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Tucson Roadrunners

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Tucson Roadrunners
CityTucson, Arizona
LeagueAmerican Hockey League
Home arenaTucson Convention Center Arena
Mullett Arena (select home games)
ColorsBrick red, desert sand, copper, black, white[1]
Owner(s)Alex Meruelo
General managerJohn Ferguson Jr.[2]
Head coachSteve Potvin
MediaArizona Daily Star
KMSB (Fox 11)
KTTU (My 18)
KTZR (Fox Sports 1450)
AHL.TV (Internet)
AffiliateUtah Hockey Club (NHL)
Franchise history
1994–2016Springfield Falcons
2016–presentTucson Roadrunners
Division titles2: (2017–18, 2019–20)
Current season

The Tucson Roadrunners are a professional ice hockey team in the American Hockey League (AHL) that began play for the 2016–17 season. Based in Tucson, Arizona, and affiliated with the National Hockey League's (NHL) Utah Hockey Club, the Roadrunners play the majority of their home games at the Tucson Convention Center Arena.[a]

In April 2016, the Arizona Coyotes announced they would relocate their AHL affiliate, the Springfield Falcons, to Tucson ahead of the 2016–17 season. In April 2024, the Coyotes were deactivated by the NHL and their operations were transferred to a new expansion team in Utah. Owner Alex Meruelo has a five-year window to potentially reactivate the Coyotes, pending a new arena. The Roadrunners announced they would remain in Tucson as the AHL affiliate for the Utah team, playing 30 home games in Tucson and six at Mullett Arena in Tempe.


Arizona Coyotes affiliation[edit]

On April 19, 2016, the Arizona Coyotes announced that they had reached an agreement to purchase their AHL affiliate, the Springfield Falcons, and would relocate the team to Tucson for the 2016–17 season.[4][5] Said purchase and relocation was contingent on three approvals; the first from Rio Nuevo (Tucson's downtown revitalization authority) to invest $3.2 million in arena upgrades to bring the Convention Center to professional-quality standards was approved on April 26,[6] the second from the AHL Board of Governors to conditionally approve the purchase and relocation by the Coyotes was approved on May 10,[7] and the third from the Tucson City Council for a 10-year lease with the Convention Center was approved on May 17.[8][9]

A name-the-team contest was held between May 17 and May 31.[10] The hockey club's new name and logo were revealed on June 18 during the Tucson Convention Center's open house event.[11] The chosen name, Roadrunners, pays homage to the Phoenix Roadrunners, a team name that was used for various Phoenix professional hockey teams from 1967 to 2009, and creates a play on words with its parent club the Coyotes (a reference to the classic cartoon duo of Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner). Its logo, as well, is a close match for the traditional logo used for Phoenix Roadrunners' teams of the past. On October 27, the day before their home opener, the Roadrunners unveiled their mascot, Dusty the Roadrunner. Dusty wears number 16 on his jersey, representing the year the Springfield Falcons relocated to Tucson in 2016.[12]

On June 21, 2016, Mark Lamb was hired as the team's first head coach after holding the same position with the Western Hockey League's Swift Current Broncos since 2009. Mark Hardy was hired as an assistant coach.[13] The team named its first president Brian Sandy, along with three other key staff members, on July 18.[14] On July 20, the Roadrunners announced their first general manager, Doug Soetaert, promoted from his former position as a scout for the Coyotes.[15]

The Roadrunners played their first-ever game on October 14, 2016, against the San Diego Gulls at Pechanga Arena, losing 5–3. Roadrunners' inaugural captain Craig Cunningham scored the team's first two goals in franchise history.[16] The Roadrunners played their first home game two weeks later on October 28, winning by a score of 6–5 in front of 6,521 fans.[17]

During a home game against the Manitoba Moose on November 19, 2016, Roadrunners player Craig Cunningham collapsed on the ice just before the opening faceoff.[18] He was promptly transported to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with an acute cardiac arrest resulting from ventricular fibrillation, a condition that caused his heart to stop beating. The arena's medical team, in addition to the staff at St. Mary's Hospital and Banner-University Medical Center, worked continuously for 85 minutes to administer CPR and ultimately succeeded in saving his life.[19] On October 27, 2017, the Roadrunners retired Cunningham's No. 14 jersey during a pregame ceremony.

After one season, Lamb was released and replaced by Mike Van Ryn, the player development coach with the Coyotes. Under Van Ryn, the Roadrunners finished in first place in the Pacific Division but were eliminated by the Texas Stars in the division finals of the 2018 Calder Cup playoffs. Van Ryn then left to pursue other coaching opportunities and was hired by the St. Louis Blues.[20] The Coyotes then hired Jay Varady as head coach of the Roadrunners for the 2018–19 season after a successful season as coach of the Kingston Frontenacs.[21]

On May 12, 2020, the AHL announced the cancelation for the remainder of the 2019–20 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Roadrunners were awarded the Pacific division title for having the best record in the division when play was suspended and later canceled.[22] Prior to the postponed start of the 2020–21 season, head coach Varady joined the Coyotes' staff as an assistant coach[23] and assistant Steve Potvin was promoted to head coach of the Roadrunners.[24] Varady returned to the Roadrunners as head coach before the 2021–22 season.[25] Following the season, Varady departed for the Detroit Red Wings as an assistant coach, with Potvin being renamed as head coach for the 2022–23 season.[26][27]

In the 2022–23 season, Roadrunners forward Michael Carcone led the AHL in total scoring with 31 goals, 54 assists, and 85 total points in 65 games played, winning the John B. Sollenberger Trophy. Carcone also set franchise records in goals, assists, points, power-play goals (14), and shots on goal (273), while earning his first career AHL All-Star selection and being named to the AHL First All-Star Team at the end of the season. The Roadrunners also saw the professional debut of forward Josh Doan, joining the team in March 2023 following his sophomore season with the Arizona State Sun Devils. Doan debuted with Tucson on March 17 and scored his first pro goal two games later on March 21. The Roadrunners qualified for the 2023 Calder Cup playoffs, marking their first appearance since 2018. In the first round, they faced the Coachella Valley Firebirds, where they lost in a win-or-go-home game 3.[28]

In the 2023–24 season, the Roadrunners had rookie Josh Doan and goalie Matthew Villalta represent them for the 2024 AHL All-Star Game. Doan finished the regular season with 26 goals and 20 assists for 46 points in 62 games, as his 26 goals ranked first on the Roadrunners along with all rookies in the AHL, while Villalta led the AHL with 31 wins. The Roadrunners finished the regular season with a 43–23–4–2 record and finished second in the AHL's Pacific Division, with their 43 wins marking the most in a single season for the Roadrunners; which helped them clinch home-ice advantage for the first round of the 2024 Calder Cup playoffs and bring home playoff games to Tucson for the first time since 2018. However, Tucson was upset by the Calgary Wranglers in the first round, losing the first two games in a best-of-three series.[29]

Utah Hockey Club affiliation[edit]

Following concerns about an indefinite timeframe on a new arena and the effects of continued play at the 4,600-seat Mullett Arena in Tempe, the NHL facilitated the sale of the Coyotes franchise to Utah-based billionaire Ryan Smith on April 18, 2024, after the NHL Board of Governors voted to establish a team in Utah using the Coyotes' hockey assets;[30] however, rather than formally relocate, the Coyotes franchise was instead marked "inactive", with Utah considered a hybrid (due to transfer of assets) expansion team. Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo retained his rights to the Roadrunners, confirming that they would continue as the AHL affiliate for the Utah Hockey Club,[31] and initially announced his intention to move the Roadrunners from Tucson to Mullett Arena (either part-time or full-time) before rescinding those comments the next day, stating that he "spoke too soon".[32][33][34] The lease agreement with Mullett Arena is specifically for an NHL team, and any adjustments to the lease agreement with the ASU-owned arena would need to be approved by the Arizona Board of Regents. Furthermore, Tucson city officials received no communication from Meruelo on the intended move, nor did the Roadrunners franchise.[35]

On May 28, 2024, the Roadrunners announced they would "remain in Tucson for the foreseeable future" and play at least 30 of its 36 home games during the 2024–25 season in Tucson, with six being played at Mullett Arena.[36][37]


The Roadrunners consider the San Diego Gulls, the AHL affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks, as their primary rival and refer to them as their "I-8 Border Rival".[38] Additionally, the winner of each season's series between the two teams is presented with the "I-8 Border Cup Trophy", which has been in the possession of the Roadrunners since the 2018–19 season.[39][40] As of the 2023–24 season, the two teams have faced each other 72 times during the regular season, which is the highest number of games that the Roadrunners have played against any opponent.[41] The Roadrunners current record against the Gulls is 38–31–2–1, with the Roadrunners winning the 2023–24 season series 7–1–0–0.[42][43]

Season-by-season results[edit]

Regular season Playoffs
Season Games Won Lost OTL SOL Points PCT Goals
Standing Year First
Calder Cup
2016–17 68 29 31 8 0 66 .485 187 237 6th, Pacific 2017 Did not qualify
2017–18 68 42 20 5 1 90 .662 214 173 1st, Pacific 2018 W, 3–1, SJ L, 1–4, TEX
2018–19 68 34 26 5 3 76 .559 206 202 5th, Pacific 2019 Did not qualify
2019–20 58 36 19 1 2 75 .647 198 163 1st, Pacific 2020 Season cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic
2020–21 36 13 20 3 0 29 .403 103 126 7th, Pacific 2021[b] L, 1–2, SJ
2021–22 68 23 39 5 1 52 .382 182 268 8th, Pacific 2022 Did not qualify
2022–23 72 30 33 8 1 69 .479 219 245 7th, Pacific 2023 L, 1–2, CV
2023–24 72 43 23 4 2 92 .639 222 214 2nd, Pacific 2024 L, 0–2, CGY
  1. ^ Starting in 2024, the Roadrunners play 30 of their 36 home games at the Tucson Convention Center, with the remaining six being played at Mullett Arena in Tempe, Arizona.[3]
  2. ^ The 2021 Calder Cup playoffs were not held; the Pacific Division held a postseason tournament for the division title. The bottom four teams had single-elimination play-in games to qualify for the semifinals (the first two rounds). The division semifinals and finals were best-of-three for the John D. Chick Trophy (the last two rounds).


Current roster[edit]

Updated April 26, 2024.[44]

Team roster
No. Nat Player Pos S/G Age Acquired Birthplace Contract
26 Canada Travis Barron LW L 25 2021 Brampton, Ontario Utah
5 Canada Cameron Crotty (A) D R 25 2021 Ottawa, Ontario Utah
3 Canada Peter DiLiberatore D L 24 2023 Halifax, Nova Scotia Roadrunners
91 United States Josh Doan F R 22 2023 Scottsdale, Arizona Utah
28 Canada Curtis Douglas C L 24 2022 Oakville, Ontario Utah
36 Canada Hunter Drew RW R 25 2023 Kingston, Ontario Roadrunners
82 Canada Conor Geekie C L 20 2024 Strathclair, Manitoba Utah
11 Canada Dylan Guenther F R 21 2023 Edmonton, Alberta Utah
39 Canada Cameron Hebig C R 27 2021 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Roadrunners
24 Czech Republic Jan Jenik F L 23 2021 Nymburk, Czech Republic Utah
44 United States Steven Kampfer (C) D R 35 2023 Ann Arbor, Michigan Utah
21 Slovakia Milos Kelemen F L 24 2022 Zvolen, Slovakia Utah
4 United States Michael Kesselring D R 24 2023 Manchester, New Hampshire Utah
23 Canada Justin Kirkland LW L 27 2023 Winnipeg, Manitoba Utah
64 Slovakia Patrik Koch D L 27 2023 Bratislava, Slovakia Utah
52 Belarus Vladislav Kolyachonok D L 23 2021 Minsk, Belarus Utah
43 United States John Leonard LW L 25 2023 Amherst, Massachusetts Utah
38 United States Sam Lipkin (ATO) F L 21 2024 Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania Roadrunners
22 Canada Ben McCartney (A) F L 22 2021 Macdonald, Manitoba Utah
16 Canada Ryan McGregor C L 25 2021 Burlington, Ontario Utah
20 United States Micah Miller RW R 25 2023 Grand Rapids, Minnesota Roadrunners
42 Canada Lleyton Moore D L 22 2023 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Roadrunners
79 Canada Montana Onyebuchi D R 24 2023 Dugald, Manitoba Utah
41 United States Austin Poganski RW R 28 2023 St. Cloud, Minnesota Roadrunners
35 Finland Aku Raty RW R 22 2023 Oulu, Finland Utah
13 United States Nathan Smith C R 25 2022 Tampa, Florida Utah
77 Sweden Victor Soderstrom D R 23 2021 Skutskar, Sweden Utah
55 Germany Max Szuber D L 21 2023 Opole, Poland Utah
63 United States Colin Theisen F L 27 2022 Monroe, Michigan Roadrunners
33 Canada Anson Thornton G R 20 2023 Oshawa, Ontario Utah
31 Canada Matthew Villalta G L 25 2023 Godfrey, Ontario Utah
51 Canada Reece Vitelli RW R 22 2022 Winnipeg, Manitoba Roadrunners
32 Canada Dylan Wells G L 26 2023 St. Catharines, Ontario Roadrunners

Team captains[edit]

Retired numbers[edit]

Tucson Roadrunners retired numbers
No. Player Position Career No. retirement
14 Craig Cunningham C 2016 October 27, 2017[52]

Team records and leaders[edit]

Figures are updated as of the conclusion of the 2023–24 season.

Michael Bunting is the franchise leader in goals, assists, and points, playing with the Roadrunners for five seasons from 2016 to 2021.

Scoring leaders[edit]

These are the top-ten point-scorers for the Tucson Roadrunners in the AHL.[53]

Note: Pos = Position; GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; P/G = Points per game;   = current Roadrunners player

Player Pos GP G A Pts P/G
Michael Bunting LW 260 74 106 180 .69
Michael Carcone LW 148 70 81 151 1.02
Lane Pederson C 183 58 66 124 .68
Jan Jenik LW 165 46 74 120 .73
Kyle Capobianco D 155 21 91 112 .72
Hudson Fasching RW 174 49 57 106 .61
Laurent Dauphin C 137 44 60 104 .76
Brayden Burke LW 146 35 64 99 .68
Cam Dineen D 207 18 72 90 .43
Nick Merkley RW 109 31 58 89 .82

Franchise leaders[edit]

Single season[edit]

Type Number Player Season Ref
Goals 31 Michael Carcone 2022–23 [54]
Assists 54 Michael Carcone 2022–23 [54]
Points 85 Michael Carcone 2022–23 [54]
Penalty minutes 178 Bokondji Imama 2021–22 [54]
Power play goals 14 Michael Carcone 2022–23 [54]
Short-handed goals 3 Laurent Dauphin & Jeremy Gregoire 2016–17 & 2019–20 [54]
Game winning goals 8 Josh Doan 2023–24 [54]
Plus–minus +30 Joel Hanley 2017–18 [54]
Wins 31 Matthew Villalta 2023–24 [54]
Shutouts 5 Adin Hill 2017–18 [54]


Type Number Player Ref
Games played 279 Dysin Mayo [55]
Goals 74 Michael Bunting [55]
Assists 106 Michael Bunting [55]
Points 180 Michael Bunting [55]
Penalty minutes 287 Bokondji Imama [55]
Power play goals 28 Michael Carcone [55]
Short-handed goals 5 Hudson Fasching [55]
Game-winning goals 11 Michael Bunting [55]
Plus-minus +30 Joel Hanley [55]
Wins 66 Adin Hill [55]
Shutouts 10 Adin Hill [55]


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  2. ^ "Coyotes Name John Ferguson as Assistant General Manager & GM of the Tucson Roadrunners". OurSports Central. September 15, 2021.
  3. ^ "AHL Roadrunners To Play At Least 30 Games In Tucson". TucsonRoadrunners.com. Retrieved May 28, 2024.
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  5. ^ Chimelis, Ron (April 19, 2016). "Springfield Falcons to be sold, AHL team expected to leave Western Massachusetts". MassLive.com. The Republican. Retrieved May 18, 2016.
  6. ^ Pallack, Becky (April 26, 2016). "Rio Nuevo will spend $3.2M to get arena ready for pro hockey". tucson.com. Arizona Daily Star. Retrieved May 18, 2016.
  7. ^ "BOG conditionally approves Coyotes' purchase". TheAHL.com. American Hockey League. May 10, 2016. Retrieved May 18, 2016.
  8. ^ Pallack, Becky (May 17, 2016). "City Council approves deal with Coyotes for AHL hockey in Tucson". AZCentral.com. Arizona Daily Star. Retrieved May 18, 2016.
  9. ^ McLellan, Sarah (May 17, 2016). "Tucson City Council approves lease agreement for Arizona Coyotes' AHL team". AZCentral. Retrieved May 18, 2016.
  10. ^ "Our AHL team is Coming to Tucson: Name the Team". Arizona Coyotes. May 17, 2016. Retrieved May 18, 2016.
  11. ^ "Coyotes to Unveil New Name & Logo for AHL Affiliate in Tucson at Open House Event at TCC on June 18". Arizona Coyotes. June 1, 2016. Retrieved June 8, 2016.
  12. ^ Dorf, Alison. "It's official! Tucson Roadrunners unveil mascot's name". KOLD.com. Retrieved 26 February 2023.
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  14. ^ "Tucson Roadrunners hire new president, three others". tucson.com. Retrieved 2016-07-18.
  15. ^ "Tucson Roadrunners Name Doug Soetaert as General Manager". OurSports Central. July 20, 2016.
  16. ^ Carter, Ivan. "Tucson Roadrunners lose first game to San Diego Gulls, 5-3". Tucson.com. Retrieved 26 February 2023.
  17. ^ Rosenblatt, Zack. "Roadrunners rally, zip past Stockton in first-ever home game". Tucson.com. Retrieved 26 February 2023.
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  19. ^ "Tucson Roadrunners Craig Cunningham recovery a miracle". AZ Central. 2016-12-21. Retrieved 2016-12-21.
  20. ^ "Roadrunners Announce Van Ryn to Leave Team to Pursue NHL Coaching Opportunity". OurSportsCentral.com. May 30, 2018.
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  23. ^ "Coyotes Add Jay Varady to Coaching Staff for 2020–21 Season". OurSports Central. January 14, 2021.
  24. ^ "Coyotes Name Steve Potvin as Roadrunners Head Coach". OurSports Central. January 22, 2021.
  25. ^ "Coyotes Name Jay Varady as Tucson Roadrunners' Head Coach". OurSports Central. July 7, 2021.
  26. ^ "STEVE POTVIN NAMED TUCSON ROADRUNNERS HEAD COACH". Tucson Roadrunners. Retrieved 28 January 2023.
  27. ^ Roth, Thomas. "Red Wings hire Jay Varady as assistant coach". NHL.com. Retrieved 28 January 2023.
  28. ^ Peebles, Jimmy. "The Road We Ran: Tucson Roadrunners 2022-2023 Season Recap". TucsonRoadrunners.com. Retrieved May 4, 2024.
  29. ^ Schaffer, Jonathon. "'Running Through 23-24". TucsonRoadrunners.com. Retrieved May 3, 2024.
  30. ^ Cotsonika, Nicholas J. (2024-04-18). "'Utah's ready for a team,' new owner says" (Press release). National Hockey League. Retrieved 2024-04-18.
  31. ^ Jones, Josh (2024-04-23). "With Arizona Coyotes leaving, relocation talk clouds Roadrunners' future in Tucson". Cronkite News. Retrieved 2024-05-04. The Roadrunners remain under the ownership of Meruelo and will be an affiliate of the new team in Utah.
  32. ^ "Tucson Roadrunners moving to Tempe as Coyotes move to Utah". ABC15 Arizona in Phoenix (KNXV). 2024-04-18. Retrieved 2024-04-19.
  33. ^ Ortiz, Jenna. "Think the Tucson Roadrunners will move to Mullett Arena next season? Not so fast". azcentral.com. Retrieved April 19, 2024.
  34. ^ Reynoldson, Matt. "Meruelo walks back Roadrunners relocation: "We haven't made a decision yet"". kvoa.com. Retrieved April 20, 2024.
  35. ^ Sood, Sarika; Reynoldson, Matt. "Roadrunners owner Alex Meruelo intends to move team to Tempe". kvoa.com. Retrieved April 19, 2024.
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  37. ^ Ortiz, Jenna. "Think the Tucson Roadrunners will move to Mullett Arena next season? Not so fast". theahl.com. Retrieved May 28, 2024.
  38. ^ "Roadrunners Home For Six Games At Tucson Arena In March". Tucson Roadrunners. Retrieved 2 March 2023.
  39. ^ "Roadrunners are best in the West". KOLD.com. Retrieved 2 March 2023.
  40. ^ Peebles, Jimmy. "Game #66: Tucson At San Diego". Tucson Roadrunners. Retrieved 3 March 2023.
  41. ^ Fera, Brett. "Arena history, dead heat on the ice bind Roadrunners to Gulls as AHL clubs renew rivalry". Tucson.com. Retrieved 2 March 2023.
  42. ^ Schaffer, Jonathon. "Game #67: Tucson Roadrunners VS. San Diego Gulls". tucsonroadrunners.com. Retrieved April 9, 2024.
  43. ^ Schoepke, Cole. "Game #67: Tucson Roadrunners (3) VS San Diego Gulls (2)". tucsonroadrunners.com. Retrieved April 9, 2024.
  44. ^ "Tucson Roadrunners Roster". Tucson Roadrunners. Retrieved April 26, 2024.
  45. ^ "Cunningham named Roadrunners captain". Tucson Roadrunners. November 2, 2016.
  46. ^ "Roadrunners Name Leadership Group For 2017-18 Season". Tucson Roadrunners. October 6, 2017.
  47. ^ "Roadrunners Name Mermis Team Captain, Announce Leadership Group". Tucson Roadrunners. November 5, 2018.
  48. ^ "Roadrunners Name Chaput Captain, Announce 2019–20 Leadership Group". Tucson Roadrunners. October 3, 2019.
  49. ^ "ROADRUNNERS BID FAREWELL TO DEFENSEMAN DYSIN MAYO". Tucson Roadrunners. Retrieved 26 February 2023.
  50. ^ "HUDSON FASCHING NAMED ROADRUNNERS CAPTAIN". Tucson Roadrunners. Retrieved 26 February 2023.
  51. ^ "ADAM CRACKNELL NAMED ROADRUNNERS CAPTAIN". Tucson Roadrunners. Retrieved 26 February 2023.
  52. ^ "Cunningham jersey retired but new chapter ahead for 27-year old". nevalleynews.org. October 31, 2018. Retrieved June 5, 2019.
  53. ^ "Tucson Roadrunners – All Time AHL leaders". hockeydb.com. June 10, 2019. Retrieved June 10, 2019.
  54. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Tucson Roadrunners - Single-Season AHL Leaders". QuantHockey. Retrieved 28 January 2023.
  55. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Tucson Roadrunners - All-Time AHL Leaders". QuantHockey. Retrieved 28 January 2023.

External links[edit]