The big announcement came, and we were all not shocked: the Eagles will partner with the Avs as their AHL affiliate beginning in the 2018-2019 season. The Eagles will maintain their residency at the Budweiser Center in Loveland Colorado.
So we all knew this was coming; the announcement was delayed following the horrible events in Las Vegas last week, but it is in fact official as of this week.
This is great news though, for those of us who live in the metro area and can actually put in the effort to take in a game every now and then. (Having the Eagles has always been great, I’m sprinkling in some more because AHL). For those of you who have never been to the Bud, here’s the rundown. It’s located at 5290 Arena Circle, Loveland CO; without traffic, the drive north on I-25 from Denver proper takes about an hour. Pick a Friday afternoon in rush hour or a holiday weekend, and it’s worth it to take the extra time to get through the Longmont lane crunch and to have some spare time if there’s an accident or a delay. The arena itself is a bowl, which currently seats a little over 7,000 and renovations are expected, so that number may grow. The cheapest ticket is 16 bucks, which is pretty consistent with other minor league hockey teams (and in fact, a little more on the pricy side in my opinion). More information on these logistics to come!
In the meantime, the Eagles are still the Avs ECHL affiliate. This is still a great opportunity for those of us in the metro area to see who’s in the pipeline in the Avs organization. Many of these players return year to year, and many have returned from last year’s Kelly Cup championship team. There are also new faces, as well as faces who are returning after time away in Europe or across the country playing for different teams. I encourage everyone who hasn’t taken the opportunity to see the Eagles play at this level to do so, if you can; these are guys who are playing because they love the game, it’s a chance to work for an organization and to try to impress at a high level.
While I’m making suggestions, the @ColoradoEagles twitter page is really funny during games, reporting almost entirely in memes and gifs. This, I believe, is something we can all resonate with on a deep level, and therefore the team deserves a follow.
With that, the news: the Eagles Roost is going to be a bi-weekly (or so) round up of what’s happening with our soon-to-be AHL affiliate. What I have here is a list of player signings from the last few months of the offseason, as well as a little recap of each player’s story and what they bring to the team this season. Without further ado:
Eagles announce resigning of 25-year-old goaltender Lukas Hafner for the 2017-2018 season. Hafner was a beast for the Eagles in the playoffs last season, going 14-2 with a GAA of 2.42. This followed a rookie regular season campaign in which he made five appearances, going 4-1 with a 2.62 GAA, after joining the Eagles in February coming up from the Southern Professional Hockey League.
Eagles announce signing of 21-year-old forward Joey Ratelle for the 2017-2018 season. Ratelle joins the team following five seasons in QMJHL, his last of which saw a career high 41 goals and 36 assists in 62 games. Ratelle can also hold his own in a fight, despite only being 5’10’’ and 180 lbs.
Eagles announce resigning of 25-year-old forward Cam Maclise for the 2017-2018 season. The 6’3’’, 200 lb forward put up 6 points in the regular season and 12 points in the playoffs for the Eagles last year.
Eagles announce resigning of 26-year-old defenseman Collin Bowman for the 2017-2018 season. Bowman enters his fourth season with the Eagles, having spent time with the team in 2012-13, 2014-15, and 2015-16 with various stints in the AHL and a 2016-17 season spent in the Austrian League. Bowman isn’t a Colorado native, but grew up in Littleton after his family moved there when he was 2.
Three members of the Colorado Eagles reported to Avalanche Rookie Camp: forwards Julian Nantel and Shawn St. Amant, and defenseman Gage Ausmus are all participating in camp. Ausmus is attending his first professional camp following four years playing for the University of North Dakota; Nantel and St. Amant are both attending their second camp respectively.
Eagles announce resigning of 27-year-old defenseman Matt Register for the 2017-2018 season. Register captured ECHL Defenseman of the Year honors last year; it is the second time Register has won the award in his career. For Register, the season saw a career high 18 goals and 46 assists in the regular season and another 8 goals and 16 assists in the playoffs; in short, he was stellar and showed it by putting up his best ever offensive campaign.
Eagles announce resigning of 28-year-old defenseman Drayson Bowman for the 2017-2018 season. Drayson is the brother of Eagles defenseman Collin Bowman. He also brings NHL experience to the club, having played in 180 games for the Carolina Hurricanes and Montreal Canadiens across six seasons. He played three games for the Eagles in 2015-2016 as a loaner from the WHL as well.
Eagles announce resigning of 25-year-old forward Jesse Mychan for the 2017-2018 season. Mychan returns to the Eagles after stints in 2013-2014 and 2015-2017, which sandwich various appearances with the EIHL Devils, AHL Barracuda, and the Rampage. Mychan also recently played 9 games in Austria for Innsbruck HC. Mychan is a player who has always flashed potential on offense, with a nose for the puck and an eye for the net; he’s another player who can also hold his own in a fight.
These players join holdovers from last season like D Teigan Zahn, a veteran defenseman and member of the Eagles since 2014; C Ryan Harrison, an Eagle last year returning this season; G Joe Cannata, who was in the Rampage organization last season and is starting the year at the ECHL level. Remaining roster spots yet to be announced ought to be by tomorrow.
With that, tomorrow is Opening Night for the Eagles!
Friday, October 13; Utah Grizzlies @ Colorado Eagles, 7:05 PM mst.
Saturday, October 14; Colorado Eagles @ Utah Grizzlies, 7:05 PM mst.
Friday, October 20; Norfolk Admirals @ Colorado Eagles, 7:05 PM mst.
Saturday, October 21; Norfolk Admirals @ Colorado Eagles, 7:05 PM mst.