Changes were expected when the Bandits had a losing season and were eliminated in the playoffs. That's doesn't mean all change is good.
With Mike Thompson retiring, who is going to make all of the Bandits laugh?
Thompson was one of the most upbeat, good-natured athletes in pro sports during his career. He'd always greet people with a smile, no matter how things were going for him personally. On a personal note, when I took over for Tom Borrelli on the Bandits' beat, he immediately made me feel welcome around the team.
Thompson had been said to be considering retirement during the current offseason. On Thursday he made it official. Thompson suffered a knee injury late last season. He no doubt saw the toll the sport takes on goalies, including watching Ken Montour leave with concussion-related issues, and wanted to get out while he coul in one piece.
Thompson joined the Bandits in 2007, and will always be remembered here as the winning goalie in the 2008 championship game. He finishes with 31 career wins, second on the team's all-time list.
Thompson wasn't the only Bandit to announce his retirement on Thursday. Darryl Gibson called it a career after 12 years in the league. He joined the team in 2010.
That's two more roster spots that will be filled by new faces come January. Thompson's departure obviously means Anthony Cosmo is the unquestioned number one goalie, and probably gives us a little clue as to why the Bandits were willing to give up top draft choices for Cosmo last season. One of the upcoming questions for Buffalo now is whether the team is satisfied with Angus Goodleaf as a backup goalie, or if someone else will be brought in to training camp to supply some competition.
--- Budd Bailey