||—||—||—|
|1998–99||—||L, 0–3, HART||—||—||—|
|1999–00||—||L, 2–3, HART||—||—||—|
|2000–01||Out of Playoffs|
|2001–02||Out of Playoffs|
|2002–03||W, 2–0, HART||L, 1–3, HAM||—||—||—|
|2003–04||Out of Playoffs|
|2004–05||Out of Playoffs|
|2005–06||Out of Playoffs|
|2006–07||Out of Playoffs|
|2007–08||Out of Playoffs|
|2008–09||Out of Playoffs|
|2009–10||Out of Playoffs|
|2010–11||Out of Playoffs|
|2011-12||Out of Playoffs|