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The Crunch Captain is back: Mike Angelidis returns to the Tampa Bay Lightning organization as a scout

Angelidis was captain of the Syracuse Crunch for four seasons, from 2012-2016.

Scott Thomas Photography

Syracuse Crunch fans everywhere were excited to see today’s news that two years later (almost to the day) that Mike Angelidis departed the organization, he is back.

Angelidis has been hired by the Tampa Bay Lightning as a pro scout. He retired from hockey this past week after spending the season with Bolzano HC of the Austrian Hockey League, where he added another championship to his resume. According to Syracuse.com, Angelidis attended the Lightning’s pro scouting meeting this past month, and decided that he liked what he saw enough to make the transition.

Over the span of his 12-year career, Angelidis totaled 565 regular season games in the AHL. Out of that impressive total, he pulled on a Crunch sweater for 263 of them, which is a high number for any player in a league where roster change is the constant. He was Syracuse’s captain for every single one of those games. He also played in 21 playoff games with the Crunch, most notably leading his team to the 2013 Calder Cup Final where the organization got the chance to fight for a championship for the first time in its history. He played his games in Syracuse with an amount of tenacity, heart, and dedication that made fans remember him.

However, Angelidis made his mark on Syracuse in many different ways. It wasn’t just his time on the ice that cemented him in the heart of Crunch fans. He was truly part of the Syracuse community. He earned a position as a playing captain at the 2016 AHL All-Star game, an event that was held in Syracuse and had a definite Syracuse flavor about it. During his time with the team, he spearheaded the Crunch’s Change for Change fundraising initiative, one that is still going strong today. He was named the Crunch’s IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year in 2016 for his outstanding efforts in the Syracuse community.

When Angelidis left the organization in 2016, many felt a deep sense of loss. AHL fans are very lucky indeed to have the same player pull on a sweater with the “C” on it for four seasons in a row. It isn’t often that fans get that level of consistency in leadership and organizational impact, and Angelidis was amazing at what he did. It certainly seemed as though Angelidis felt the same way about the city as the city felt about him. In an interview with Syracuse.com before leaving, Angelidis summed up exactly how hard it was going to be to say goodbye:

I’m definitely going to be sad leaving Syracuse. I loved that city, a lot of great memories. I definitely felt like I was loved by them, and I’m going to miss the city....I cared. I cared about the city. I played with passion. I’d like the fans to know when I put the gear on, I gave everything I had. I wore my heart on my sleeve. I competed.

That goodbye was hard, but now he has returned to the city and the fans.

Angelidis’ history with the Lightning goes beyond his time with the Crunch. He first signed on with the organization in 2011, and although he was originally assigned to AHL Norfolk, he made his NHL debut on January 24th, 2012. He scored his first NHL goal that night on his second shift, an emotional moment for a player who was in his 6th professional year.

Angelidis played in 14 total NHL games, all with the Bolts. He was captain of the Norfolk Admirals in 2012 when they won the Calder Cup championship, the first minor league championship in the organization’s history.

Lightning assistant general manager and Crunch GM Julien BriseBois knows how much value to place on Angelidis’ experience within the organization:

All of us with the Lightning have always valued Mike’s opinion on players and hockey matters. It was very natural for us to think of hiring him as a scout when an opening came up on our staff.

It is extremely exciting for many to see Angelidis returning to the organization!