Syracuse Crunch coaches, players report to practice ahead of 2017-18 season

Syracuse Crunch head coach Ben Groulx returns for a second season after leading the team to the 2017 Calder Cup Finals.

The recent stretch of warm weather may not indicate the changing of seasons, but when the Syracuse Crunch take the ice, you certainly know it's coming.

The hometown hockey team reported to practice on Tuesday, as coaches and players met on the ice inside the War Memorial, also opening the doors for fans to watch.

Several key players return from last year's Calder Cup Finals squad, including key contributors such as Adam Erne, Matthew Peca and Tye McGinn, among others.

The team practiced for roughly an hour, taking part in drills while also meeting as a team to take in instructions several times.

The Crunch fell in Game 6 of the 2017 Calder Cup Finals at the hands of the Grand Rapids Griffins -- a loss that coaches and players admitted has fueled them throughout the entire offseason.

In a last-minute addition, the Crunch signed Jason Akeson on Tuesday morning, an AHL veteran with 328 points in 395 career games played.

At the goalie position, the Crunch brought in Connor Ingram and Michael Leighton. Last year's fan favorite Mike McKenna signed with the Dallas Stars organization in the off-season, while Kristers Gudlevskis landed with the New York Islanders organization.

Syracuse will open its preseason slate on Saturday, when it takes on the Utica Comets from the Kennedy Arena in Rome. The Crunch and Comets will meet again on Sunday from the War Memorial. Both games are set to begin at 5 p.m.

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