The Manchester Monarchs were a professional ice hockey team in the American Hockey League (AHL). They played in Manchester, New Hampshire, at the Verizon Wireless Arena. They have been the AHL affiliate of the National Hockey League (NHL) Los Angeles Kings since 2001. For the 2015–16 season, the Monarchs traded places with the Kings' affiliate in the ECHL, the Ontario Reign; the AHL franchise moved to Ontario, California, and play at Citizens Business Bank Arena where they became the new Ontario Reign, while the ECHL team moved to New Hampshire retaining the Manchester Monarchs name.
The Monarchs won their only Calder Cup in their final AHL season.
In 1999, Howard Baldwin founded Manchester Hockey Group LLC, while in the process of moving a dormant AHL franchise to New Hampshire to start play in 2001. On June 14, 2000, the Los Angeles Kings bought the team from Baldwin's group. Three months later, the Kings hired Jeff Eisenberg as team president. The team, to play in the still under construction Verizon Wireless Arena, was baptized Manchester Monarchs on November 13.
Prior to the first game, two people with the Kings organization Garnet Bailey, and Mark Bavis were killed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks as they were going home back to Los Angeles after a scouting trip. The Monarchs played their first game on October 6, 2001, against the Lowell Lock Monsters, losing 6–3. Their first win was a week later, on October 13, against the Norfolk Admirals. The team has been competitive within the division every year of its existence. They won their first Atlantic Division title in 2004–05, but lost in the first round to the Providence Bruins. This continued the streak of first round playoff exits, which the team had experienced in every year of existence, and would come to include the 2005–06 season.
The 2006–07 campaign was the team's best season prior to 2014–15, the season in which the team won its only Calder Cup championship. With rookie head coach Mark Morris, leading scorers Matt Moulson and Noah Clarke, and former League MVP Jason LaBarbera in goal, the team had their best-ever finish, winning the Atlantic Division title with the second-best points total in the League.
Heading into the playoffs, there were doubts within the team, as goaltender LaBarbera had ended the season injured. The team faced the Worcester Sharks in the first round. With LaBarbera coming back by Game 2, the Monarchs defeated the Sharks in six games, including double-overtime thrillers in Games 2 and 6. The second round brought the Providence Bruins, who put up as much, if not more, of a fight. The Monarchs found a way, however, and defeated the Bruins in six games. This brought the Monarchs to their first ever Eastern Conference Finals, but they were swept by the defending champions, the Hershey Bears, in four games.
Following their run in 2007, the Monarchs looked to have holes to fill, as Jason LaBarbera was called up to the Kings, along with several other players. The 2007–08 season was an up-and-down one, which ended following a sweep by the Providence Bruins in the first round of the playoffs. The 2008–09 season was a landmark year for the franchise, but not in the way they would hope. Despite a late surge, the team finished fifth, five points out of the playoffs, for the first time in franchise history.
The first half of the 2009–10 season proved to be successful for the Monarchs squad. Several players were promoted to Los Angeles, including Richard Clune and Alec Martinez. The Monarchs won their home opener of the 2010–11 season, as David Meckler scored the game-winning goal in front of 9,035 fans at the Verizon Wireless Arena on October 16, 2010. The game was also noteworthy as left wing Brandon Kozun and center Justin Azevedo were awarded penalty shots, the first time in franchise history that two players were awarded penalty shots in the same game.
The Manchester Monarchs have made it to the playoffs all but one season since coming into existence, winning their first Calder Cup following the 2014–15 season.
For the 2014–15 season, the Monarchs ditched the purple and gold colors of the Los Angeles Lakers (and former Los Angeles Kings' colors) that had been with the team since its inception, and adopted the same black and silver color scheme that the Kings have used since 2011.
On January 29, 2015, it was confirmed by the AHL via press conference that the Monarchs would relocate from Manchester, New Hampshire, to Ontario, California. In return, the Ontario Reign of the ECHL would move to Manchester to become the new ECHL Manchester Monarchs, the first ECHL team to play in New England. The Monarchs finished the regular season winning the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy with the best regular season record of the AHL and Brian O'Neill receiving the Les Cunningham Award as Most Valuable Player. The playoffs saw the Monarchs losing only three games among the Eastern teams, leading to the team's first Richard F. Canning Trophy as conference champions to qualify for the Calder Cup Final. The Monarchs beat the Utica Comets 4–1 to win the Calder Cup in their final season in New Hampshire. They became the first team since the New Brunswick Hawks in 1982 to win the Calder Cup in their last game of existence, and fourth overall (along with the Pittsburgh Hornets in 1967 and the Buffalo Bisons in 1970).Dane Jackson, 2001–2003
Richard Seeley, 2003–2004
Chris Schmidt, 2004–2005
Richard Seeley, 2005–2006
Brendan Buckley, 2006–2007
Jon Klemm, 2007–2008
Gabe Gauthier, 2007–2008
Marty Murray, 2008–2009
Drew Bagnall, 2009–2010
Marc-Andre Cliche, 2010–2013
Andrew Campbell, 2013–2014
Vincent LoVerde, 2014–15
This is a partial list of the last five seasons completed by the Monarchs. For the full season-by-season history, see List of Manchester Monarchs seasonsGoals:
Mike Cammalleri, 46, (2004–05)
Mike Cammalleri, 63, (2004–05)
Mike Cammalleri, 109, (2004–05)
Joe Rullier, 322, (2004–05)
Adam Hauser, 1.93, (2004–05)
Adam Hauser, .933, (2004–05)
Noah Clarke, 85, (2003–07)
Gabe Gauthier, 122, (2007–10)
Noah Clarke, 199, (2003–07)
Career penalty minutes:
Joe Rullier, 844, (2001–05)
Career goaltending wins:
Martin Jones, 84, (2010–14)
Adam Hauser, 15, (2003–06)
Andrew Campbell, 414, (2009–14)