The 2021-22 campaign was an extremely successful one for the Springfield Thunderbirds, who fell just short of winning the 2022 Calder Cup. Newly affiliated with the St. Louis Blues, the Thunderbirds made the Calder Cup Final in the first season this iteration of the Springfield AHL franchise even made the playoffs.
Now, the team announced today that the man who captained them there is sticking around. Veteran defenseman Tommy Cross is staying in Springfield on a one-year AHL contract, continuing what’s been a long minor-league career for him. Now 32, the Connecticut native was a 2007 second-round pick of the Boston Bruins who, although he didn’t get a solid NHL role, stayed in the organization until 2018. He did get into four NHL games (three regular-season, one playoff) in Boston, registering a combined two assists. He was a captain in their organization as well, serving in the role for Providence from 2015-2018. One of the most well-respected leaders in the minors, Cross will get another chance at lifting the Calder Cup for the first time.
- Colin Chaulk stepped into the head coaching role for the Bakersfield Condors when Jay Woodcroft got the call-up to Edmonton mid-season. Today, Bakersfield announced he’ll be sticking around, stripping away the interim tag and naming him the ninth head coach in team history. The Condors won their best-of-three First Round series against the Abbotsford Canucks, but were swept 3-0 in the Division Semifinals by the Stockton Heat.
- The Baby Rangers are making moves. Via a team release, the Hartford Wolf Pack announced a one-year AHL contract for defenseman Louka Henault. The 2001-born Henault is an undrafted free agent, and after serving as the captain of the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires last season, will head to Hartford professionally. In his last season of juniors, Henault scored eight goals, 57 assists, and 65 points in 63 regular-season games, adding 16 points in 25 playoff games.
Whew. Cross was very effective for the Thunderbirds, both on the ice and in the locker room. We’re a better team with him on it.