The Manchester Monarchs were born on June 14, 2000, when the Los Angeles Kings bought the American Hockey League franchise from the Manchester Hockey Group LLC, an organization who was in the process of moving a dormant franchise to the Queen City led by Howard Baldwin. Within three months of the purchase, the Kings hired Jeff Eisenberg as the first employee. Eisenberg held a similar role with the AHL’s Portland Pirates prior to joining the Monarchs and established a small staff in an office on Elm Street within two months. The purchase of the team and the set up of the offices set into motion a timeline of events that formed the Monarchs into the organization they are today.
The Monarchs lion head logo was unveiled on November 13, 2000, followed by the creation of the charitable arm of the Monarchs, the Monarchs Care Foundation on April 12, 2001. It was on May 16, 2001 that the Monarchs named Bruce Boudreau as the first Head Coach in franchise history. The fun-loving lion that makes fans laugh and wears his heart on his sleeve, Max, was introduced to the New Hampshire community on July 20, 2001, and has become a staple both at the Verizon Wireless Arena and around the state.
The month of September in 2001 was quite busy for the Monarchs as the first player in franchise history was signed on September 6; the team’s first captain Dane Jackson signed on the dotted line. September 19 was the day Assistant Coach Bobby Jay was hired followed by the opening of training camp at Tri-Town Ice Arena in Hooksett three days later. The Monarchs inaugural squad first hit the ice in competition against the Lowell Lock Monsters in a preseason game at JFK Coliseum in Manchester on September 29, 2001. With the Verizon Wireless Arena still under construction, the Monarchs played their first 13 games of the 2001-02 season on the road. The franchise record began with a 6-3 loss to Lowell at the Tsongas Arena on October 5, 2001 and ended the extended road trip with a record of 3-8-2 before returning home for their first game in front of the hometown crowd.
On November 16, 2001, the Monarchs took the ice in Manchester for the first time and earned the first home victory in franchise history with a 3-1 win over the Lowell Lock Monsters. Defenseman Joe Corvo scored the first goal on home ice in franchise history, goaltender Travis Scott collected the first win in Manchester with 27 saves and Bruce Boudreau earned the victory behind the bench. Since that first puck drop, the Monarchs have seen countless players skate on the Verizon Wireless Arena ice honing their craft for the Los Angeles Kings and the National Hockey League. The club has also had three coaches in team history as Mark Morris, Jim Hughes and Boudreau have led the team from the bench.
Over the last 13 seasons, the Monarchs have advanced to the Calder Cup playoffs all but one season, making their longest playoff runs in 2007 and 2010 as they advanced to the Eastern Conference final against the Hershey Bears both seasons. An average of over 7,000 fans have cheered on the Monarchs each season. Manchester ranked first in attendance in not only the American Hockey League but also led the more than 90 other North American minor pro hockey teams in existence for the 2003-04 and 2005-06 seasons.
During the 2004-05 NHL lockout, the Monarchs put Manchester, New Hampshire on the hockey map by hosting the 2005 Dodge AHL All-Star Classic at the Verizon Wireless Arena on February 13-14, 2005. The two-day, sold out All-Star Skills Competition and All-Star Game aired nationally on ESPN and featured future NHLstars like Dustin Brown, Michael Cammalleri, Patrice Bergeron, Ryan Miller, Jason Spezza and Zach Parise.
The Monarchs won their first Calder Cup in 2015, beating the Utica Comets in the Calder Cup Finals.
The 2012 Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings saw 14 former Monarchs hoist the Stanley Cup. Jonathan Bernier, Dustin Brown, Kyle Clifford, Davis Drewiske, Dwight King, Trevor Lewis, Andrei Loktionov, Alec Martinez, Jordan Nolan, Scott Parse, Jonathan Quick, Brad Richardson, Slava Voynov, and Kevin Westgarth all spent times in a Monarchs uniform before becoming Stanley Cup Champions with the Kings. The 2014 Stanley Cup Champion Kings had 13 former Monarchs hoist the Stanley Cup. Those 13 players are Brown, Clifford, Martin Jones, King, Lewis, Martinez, Jake Muzzin, Nolan, Tanner Pearson, Quick, Jeff Schultz, Tyler Toffoli, and Voynov.
The Monarchs Care Foundation, the charitable arm of the Monarchs, has distributed over $2,000,000 in cash, merchandise and tickets back to the community. Several area organizations that have benefited from these donations include the Ace Bailey Children’s Fund, Big Brother Big Sisters Manchester, Boys & Girls Club of Manchester, Catholic Medical Center, Child Health Services, Heritage United Way, New Hampshire Legends of Hockey, Special Olympics of New Hampshire and Toys for Tots.