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      Crunchman returns as the Syracuse Crunch go back to the future

      As excited as the Syracuse Crunch are about their new affiliation with the Tampa Bay Lightning, and about the NHL caliber upgrading of their workout facilities here in Syracuse, Monday was all about the return of "Crunchman". The one time Crunch mascot has had a make-over, and is ready to roll again, a huge part of the brand new Crunch logo and brand released at the War Memorial on Monday morning.

      "Crunchman has been an iconic figure for us," explained an excited Crunch owner Howard Dolgon, "we let him go 12 years ago and everyone wanted him back. We thought the timing was right, it's a great change with Tampa, and the most popular figure in out history now is back and we're thrilled."

      " C runchman" was originally unveiled at the team's inception as Vancouver's affiliate back in in 1994, before "Al the Ice Gorilla" became the Crunch Mascot when the team switched affiliates to Columbus in 2000. The Crunch are now hoping the return to their roots will help springboard the best era in Crunch history. Syracuse is inheriting a team that won the Calder Cup in Norfolk this past season, and Dolgon says the only way to go is up.

      "It's a very deep talent base, and they're committed, and they say it. It's not only about development, it's not about filling a roster, it's about creating a winning environment so when the players go to Tampa they're ready to be winners as well."

      The Crunch home opener is on October 13th at the War Memorial Arena.