The Lightning entered into a multi-year affiliation agreement with the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL starting with the 2012-13 regular season and have extended the agreement untl the 2016-17. The Crunch play in the AHL's Eastern Conference East Division. Home games are played at Oncenter War Memorial Arena.
The Syracuse Crunch is entering into its 22nd year of operation in the AHL and boast the longest, current independent ownership group led by Howard Dolgon. The Lightning are the fourth primary NHL affiliate of the Crunch, who previously partnered with Vancouver (1994-99), Columbus (2000-09) and Anaheim (2010-12). Syracuse had a dual affiliation with Vancouver and Pittsburgh from 1997-1999.
Tampa Bay previously held their primary AHL affiliation with the Norfolk Admirals for five seasons. As the Lightning’s top affiliate, the Admirals captured the Calder Cupin 2012 and also set a professional hockey record, winning 28 consecutive games to close out the 2011-12 regular season.
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Julien BriseBois - General Manager
Julien BriseBois enters his third season as assistant general manger of the Tampa Bay Lightning after being named to the position on July 16, 2010. He reports directly to vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman and assists him in all aspects of player personnel decisions, contract preparation and negotiation, and salary arbitration for the Lightning and the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League, for whom he also serves as general manager. BriseBois also manages interpretation of the NHL's collective bargaining agreement and the salary cap for Tampa Bay.
As general manager of the Lightning's top affiliate, the Norfolk Admirals, in 2011-12, BriseBois aided the team to their second consecutive appearance in the Calder Cup Playoffs after setting a professional sports record with a 28-game winning streak that propelled Norfolk to the AHL's best regular season record. The team's regular season success continued in the playoffs as the Admirals went on to win the organization's first Calder Cup, the first championship by a Lightning AHL affiliate. BriseBois was instrumental in helping build the organization's depth with signings that proved instrumental to both the Lightning and the Admirals, demonstrated by nine players being recalled to Tampa Bay during the season. In 2010-11, the BriseBois-led Admirals made the postseason for the first time in their affiliation with the Lightning. Also during that season, the Hockey News recognized BriseBois as the top hockey executive under 40 years of age in their annual "Top 40 Under 40" listing.
Prior to coming to Tampa Bay, BriseBois, 35, spent nine seasons with the Montreal Canadiens after joining the organization on September 1, 2001 as Director of Legal Affairs. In July of 2003 he added Director of Hockey Operations to his duties before being named Vice President of Hockey Operations on July 24, 2006. On August 23, 2007 BriseBois was named the general manager of Montreal's top affiliate, the Hamilton Bulldogs of the AHL, making him the youngest in the league at the time. During that time he retained his position with the Canadiens. The Bulldogs improved in each year under BriseBois' tenure, going from 36-34-10 in 2007-08 to 52-17-11 in 2009-10. In three seasons under his guidance Hamilton went 137-78-25.
A native of Greenfield Park, Quebec, BriseBois was employed by the Heenan Blaikie Law Firm before joining Montreal. During that time he worked in the field of sports law, where he represented several NHL and Major League Baseball clubs in arbitration cases as well as acting as an advisor in contract negotiations. BriseBois also participated in the reform of the Constitution and By-Laws of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
BriseBois is a graduate of the University of Montreal Faculty of Law and earned a Master's degree in business administration from the John Molson School of Business at Concordia University. He is a member of the Quebec Bar, the American Bar Association and the Sports Lawyers Association. BriseBois also sits on the AHL Competition Committee and the AHL CBA Committee.
Benoit Groulx - Head Coach
The Tampa Bay Lightning hired Benoit Groulx to become the head coach of its American Hockey League affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, on April 10, 2016.
Groulx was the head coach and general manager for the Gatineau Olympiques of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League during the 2015-16 season, guiding his team to a record of 46-19-2-1. The Olympiques were defeated in the 2016 QMJHL Quarter-Final by the Moncton Wildcats four games to two.
Groulx has worked 13 total seasons as a head coach in the QMJHL with the Hull/Gatineau Olympiques, posting a career record of 460-293-18-59. He led his teams to league championships in 2003, 2004 and 2008, earning QMJHL Coach of the Year honors for the 2003-04 season while coaching the Olympiques.
The Hull, Quebec native also served on the coaching staffs for Team Canada at the 2004 U18 World Championships as well as the 2014 and 2015 IIHF World Junior Championships. Groulx was an assistant coach for the Gold Medal winning Team Canada at the U18 World Championships in 2004. Groulx was also an assistant coach for Team Canada at the World Junior Championships in 2014 as Canada was defeated in the Bronze Medal game by Russia. The following year, Groulx was the head coach for Team Canada, winning the Gold Medal and earning a perfect 7-0 record during the tournament.
Groulx also has two years of head coaching experience in the American Hockey League with the Rochester Americans (2008-09, 2009-10), compiling a record of 73-76-11 while leading the Americans to one Calder Cup playoffs appearance.
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