Phoenix RoadRunners

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This article is about the ECHL team. For other uses, see Phoenix Roadrunners (disambiguation).
Phoenix RoadRunners
PHXRoadrunners.PNG
City Phoenix, Arizona
League ECHL
Conference National Conference
Division West Division
Operated 2005–2009
Home arena US Airways Center
Colors

Carolina blue, black, sunflower gold, white

                   
Owner(s) Robert Sarver, Claude Lemieux
General manager Brad Church (Director of Hockey Operations)
Head coach Brad Church
Media Arizona Republic
East Valley Tribune
Affiliates San Jose Sharks (NHL), Worcester Sharks (AHL)
Franchise history
2005–2009 Phoenix RoadRunners
Championships
Regular season titles none
Division Championships none
Conference Championships none
Kelly Cups none

The Phoenix RoadRunners were a minor league ice hockey team based in Phoenix, Arizona. They played in the ECHL, beginning in the 2005–2006 season and ceasing operations at the end of the 2008-2009 season. The team was affiliated with the NHL's San Jose Sharks and the AHL's Worcester Sharks.

Season Recaps[edit]

Inaugural Season[edit]

In 2005, after four years without a minor league hockey team, the RoadRunners were revived as an ECHL franchise by Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver and former Phoenix Coyotes star Claude Lemieux. In their first season, 2005–2006, the RoadRunners began the season well but dropped throughout the year because of injuries, and finished with the league's worst record.

Second Season[edit]

In the off-season, the RoadRunners cemented an affiliation deal with the Phoenix Coyotes of the National Hockey League. The RoadRunners once again started very well, staying above .500 for a good portion of the year. The team climbed up the National Division, topping out at fifth place. However, due to several trades which were lackluster to say the least, the team ended up with a 27–40 record. Furthermore, with 8 games left in the regular season, Head Coach Ron Filion and General Manager Ray Delia resigned, Filion being replaced by assistant coach Brad Church.[1]

One bright spot to the season was that the RoadRunners qualified for their first trip to the ECHL's Kelly Cup Playoffs. This was the first time since the 1995–1996 team lost in the conference quarter finals that the RoadRunners had made it to the Playoffs. However in the first round, the team was swept 4–0 against rivals Las Vegas Wranglers.

Third Season[edit]

After the season ended, the RoadRunners decided to keep Church on, and also extend to him a managerial role as well. His duties include, but are not limited to: Contract preparation, immigration, and other administrative duties.[2] Brad Church also decided on an assistant coach, that being Brian O'Leary. In the front office, Claude Lemieux chose not to hold the title of President. Claude has stated that he will continue to act as a consultant to the team.

The Phoenix Coyotes chose not to renew their affiliation agreement for the 2007–2008 season. The Coyotes chose instead to go with the other minor league hockey team in Arizona, the Arizona Sundogs. The RoadRunners signed a two-year affiliation agreement with the San Jose Sharks and its AHL affiliate, the Worcester Sharks on October 19, 2007.

The season started off well for the Roadrunners, with a sweep of their three game series against the Utah Grizzlies. The end of the month of October brought good news for the Roadrunners, as they learned that Daniel Sisca had won the CCM TACKS ECHL Player Of The Month Award.[3]

In November, the team was only able to win 3 of their 13 scheduled games, taking the team lower into the standings. As the calendar turned to the month of December, the same losing ways continued, with the team going 4–7, although the team was finally able to muster a win against the Wranglers in their annual Midnight game. It was also announced on December 21 that both Peder Skinner and Brian Yandle were added to the All-Star Team.

From January through February, the RoadRunners were able to win an accumulative amount of 8 games, and included a stretch of 8 consecutive losses. Despite the low amount of wins, the team, as of March 1, still was in the running to make the playoffs, coming in tied for 8th place.

In March, as the playoffs started coming into the picture for the RoadRunners, the team faced a tough schedule, with the remaining slate of teams averaging a .617 winning percentage.[4]

The team for the month of march went 5–6, and by the end of the month, was still in contention for the playoffs despite the tough schedule.

In April, the RoadRunners fell short of making the playoffs, and finished with a record of 24 wins, 39 losses, 5 overtime losses, 4 shoot-out losses, and 57 points. The team finished in 5th place in West Division.

Fourth (Final) Season[edit]

This season, the fourth and final in this team's history, started with the RoadRunners facing off against their rivals the Victoria Salmon Kings, with the three game series going 2 to 3 to the Runners. The following Tuesday the team got news that Kimbi Daniels would be named the In Glas Co ECHL Player of the week. This was also the first time in his 10 year ECHL career that he has been given this honor.[5] October ended with the team going 3-2-1 giving the team 7 of a possible 12 points in October. The team also finished near the top of the West Division as well as the National Conference.

As November rolled along, the Runners' got great news, when they heard that former RoadRunner Cam Paddock made his NHL debut for the St. Louis Blues, scoring on his first attempted shot. The month ended with the team going 5-8-1, giving them 11 of a possible 28 points, bringing the team to fourth in their Division.

Into December the team rallied around the outstanding goaltending of Craig Kowalski and won two consecutive contests at home against the team's rival Las Vegas Wranglers. The two game performance by Kowalski earned him the ECHL Goalie of the Week award, becoming the first RoadRunners Goalie since Cody Rudkowsky in 2006 to win the award. The team also got word that they would see Mike Fornataro and Michael Wilson go to the ECHL All-Star Game in January. The team finished the month going 4-6-0 and gave the team 8 of a possible 20 points, and staying at fourth in their Division.

As the season rolled along into January, the RoadRunners saw two players go to the All-Star game, and then another weekly award got handed down. The team got word on January 27 that for the second consecutive month, Craig Kowalski was named the Goalie of the week. He was given the award for his outstanding play from the 19th through the 25th. the team finished January with a 5-6-0 record, winning 10 of a possible 22 points. However, a series near the end of the season against the Alaska Aces did not go well, as they were outscored 18-5 throughout the series, and were swept, pretty much dashing the RoadRunners playoff hopes.

The team ceased operations after the 2008-2009 season.[6]

Season-by-season record[edit]

  • Updated daily
  • Ties were changed with Over time losses following the 2005–2006 ECHL Season.
Year Games Wins Losses Ties OTL Points Result
2005–2006 72 20 47 5 0 45 Missed playoffs
2006–2007 72 27 40 0 5 59 Lost in Division Semi-finals, 0–4
2007–2008 72 24 39 0 9 57 Missed playoffs
2008–2009 72 30 37 0 5 65 Missed playoffs

Head coaches[edit]

Team records[edit]

Season records[edit]

[7]

Game Played: 72 TIE- Dean Tiltgen (2005–06), Peder Skinner (2007–08)
Goals: 27 TIE- Justin Aikins (2006–07), Sean O'Connor (2007–08)
Assists: 42- Daniel Sisca (2007–08)
Points: 60 Daniel Sisca (2007–08)
Best +- (Min. 40 games): +4 - Brent Henley (2005–06)
Penalty Minutes: 271- Brent Henley (2005–06)
Wins: 17- Craig Kowalski (2008-09)
GAA (Min. 15 games): 2.34- Taylor Dakers (2007–08)
SV % (Min. 15 games): .930- Taylor Dakers (2007–08)
Shutouts: 2- Mike Mole (2005–06)

Career records[edit]

Game Played: 142- Mitch Carefoot
Goals: 32- Daniel Sisca
Assists: 73- Daniel Sisca
Points: 105- Daniel Sisca
Penalty Minutes: 271- Brent Henley
Wins: 19- Cody Rudkowsky
GAA (Min. 15 games): 2.34- Taylor Dakers
SV % (Min. 15 games): .930- Taylor Dakers
Shutouts: 2- Mike Mole, Cody Rudkowsky

Retired numbers[edit]

  • #3 Adam Keller WHL RoadRunners defenceman, former RoadRunners player and general manager
  • #4 Sandy Hucul WHL RoadRunners defenceman, former RoadRunners player and head coach
  • #8 Robbie Ftorek WHA RoadRunners forward, member of United States Hockey Hall of Fame

NHL alumni[edit]

Rocky RoadRunner[edit]

Rocky RoadRunner is the mascot of the RoadRunners. Rocky, who has been with the team for decades, is a mainstay from the early years in the desert. His service dates back all the way to 1967.[8] The recent ECHL move brought a major change of the entire costume, most notably the skin, which has turned a bright yellow compared to a shade of brown in previous years.[9] Furthermore, rather than continuing the more lifelike version of previous years, the ECHL's version chose to make a more cartoonish version of Rocky. The 2007–08 ECHL Season coincided with Rocky's 40th year of service, which is by far the oldest mascot in the history of any pro sports team in Arizona. [10]

References[edit]

External links[edit]