After over 30 years, Bruce Landon steps away from Springfield Falcons

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.

From MassLive.com:

“(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)

AHL Today: St. John’s goes for seven, Albany and Springfield battle for Northeast Division

AHL Today is a roundup of the night that was, the day ahead, and anything you may have missed. Your quick look at what’s going on around the league.

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To Watch:

  • PROVIDENCE at ST. JOHN’S: The IceCaps host the Baby B’s in an attempt to win their seventh straight. The Bruins and ‘Caps, only separated by three points in the standings, are fighting for positioning in the Eastern Conference. Michael Hutchinson, formerly of the Bruins, hasn’t relinquished the goaltending duties since this run began, and posted a .932 SV% through January. Brenden Kichton is coming off Rookie of the Month honours, and looks to carry the hot hand into the game. Niklas Svedberg has started the last three games for Providence, but Malcolm Subban could see a spot start.
  • ALBANY at SPRINGFIELD: In a divisional battle, the Devils roll into Springfield to take on the Falcons. Albany walked away with a shutout win the last time the two met, but aside from the win/loss columns, the two teams are almost eerily evenly matched. Goals for? Springfield 136, Albany 139. Goals against? Springfield 119, Albany 120. Springfield comes in losing four of its last five in regulation, so Albany can gain some ground in the division if they take advantage of the sliding Falcons.

Last Night:

  • No games on the schedule.

Moves:

Abbotsford Heat
Joni Ortio (G) To: Calgary Flames
Ben Street (F) From: Calgary Flames
Thomas Heemskerk (G) From: Quad City Mallards
Chicago Wolves
Dmitrij Jaskin (F) To: St. Louis Blues
Hamilton Bulldogs
Christian Thomas (F) To: Montréal Canadiens
Norfolk Admirals
Chad Painchaud (F) From: South Carolina Stingrays
Sami Vatanen (D) From: Anaheim Ducks
Toronto Marlies
Gregg McKegg (F) From: Toronto Maple Leafs
Jerred Smithson (F) To: Toronto Maple Leafs
Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins
Nick D’Agostino (D) From: Wheeling Nailers
Harrison Ruopp (D) From: Wheeling Nailers
Worcester Sharks
J.P. Anderson (G) To: San Francisco Bulls

News & Notes:

  • AHL linesman Chris Woodworth is taking his craft global: working the lines in Sochi. [Democrat & Chronicle]
  • The Texas Stars posted an amazing time-lapse clip of the changeover in Cedar Park as they go from basketball court to ice surface. [Texas Stars]
  • An interesting opinion piece by Clare Austin at Puckology supporting Riku Helenius and positing that the situation may have been the result of some mismanagement. [Puckology]