News has broke Wednesday night that the Syracuse Crunch has its new assistant coach. Surprisingly, it's someone fans in Syracuse already know pretty well.
Make that really, really well.
Most of us know Cull from when he worked with the Crunch as an assistant coach. He started that job with the team during the '06-07 season, working under former head coach Ross Yates. Although the Crunch missed the playoffs that season by five points, the team still managed to put together a fairly memorable run at the end of the year, a run that was led by newcomers Curtis Glencross and Zenon Konopka. The team ended the season with a 34-34-4-8 record.
The next season was much more memorable for Cull and the Crunch. Syracuse put on a show at the end of the '07-08 regular season, winning 15 games in a row and catapulting themselves in the Calder Cup playoffs for what would turn out to be the final time under Columbus. Cull's defense, led by alternate captain Dan Smith, was definitely one of the highlights of that season.
The '08-09 season was mostly a disappointing one for the Crunch, but again, Cull's defense led the way as the team fought their hardest for a playoff spot. Smith was captain that year, and Cull and Smitty worked tirelessly to help along young blue liners Nick Holden, Grant Clitsome and Andrey Plekhanov. The Crunch would, frustratingly, fall two points short of the playoffs that year.
Cull's final season as assistant coach with the Crunch came in '09-10, which was marked by one big event: the Mirabito Outdoor Classic, the first-ever AHL outdoor game in league history. Trent bundled up with Yates and assistant coach Karl Goehring to bring his boys outside and give the record-setting 21,508 people a show to remember.
Despite the excitement of the outdoor game, the Crunch was playoff-less that year, but I'm putting things mildly when I say that lame-duck Columbus did Syracuse very few favors that season. The lack of post-season hockey was not Cull's fault, believe me.
Cull has spent the last three seasons as the head coach of the OHL's Sudbury Wolves. The Wolves made the playoffs each season and amassed a regular season record of 94-88-11-11 during that span. Prior to his work as a coach, Cull played 614 games as a defenseman in the AHL and IHL totaling 107 points (28g, 79a) and 1,615 penalty minutes. The blueliner finished his playing career as a member of the Syracuse Crunch.
What always stood out about Cull as a player and coach was no one was ever more hands on making himself or others better. A real teacher.
Always enjoyed chatting with Cull while he was a player/assistant under Ross Yates. He loves CNY and I bet he is thrilled to be back.
I am just floored by all of the activity today, and how amazingly this all worked out. From the players re-signed to Tampa bringing in Mormina, and now this. Wow. Free agency hasn't even started yet, and Tampa has really gone to bat for us down here.