Stockton Thunder

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Stockton Thunder
2014–15 ECHL season
Stockton Thunder logo.svg
City Stockton, California
League ECHL
Conference Western
Division Pacific
Founded 1992
Home arena Stockton Arena

Black, gold, silver, white

Owner(s) Calgary Sports and Entertainment
(N. Murray Edwards, chairman)
Head coach Rich Kromm
Captain Garet Hunt
Media 1280 AM KWSX
Affiliates New York Islanders (NHL)
Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AHL)
Franchise history
1990-1992 Cincinnati Cyclones
1992–2001 Birmingham Bulls
2001–2005 Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies
2005–2015 Stockton Thunder
2015–present Adirondack Thunder
Conference Championships 1 (2012–13)

The Stockton Thunder were a minor league professional ice hockey team that was based in Stockton, California. The Thunder were a member of the ECHL. The Stockton Arena was their home ice, with a capacity of 9,737. The team was an affiliate team of the New York Islanders of the National Hockey League in their final two seasons.[1] The team was purchased by the Calgary Flames and relocated to Glens Falls, New York to and replaced by the Flames' American Hockey League team, the Stockton Heat.

Franchise history[edit]

Cincinnati, Birmingham and Atlantic City[edit]

The Stockton Thunder were founded as the first incarnation of the Cincinnati Cyclones, an expansion franchise that joined the East Coast Hockey League in 1990. The Cyclones would reach the Riley Cup playoffs in their first two seasons, and the semifinals in the 1991–92 season. Following the 1991-92 season, Cincinnati's owner Doug Kirchhofer was granted an expansion franchise in the International Hockey League and took all Cyclones colors, logos and monikers to be adopted by his future Cincinnati IHL franchise.

The ECHL moved the franchise to Birmingham, Alabama. The franchise was renamed the Birmingham Bulls, in honor of the former World Hockey Association/Central Hockey League franchise that played in Birmingham from 1976–81. The Bulls played their home games at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex from 1992 until 2001. The Bulls would make the playoffs five out of their nine seasons in Birmingham, reaching the Riley Cup semifinals during the 1993–94 season.

Following the 2000–01 season, the Birmingham Bulls would move to Atlantic City, New Jersey and become the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies. The Boardwalk Bullies would find success quickly in the ECHL, reaching the Conference Finals during the 2002 Kelly Cup playoffs and winning the Northeast Division title the following season. The Boardwalk Bullies would continue their streak through the 2003 Kelly Cup playoffs, winning the Kelly Cup after defeating the Columbia Inferno, 4 games to 1. Despite winning a division crown and making playoff appearances in all of their four seasons in New Jersey, including the 2003 Kelly Cup championship, the Boardwalk Bullies were unable to maintain a large average attendance. For the 2004–05 season, the Bullies formed a partnership with the New York Islanders of the NHL and Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League. Following that season, they were sold to an ownership group in Stockton, California that moved the team into Stockton Arena which was due to open during the 2005–06 season.

Stockton Thunder[edit]

The Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies were relocated to Stockton following the 2004–05 season and the franchise was renamed the Stockton Thunder in May 2005 after Thunder beat out Brawlers, Fog, Skate, Spears and Stallions in a name-the-team contest. That same month, former Cyclones forward and coach Chris Cichocki was named the first head coach in Thunder history. Before the 2006–07 season, the Thunder reached an affiliation agreement with the National Hockey League's Edmonton Oilers to be their secondary affiliate after the American Hockey League's Springfield Falcons. Midway through the 2009-10 season, the Thunder would pick up a working partnership agreement with the San Jose Sharks.

In January 2007, the Thunder and Stockton Arena were chosen to host the 2008 ECHL All-Star Game. Three Thunder players, Ryan MacMurchy, Brad Farynuk and Andy Contois, were selected to the National Conference's All-Star team. The National Conference would win the exhibition, defeating the American Conference 10–7 and Victoria Salmon Kings' forward Ash Goldie was named the game's Most Valuable Player.

The 2008–09 season began with Stockton starting at 10-17-4, fourth in the Pacific Division before the hiring of Matt Thomas as new head coach on December 29. Stockton won seven games in a row and went 7-0-1 in its first eight games under Thomas, eventually clinching a Kelly Cup Playoff berth for the third straight season. The Thunder achieved its first playoff series win in club history, 4-3 in seven games with the Pacific Division champion Ontario Reign. The series featured five separate one-goal games and Stockton won game seven, 5-4 at Ontario behind Craig Valette's eventual game-winning goal. The Las Vegas Wranglers, the defending Conference champion, eliminated Stockton in another seven-game series, 4-3, in the Conference Semifinal.

Following a start to the 2009–10 season at 5-11-3 and 1-6-3 on their own home ice, the Thunder acquired forwards J.F. Caudron, Matt Robinson, Brett Hemingway and defensemen Anthony Aiello and Justin DaCosta through a series of trades and free-agent signings in December to go 28-19-7 overall and 16-6-4 at Stockton Arena for the remainder of the regular season, at one point moving to a tie for first place in the Pacific Division with the Bakersfield Condors in the final week of the regular season. They made the playoffs for the fourth straight season.

In February 2010, Stockton Hockey Franchise Group, Inc. sold the team to SC Hockey Franchise Corp., headed by Canadian Oil executive Brad Rowbotham and the ECHL Board of Governors unanimously approved the transfer of controlling interest in April, 2010.[2]

Their season ended by advancing to the National Conference Finals for the first time in club history. The Thunder defeated the defending conference champion Alaska Aces, 3-1 in a best-of-five first round series. Stockton then defeated the Pacific Division champion Condors, 4-1 in the best-of-seven Conference Semifinal. The Idaho Steelheads then eliminated Stockton, 4-2 in the Conference Final series.

In August 2010, The Edmonton Oilers announced that the Oklahoma City Barons would be the AHL affiliate of the Thunder for the 2010–11 season. The Thunder and San Jose Sharks also announced an affiliation partnership, aligning the two local teams and giving the Thunder a dual NHL affiliation for the first time in club history. As a result, Stockton had AHL affiliates in both Oklahoma City and Worcester.

In 2012, the Thunder announced an exclusive affiliation with the Edmonton Oilers, choosing not to renew their agreement with the San Jose Sharks.[3]

On July 31, 2013, the Thunder announced a renewed affiliation, for the 2013–14 season, with the New York Islanders and Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL.

On January 30, 2015 the Calgary Flames purchased the Thunder's ECHL franchise rights and will relocate the team to Glens Falls, New York to become the Adirondack Thunder.[4] The Adirondack Flames also owned by the Calgary Flames will relocate from Glens Falls, New York to Stockton, which will occur prior to the 2015-16 season.[5]

Box office success[edit]

Since relocating from Atlantic City and taking up residence as the flagship tenant in the state-of-the-art, waterfront Stockton Arena venue, the Thunder have built a reputation with one of the most passionate, loyal fan bases in minor league hockey.

Stockton led the ECHL in attendance for four straight years, becoming the first team in the ECHL to accomplish the box office feat since the Florida Everblades' five-year run from 2000-05. Stockton has drawn over an average of 6,000 fans per game or more every season, and has 14 recorded sellouts at their 9,737-seat home ice venue since 2005.

Current roster[edit]

Updated April 26, 2015.[6]
# Nat Player Pos S/G Age Acquired Birthplace Contract
11 United States Barnett, JTJT Barnett LW L 22 2014 Scottsdale, Arizona Thunder
3 United States Brodie, KyleKyle Brodie D R 24 2015 Denver, Colorado Thunder
12 United States Busillo, MikeMike Busillo D L 24 2015 Wallingford, Connecticut Thunder
8 Canada Chabot, Jean-PhilipJean-Philip Chabot C L 27 2015 Quebec, Quebec Thunder
22 Canada Constant, RyanRyan Constant (A) D L 30 2012 Opaskwayak Cree Nation, Manitoba Thunder
50 Canada Gore, LucasLucas Gore G L 24 2015 Kamloops, British Columbia Thunder
15 Canada Henry, JamesJames Henry LW L 24 2013 Winnipeg, Manitoba Thunder
35 United States Hooper, NickNick Hooper G L 27 2015 Culver City, California Emergency Backup
24 Canada Hunt, GaretGaret Hunt (C) LW L 27 2009 Maple Ridge, British Columbia Thunder
14 United States Ladd, GarrettGarrett Ladd F L 25 2015 Fenton, Michigan Thunder
71 Canada Larocque, MarioMario Larocque (A) D L 37 2014 Montreal, Quebec Thunder
27 United States Levi, AustinAustin Levi D L 23 2014 Columbus, Ohio Hurricanes
10 Canada MacLellan, JackJack MacLellan (A) LW L 27 2014 Richmond Hill, Ontario Thunder
19 Canada Mallet, AlexandreAlexandre Mallet C R 23 2014 Amqui, Quebec Islanders
9 United States Maxwell, TylerTyler Maxwell (A) C L 24 2014 Manhattan Beach, California Thunder
25 United States Pereira, MikeMike Pereira LW L 23 2014 New Haven, Connecticut Sound Tigers
17 United States Phillips, AdamAdam Phillips D R 24 2014 Farmington Hills, Michigan Sound Tigers
30 United States Reichard, CodyCody Reichard G L 28 2015 Celina, Ohio Thunder
55 Canada Rigby, CarterCarter Rigby LW L 21 2015 Penticton, British Columbia Thunder
6 United States Ryder, JohnJohn Ryder D L 26 2014 Colorado Springs, Colorado Thunder
23 United States Scarsella, VinnyVinny Scarsella LW R 25 2015 Lackawanna, New York Thunder
16 Canada Shattock, TylerTyler Shattock (A) RW R 25 2014 Vernon, British Columbia Thunder
32 Canada Simpson, KentKent Simpson G L 23 2014 Edmonton, Alberta Islanders
2 Canada Stebner, BradBrad Stebner D L 25 2014 Fort McMurray, Alberta Thunder
20 Canada Wilson, KlarcKlarc Wilson RW R 22 2015 Edmonton, Alberta Thunder
Head Coach Richard Kromm
Head Athletic Trainer Dennis Brogna
Head Equipment Manager Corby Antropik
Asst. Equipment Manager Rob Kaufmann

Notable players[edit]

Since partnering with the Edmonton Oilers as an affiliate in 2006–07 until 2012–13, eight players went on to make their debut in the National Hockey League after playing for the Thunder. They include:

Other players who have experience with the Thunder after previously making their NHL debut include:


  1. ^ "Islanders agree affiliation with Stockton Thunder of the ECHL". New York Islanders. 2013-07-31. Retrieved 2013-07-31. 
  2. ^ Linesburgh, Scott (April 13, 2010). "No question ECHL is OK with new owner". The Record. Retrieved April 13, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Oilers, Thunder re-new affiliation". Stockton Thunder. 2012-07-11. Retrieved 2012-07-12. 
  4. ^ "ECHL Board of Governors Announces Major Moves". ECHL. January 30, 2015. Retrieved February 8, 2015. 
  5. ^ "AHL Board of Governors Announces Major Moves". AHL. January 29, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Team « Stockton Thunder". Stockton Thunder. Retrieved April 26, 2015. 

External links[edit]