Tucson Roadrunners

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Tucson Roadrunners
2019–20 AHL season
Tucson Roadrunners logo.svg
CityTucson, Arizona
LeagueAmerican Hockey League (AHL)
ConferenceWestern
DivisionPacific
Founded1994
Home arenaTucson Convention Center
ColorsBrick red, desert sand, copper, black, white
                        
General managerSteve Sullivan
Head coachJay Varady
MediaArizona Daily Star, KTZR, Fox Sports Arizona
AHL.TV (Internet)
AffiliatesArizona Coyotes (NHL)
Rapid City Rush (ECHL)[1]
Franchise history
1994–2016Springfield Falcons
2016–presentTucson Roadrunners
Championships
Division Championships2 (2017–18, 2019–20)

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 Arizona Coyotes, the team plays its home games at the Tucson Convention Center.

History[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.[2][3] 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,[4] the second from the AHL Board of Governors to conditionally approve the purchase and relocation by the Coyotes was approved on May 10,[5] and the third from the Tucson City Council for a 10-year lease with the Convention Center was approved on May 17.[6][7]

A name-the-team contest was held between May 17 until May 31.[8] The hockey club's new name and logo were revealed on June 18 during the Tucson Convention Center's open house event.[9] 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 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.[10] The team named its first president Brian Sandy, along with three other key staff members, on July 18.[11] On July 20, the Roadrunners announced their first general manager, Doug Soetaert, promoted from his former position as a scout for the Coyotes.[12]

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.[13] 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.[14]

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 championship for having the best record in the division when play was suspended and later canceled.[15]

Season-by-season results[edit]

Regular season Playoffs
Season Games Won Lost OTL SOL Points PCT Goals
for
Goals
against
Standing Year 1st
round
2nd
round
Conference
Finals
Calder Cup
Finals
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 COVID-19

Players[edit]

Current roster[edit]

Updated July 11, 2020.[16]

# Nat Player Pos S/G Age Acquired Birthplace Contract
9 United States Beau Bennett RW R 28 2019 Gardena, California Coyotes
44 Canada Dane Birks D R 24 2019 Merritt, British Columbia Coyotes
27 Canada Michael Bunting (A) LW L 24 2016 Scarborough, Ontario Coyotes
4 United States Cam Dineen D L 22 2018 Toms River, New Jersey Coyotes
21 Canada Matteo Gennaro C L 23 2018 St. Albert, Alberta Roadrunners
25 Canada Jeremy Gregoire C/RW R 28 2019 Sherbrooke, Quebec Roadrunners
11 Canada Kevin Hancock LW L 22 2019 Mississauga, Ontario Roadrunners
15 Finland Markus Hannikainen LW L 27 2020 Helsinki, Finland Coyotes
15 United States Keeghan Howdeshell LW L 22 2019 Brighton, Michigan Roadrunners
43 Canada Ryker Killins D R 24 2019 Wawa, Ontario Roadrunners
31 United States Merrick Madsen G L 24 2018 Acton, California Coyotes
71 Canada Jon Martin RW R 24 2019 Winnipeg, Manitoba Roadrunners
37 Canada Dysin Mayo D R 23 2016 Victoria, British Columbia Coyotes
18 Canada Lane Pederson C R 23 2017 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Coyotes
5 United States Robbie Russo (A) D R 27 2018 Westmont, Illinois Coyotes
55 United States Jalen Smereck D L 23 2017 Detroit, Michigan Coyotes
10 Canada Blake Speers C R 23 2019 Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario Coyotes
17 Canada Tyler Steenbergen C L 22 2018 Sylvan Lake, Alberta Coyotes

Team captains[edit]

Retired numbers[edit]

Tucson Roadrunners retired numbers
No. Player Position Career No. retirement
14 Craig Cunningham C 2016 October 27, 2018[21]

Franchise records and leaders[edit]

Scoring leaders[edit]

These are the top-ten point-scorers for the Tucson Roadrunners in the AHL. Figures are updated after each completed season.[22]

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

Points
Player Pos GP G A Pts P/G
Michael Bunting LW 244 67 94 161 .66
Lane Pederson C 167 51 56 107 .64
Kyle Capobianco D 135 19 80 99 .73
Nick Merkley RW 109 31 58 89 .82
Brayden Burke LW 118 34 51 85 .72
Hudson Fasching RW 121 35 33 68 .56
Chris Mueller C 68 19 48 67 .98
Conor Garland RW 131 25 41 66 .50
Laurent Dauphin C 89 28 35 63 .71
Kyle Wood D 117 17 45 62 .53

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Coyotes Announce New ECHL Affiliation Agreement With The Rapid City Rush". Arizona Coyotes. July 25, 2019.
  2. ^ "Coyotes Sign Agreement to Purchase Springfield Falcons AHL Franchise". Arizona Coyotes. April 19, 2016. Retrieved May 18, 2016.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ "BOG conditionally approves Coyotes' purchase". TheAHL.com. American Hockey League. May 10, 2016. Retrieved May 18, 2016.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ McLellan, Sarah (May 17, 2016). "Tucson City Council approves lease agreement for Arizona Coyotes' AHL team". AZCentral. Retrieved May 18, 2016.
  8. ^ "Our AHL team is Coming to Tucson: Name the Team". Arizona Coyotes. May 17, 2016. Retrieved May 18, 2016.
  9. ^ "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.
  10. ^ "Coyotes Hire Lamb as Head Coach of Tucson Roadrunners". coyotes.nhl.com. Retrieved 2016-06-22.
  11. ^ "Tucson Roadrunners hire new president, three others". tucson.com. Retrieved 2016-07-18.
  12. ^ "Tucson Roadrunners Name Doug Soetaert as General Manager". OurSports Central. July 20, 2016.
  13. ^ "Roadrunners Announce Van Ryn to Leave Team to Pursue NHL Coaching Opportunity". OurSportsCentral.com. May 30, 2018.
  14. ^ "Coyotes Name Varady Head Coach of Tucson Roadrunners". Arizona Coyotes. July 2, 2018.
  15. ^ "Roadrunners named pacific division champions". Tucson Roadrunners. May 12, 2020. Retrieved May 12, 2020.
  16. ^ "Tucson Roadrunners Roster". Tucson Roadrunners. December 18, 2019. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
  17. ^ "Cunningham named Roadrunners captain". Tucson Roadrunners. November 2, 2016.
  18. ^ "Roadrunners Name Leadership Group For 2017-18 Season". Tucson Roadrunners. October 6, 2017.
  19. ^ "Roadrunners Name Mermis Team Captain, Announce Leadership Group". Tucson Roadrunners. November 5, 2018.
  20. ^ "Roadrunners Name Chaput Captain, Announce 2019-20 Leadership Group". Tucson Roadrunners. October 3, 2019.
  21. ^ "Cunningham jersey retired but new chapter ahead for 27-year old". nevalleynews.org. October 31, 2018. Retrieved June 5, 2019.
  22. ^ "Tucson Roadrunners - All Time AHL leaders". hockeydb.com. June 10, 2019. Retrieved June 10, 2019.

External links[edit]