By Tom Bourdon,
Head Athletic Trainer, Cleveland Monsters
PHATS AHL Executive Committee President

 For the first time in the 84-year history of the American Hockey League the Calder Cup was not awarded as the season was abruptly suspended on March 12, 2020 and then officially cancelled on May 11, 2020 due the COVID-19 Pandemic.  

With this cancellation came the end of Dave Andrews tenure as President and CEO of the American Hockey League and on June 30th he officially retired.  Our membership would like to thank Dave for all of his efforts, support, and contributions to the American Hockey League.  

On July 1, 2020, Scott Howson became President and CEO, after being elected into the position by the AHL Board of Governors on February 14, 2020.  Scott Howson has been tasked with navigating the AHL through these difficult and unparalleled circumstances. Our membership was able to meet with Scott on June 16, 2020 and we look forward to the opportunity to assist and support his efforts moving forward.

As the American Hockey League anxiously awaits it’s return to action, several organizations have made affiliation changes which includes the sale and closure of the San Antonio Rampage.  The Rampage were sold to the Vegas Golden Knights which relocated the team to Henderson, Nevada to become the Henderson Silver Knights. We want to extend thanks and gratitude to the city of San Antonio, and its team patrons. We all have fond memories of competing in a great city with great fans, it will be missed.  The Carolina Hurricanes have now entered a partnership/affiliation with the Chicago Wolves. The St. Louis Blues entered an affiliation with the Springfield Thunderbirds, and the Florida Panthers have relocated their affiliation to the Charlotte Checkers.  We wish our members, and the staff from these organizations the best of luck in their new cities.

We hope everyone is staying safe and healthy during these difficult times and we look forward to the day when we can get back to our sport and safely see our friends and colleagues.

By Tom Bourdon,
Head Athletic Trainer, Cleveland Monsters
PHATS AHL Executive Committee President

As the 84th American Hockey League regular season nears its conclusion we would like to highlight several notable events that have taken course over the past few months.

The 2020 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Ontario International Airport took place January 26th – 27th in Ontario, California home of the Ontario Reign

Prior to the 2020 AHL All-Star Challenge the league announced its induction of Robbie Ftorek, Denis Hamel, Darren Haydar and Fred Thurier as the AHL Hall of Fame Class of 2020.

In January, American Hockey League President and CEO David Andrews announced that the Laval Rocket have been selected as host of the 2021 AHL All-Star Classic.  The 2021 All-Star Classic will be held January 31st and February 1st at Place Bell Arena in Laval, Quebec.

As always we wish to congratulate each of our PHATS & SPHEM membership milestones achieved, however this season specifically, the PHATS AHL membership would like to take this opportunity to extend congratulations to Kevin Kacer- Head Athletic Trainer, Chicago Wolves. When the Chicago Wolves hosted and defeated the Milwaukee Admirals on February 13th it marked Kevin’s 2,000th game. A milestone that very few American Hockey League Athletic Trainers have reached. We thank Kevin for his dedication and service to our profession and his impact & leadership within our league. Congrats Kacer!!

We hope that everyone remains healthy and safe during these unfortunate circumstances. We remain optimistic that our extended hockey family comes through this crisis sooner than later with as minimal impact as possible.  

By Tom Bourdon,
Head Athletic Trainer, Cleveland Monsters
PHATS AHL Executive Committee President

In just the first month of the 83rd season of the American Hockey League 30 AHL players have already made their NHL debuts.        At the start of the 2019 ? 2020 season 622 former AHL players were on the opening day rosters of NHL teams.  Last season the AHL welcomed more than 7.1 million fans to games during the regular season and playoffs.   The second largest total in league history and since 2001 the league has had over 120 million fans attend games.

    We would like to congratulate staff of both the Chicago Wolves and Charlotte Checkers on a tremendous season.  The two teams battled it out for the Calder Cup.  Eventually the Charlotte Checkers secured their first ever Calder Cup title after also winning the Macgregor Kilpatrick trophy as regular season champs.

      The AHL remains the premier development league for the NHL and without the dedicated professionals of PHATS and SPHEM this league would not operate to its fullest potential.  We would like to welcome all of the new head athletic trainers and head equipment managers,  this list includes; Michael Dhesse of the  Rochester Americans, Matt Aiello of the Charlotte Checkers, Josh Chapman of the Grand Rapids Griffins, Bill Nervig of the Tucson Road Runners, Zach Salmonson of the Manitoba Moose, Dustin Stuck of the Providence Bruins, Bryan Erspamer of the Stockton Heat, Roman Kaszczj of the Utica Comets, Zac Guercia of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, Richard ?Shakey? Krouse of the Iowa Wild, Donny White of the Charlotte Checkers and Craig Lewis of the Hartford Wolf Pack.

The AHL will also, for the first time in their history, host the AHL All-Star game on the west coast when the Ontario Reign, affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings, host the best and brightest stars of the AHL on January 26th and 27th at the Toyota Arena in Ontario, CA.

We would like to wish good health and good luck to all teams, and we look forward to seeing all of you in Orlando at the 2020 PHATS-SPHEM meetings.

By Tom Bourdon,
Head Athletic Trainer, Cleveland Monsters
PHATS AHL Executive Committee President

As the 83rd American Hockey League regular season nears its conclusion we would like to highlight several notable events that have taken course over the past few months.

The 2019 Lexus AHL All-Star Classic, presented by MGM Springfield, took place from January 27th ? January 28th in Springfield, Massachusetts; home of the Springfield Thunderbirds.

Prior to the 2019 AHL All-Star Challenge the league announced its induction of John Anderson, Don Cherry, Murray Eaves, and Brad Smyth as the AHL Hall of Fame Class of 2019.

This past September, American Hockey League President and CEO David Andrews announced that the Ontario Reign have been selected as hosts of the 2020 AHL All-Star Classic. The 2020 AHL All-Star Classic will be held at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, Calif., on January 26-27, 2020.

As always we wish to congratulate all of our PHATS & SPHEM membership for milestones achieved each year, however this season specifically, the PHATS AHL membership would like to take the opportunity to extend congratulations to Kent Wiesbeck, current Assistant Athletic Trainer and longtime Head Athletic Trainer (85?-11?) of the Rochester Americans, on reaching the 2,500 games served milestone. Kent?s 2,500th game occurred on March 10th 2019 when the Amerks? hosted the Binghamton Devils. Rochester was victorious in a 6-1 final. Among other organizational awards, Kent was presented with a specially engraved wine box as a token of respect and appreciation for both his dedication and commitment to the game of hockey, and the profession of athletic training. Again, congratulations Kent!

L-R? Bob Mowry, Kent Wiesbeck, Jaime Garcia


The 2018-2019 season welcomed its 31st AHL franchise to the pacific division of the western conference as the long time ECHL franchise Colorado Eagles were inaugurated into the AHL as the top affiliate to the Colorado Avalanche. Coinciding with this addition the San Antonio Rampage subsequently joined ranks with the St. Louis Blues as their top organizational affiliate.

We extend congratulations and wish those organizations who succeed in a 2019 Calder Cup Playoff berth the best of luck and we look forward to seeing all 31 organizations represented at our annual meeting in Austin this June.