LOVELAND, CO — Colorado looks to avoid championship-run-hangover in the quest to repeat as Kelly Cup Champions before the jump to the American Hockey League for the 2018-19 season.
The two-time Central Hockey League (CHL) champions (2005 & 2007) are the defending ECHL champions following a 4-0 series sweep of the South Carolina Stingrays.
Head Coach: Aaron Schneekloth — Second season as Eagles head coach, following three years as an assistant with the team. Previously played seven years as an Eagles defenseman garnering the ECHL defenseman of the year award in 2012.
Captain: Matt Garbowsky. The Eagles announced late Thursday afternoon via Twitter Garbowsky had been named the sixth captain in Eagles’ history. With last years captain Sean Zimmerman (Orlando), and alternates Darryl Bootland (Orlando) and Casey Pierro-Zabotel (Allen) playing elsewhere, defensemen Teighan Zahn, Matt Register and Jake Marto have been named alternates for the upcoming season.
Last Season: Regular Season 47-20-2-3, second in Mountain Division, third in Western Conference, eventual Kelly Cup Champions. A mid-season 17-game winning streak and a dominant playoff run capped a year where the Eagles were indeed the class of the league for long stretches.
Losses: Gone are veterans Zimmerman, Bootland, and Pierro-Zabotel. Defenceman Sam Jardine was also signed by the Orlando Solar Bears, 3rd leading scorer Luke Salazar and former DU Pioneer is not returning, nor is speedy winger Johnny Lazo.
Additions: Brothers Collin and Drayson Bowman bring significant NHL, AHL, and ECHL experience back to the Eagles. Both last played for Colorado in the 2015-2016 campaign. The elder of the two brothers, Drayson, has played 180 NHL games and is a former 3rd round draft pick of the Carolina Hurricanes.
Forward Jesse Mychan is also returning after a short stint in Europe. He tied for the ECHL lead in goal-scoring during the 2015-2016 season (32 g) and will add some much-needed firepower to the forward group.
- #AHLEagles — With the Eagles’ impending move to the American Hockey League in 2018-2019, how will this impact their final ECHL year?
- #AffiliationAdditions — Last years squad was filled with talented players sent down from The San Antonio Rampage. Alex Belzile, Shawn St-Amant, Julien Nantel, and Mason Geertsen to name a few. Will this continue to be the case?
- #TendysGalore — AHL vets Sam Brittain and Joe Cannata will vie for playing time with last season’s playoff surprise Lukas Hafner. Who positions themselves as number one?
Sin Bin Swami Says… A second consecutive Kelly Cup Championship. The Eagles are secure from the net out. They have an excellent affiliation in place, and a lot of these players will not be playing in the American Hockey League next year. How much more motivation does one need?
Colorado opens their 2017-2018 season at home on Friday, Oct. 13 vs. rival Utah. Before the 7:05 pm puck drop, they will raise their Kelly Cup Championship banner to the rafters.