The Lightning entered into a multi-year affiliation agreement with the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL starting with the 2012-13 regular season. 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 20th year of operation in the AHL and boast the longest, current independent ownership group led by Howard Dolgon. The Crunch has the sixth longest tenure of any AHL team. The Lightning will be 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 over the past five seasons. As the Lightning’s top affiliate, the Admirals captured the Calder Cup last week 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.
Rob Zettler - Head Coach
Rob Zettler made his professional head coaching debut during the 2012-13 season with the Syracuse Crunch.
Zettler is the eighth bench boss in Crunch history. Prior to joining the Crunch coach staff at the start of the 2012-13 season Zettler, a native of Sept. Iles, Quebec, spent nearly four seasons as an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Prior to joining Toronto's coaching staff, Zettler spent six seasons as an assistant coach with the San Jose Sharks from 2002 to 2008.
Zettler, 44, played in the NHL for 14 seasons with the Minnesota North Stars, Philadelphia Flyers, Nashville Predators, Washington Capitals, the Sharks and the Maple Leafs. He skated in 569 career games, recording five goals and 70 points. After his retirement in 2002 he joined San Jose as the Sharks Radio color analyst and helped to create the Sharks Alumni Association. He also assisted with the organization's charitable foundation as well as in the fan development department, participating is youth programs and clinics.
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