American Hockey League President and CEO Scott Howson has announced a revised start date for the 2020-21 AHL season, as approved by the league’s Board of Governors during its 2020 Annual Meeting. At the recommendation of the AHL’s Return to Play Task Force, the Board of Governors has approved moving the anticipated start of the 2020-21 regular season to December 4, 2020, due to the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis.
Craig Billington - Colorado Avalanche Assistant General Manager
Craig Billington is entering his 17th year with the Avalanche's front office and his fifth as Assistant General Manager. He primarily works with the organization's minor league affiliates, the Colorado Eagles of the American Hockey League and the Utah Grizzlies of the ECHL.
Billington manages the team's rookie camp each year and in 2016, he oversaw Colorado's inaugural Rookie Showcase, a three-day tournament that included the Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks at the Ice Centre at the Promenade in Westminster, Colorado.
Prior to assuming this current role, Billington, 51, most recently held the title of Vice President of Player Development/Minor League Operations. The London, Ontario, native started as the club's goaltending consultant before being named Director of Player Development. He added the title of vice president in the summer of 2008 and was named to his current role on June 24, 2013.
The former netminder enjoyed a 15-year playing career in the NHL, compiling a 110-149-31 record in 332 appearances. He spent three years with the Avalanche from 1996-97 to 1998-99, where he still ranks fourth in franchise history in career goals-against average (2.61) and fifth in save percentage (.910).
Billington was New Jersey's second choice (23rd overall) in the 1984 Entry Draft. He played two full seasons with New Jersey in 1991-92 and 1992-93 before joining the Ottawa Senators. In 1993, Billington was selected to play in the NHL All-Star Game. He also spent time with Boston and finished his career with the Washington Capitals.
Billington played in two world junior championships and backstopped Canada to the gold medal at the 1985 IIHF World Junior Championship in Finland.
Craig resides in Denver with his family.
Greg Cronin - Head Coach
Cronin, 55, has spent 30 seasons in coaching, including 12 years as an assistant in the NHL and two seasons as a head coach at the AHL level. He spent the last four years on the New York Islanders' coaching staff, serving three seasons as an assistant before being promoted to Associate Coach in 2017-18. It marked his second stint with the Islanders, as he previously was an assistant coach with the team from 1998 to 2003. Prior to his recent time in New York, Cronin was an assistant with the Toronto Maple Leafs for three seasons from 2011-14, helping the Leafs to their first playoff appearance in nine years in 2013.
Cronin served two seasons as head coach of the Islanders' AHL team, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, from 2003-05. The Arlington, Mass., native led the Sound Tigers to the playoffs during his first season in 2003-04 with a record of 41-23-16 (98 points).
Following his time with Bridgeport, Cronin spent six seasons as the head coach at Northeastern University from 2005-06 to 2010-11. He helped rebuild the Huskies program, improving from three wins in his first season to an NCAA tournament appearance in 2009, the school's first in 15 years. That season, he won the Hockey East's Bob Kullen Coach of the Year Award.
Cronin was an assistant coach at the University of Maine (1988-90, 1993-95) and Colorado College (1990-93), and also spent time as interim head coach at both institutions as well (Colorado College in 1992 and Maine in 1995-96). Following a four-year playing career at Colby College (1982-86), Cronin began his coaching career at his alma mater in 1987-88.
One of the co-founders of the United States National Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich., Cronin served as the head coach and director of player development for the U.S. Under-18 Team for two years from 1996-98. Internationally, Cronin worked as an assistant coach for Team USA at the 1997, 2011 and 2012 IIHF World Championship, as well as the 1997 and 1998 IIHF World Junior Championship, where he helped the U.S. Junior National Team to a silver medal in 1997.
Cronin earned a Master's Degree in Business at the University of Maine in 1990, while serving as a graduate assistant for the hockey team.
Aaron Schneekloth - Assistant Coach
Schneekloth joins Greg Cronin’s staff as an assistant coach after leading the Eagles to back-to-back Kelly Cup Championships in his two seasons as the team’s bench boss in the ECHL. Schneekloth finished 2nd in the ECHL's Coach of the Year voting during his each of his first two seasons, after leading Colorado to a 47-20-2-3 record during the 2016-17 and a 48-18-4-2 mark during the 2017-18 campaign. He would also guide Colorado to a stellar record of 32-10-2 in the postseason.
Schneekloth previously spent three seasons as the Eagles assistant coach under current Eagles president Chris Stewart. Prior to moving behind the bench, Schneekloth enjoyed a highly-decorated professional career that spanned 11 years and saw him spend seven seasons in an Eagles sweater, including a championship season in 2007. Schneekloth retired in 2013 as the Eagles all-time leader in points, goals and assists by a defenseman. He also left having etched his name into the Eagles record book ranked 5th overall in points (356), 2nd in games played (382) and 6th in goals (111). He also owns a NCAA championship as a member of the University of North Dakota team which captured the NCAA title in 2000.
Ryan Tobler - Assistant Coach
A two-time CHL Champion with the Colorado Eagles as a player, Tobler still ranks 4th in Eagles history with 416 points in 367 games with Colorado. His #17 was just the third number ever raised to the rafters of the Budweiser Events Center after retiring prior to the 2010-11 season. In addition to his time behind the bench with the Eagles, he served as the Head Coach of the Bentley Generals of the Chinook Hockey League from 2013 to 2016, leading the team to the league title in both 2014 and 2015 and ultimately culminating with the Generals winning the prestigious Allan Cup in 2016. He now enters his third season as an Eagles Assistant Coach after helping direct Colorado to back-to-back Kelly Cup Championships in 2017 and 2018.
The Calgary, Alberta native built a reputation on the ice as a gritty, power forward. He saw action in 361 AHL and IHL contests, in addition to appearing in four NHL games with the Tampa Bay Lightning during the 2001-02 season.
Ryan Bach - Goaltending Coach
The Colorado Eagles’ inaugural season goaltender re-joined the team in 2006-07 as goaltending coach. His duties were then expanded heading into the 2007-08 season when he was named assistant coach and served as interim head coach while Chris Stewart recovered from offseason back surgery. Prior to coaching, Bach played eight seasons of professional hockey including two stops in the NHL with the Detroit Red Wings and the Los Angeles Kings.
Bach attended Colorado College for four seasons, finishing with a 53-19-8 record with the Tigers. He was an All-WCHA First Team Goaltender twice, as well as being a two-time All-American with CC. He started his career in the Red Wings’ system playing for Adirondack. The following season, he played for the Houston Aeros and was selected as an IHL All-Star. In his last two seasons before coming to Colorado, Bach won two straight English Superleague Championships with the Sheffield Steelers and the Belfast Giants. He finished up his pro career with the Eagles going 33-15-5.
Cliff Halstead - Head Equipment Manager
Cliff Halstead joined the Eagles equipment staff following the 2019-20 season. He was with the Avalanche equipment staff in a full-time role prior to the 2003-04 season, but he has been with the organization since Game One in 1995. He served as a stick boy for seven seasons before taking over the visiting dressing room duties for the 2002-03 season.
Halstead, 38, is responsible for the purchasing and inventory of the club's equipment needs, equipment maintenance and day-to-day management.
Born in Casper, Wyoming, and raised in Aurora, Halstead is a graduate of Eaglecrest High School and spent two years as an undergraduate at Aurora Community College.
Bryce Blinkhorn - Assistant Equipment Manager
Blinkhorn is entering his first season as the Eagles Assistant Equipment Manager after recently having served as an Assistant Equipment Manager at the University of Minnesota-Duluth for the previous four seasons.
Brent Woodside, ATC - Head Athletic Trainer
Woodside joins the Eagles after recently finishing his fourth season as the head athletic trainer for the San Antonio Rampage. Prior to joining the Rampage, Woodside spent five seasons in the same position with the Lake Erie Monsters (2010-2015) and seven years in the Central Hockey League.
After earning his bachelor's degree in Athletic Training from Quincy University in Quincy, Illinois, in the spring of 2000, Woodside began his career at a rehab clinic in southern Illinois. Eighteen months later, he moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to pursue his Master's degree in Sports Administration at the University of New Mexico.
While pursuing his degree at New Mexico, Woodside worked with the school's football team as a member of the sports staff for a year-and-a-half. In February of 2003, he joined the New Mexico Scorpions of the CHL as the club's head athletic trainer, a position he held until May 2005. From September 2005 to May 2006, Woodside served as the head athletic trainer and strength and conditioning coach for the Corpus Christi Rays of the CHL before returning to the Scorpions in the same capacity from September 2006 to May 2009. After spending three years with the Scorpions, Woodside took his skills to Allen, Texas, to serve as the head athletic trainer and conditioning coach for the Allen Americans of the CHL during the 2009-10 season.
Kaleb Kurt-Hurst, ATC - Assistant Athletic Trainer
Kurt-Hurst is entering his first season as the Assistant Athletic Trainer for the Colorado Eagles and is also currently serving on staff at Orthopedic and Spine Center of the Rockies. He has previously worked in the world of athletics as the Head Athletic Trainer at Cheyenne South High School from 2016 to 2018.
Steven Petrovek - Team Business Services & Video Coordinator
Steven Petrovek recently finished his third season as the video coordinator for the Colorado Avalanche's American Hockey League affiliate after spending one year in the same position with the Lake Erie Monsters.
Petrovek joined the Colorado Avalanche's American Hockey League affiliate in July 2014 after three seasons (2011-2014) as a volunteer assistant coach for the University of Denver men's hockey team. Some of his responsibilities with the Pioneers included assisting with in-game video analysis, helping the coaching staff with post-game video breakdown, compiling game stats and overseeing the hockey operating system iOS Thunder Hockey HD.
The Yarmouth, Maine, native graduated from DU in 2014 with a bachelor's degree in American government and politics.