After over a quarter-century in the front office of Springfield hockey, Bruce Landon, the Springfield Falcons president, part-owner, and general manager, has decided to step away from the game.
In a press conference this afternoon, the 64-year-old London, Ont. native spoke to the media, fans, and friends who had assembled to hear what the Falcons were calling a major announcement. Landon, who won a Calder Cup as a member of the Springfield Kings during the 1970-71 season, has been a steadfast figure in the hockey landscape of Springfield. After suffering a career-ending injury as a member of the Springfield Indians in 1977-78, Landon, then 28, was brought on to work the Kings broadcasts and work in an executive role with the team.
Landon would be honoured as the league’s top executive in 1981, and would go on to become the franchise’s general manager the following year, a role he held until today.
When the Indians, in 1994, were sold to a new ownership group that had intentions to move the team out of Springfield (they became the Worcester Ice Cats), Landon rallied together an investment group that secured ownership of an expansion team. That team, now known the Falcons, will celebrate their 20-year anniversary next season.
At the conference, Landon said he will remain on with the team as the director of hockey operations, but won’t maintain any other roles with the team, instead working with them during the transition period. Katharine McCarthy, who was on hand at the event, tweeted that Landon cited “hitting a brick wall a couple months ago and not being able to give what he felt was his all.”
According to McCarthy, management from Springfield will conduct a search for a new president, but filling the position is not of paramount concern.
“(Owner) Charlie Pompea accepted the challenges of making this franchise successful. I feel comfortable in the direction this franchise is going to go,” Landon said in a true torch-passing moment.
Pompea has owned the team since late 2010. But the face of the franchise has always been Landon.
Landon said he will devote more time to his family. He cited at least one Christmas morning that he spent working when he could have been home.
His successor, at least on an interim basis, said filling Landon’s shoes will be a challenge.
“There is a lot to do, but the goal is still for us to keep moving forward,” said Sarah Pompea, whose role to this point has been highlighted by her supervision of the Falcons’ growing charitable foundation.
Charlie Pompea reiterated the team’s commitment to a city that has hosted AHL hockey for most of the last 78 years.
“The Springfield Falcons will be there for you, just as Springfield has been there for us,” Pompea said.
(Cover image courtesy BusinessWest.com)