Showing posts with label ahl. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ahl. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

3 Jack Adams Award Winners That Coached In The 1981-82 AHL

The American Hockey League in 1981-82 consisted of just eleven teams, five in the Northern Division and six in the Southern Division. Three head coaches from that AHL season went on to be Coach of the Year in the National Hockey League and were honoured with the Jack Adams Award.

Jacques Demers – Fredericton Express

jacques demers o-pee-chee hockey card
In his first two years as head coach in Fredericton, his only two in the AHL, Demers had a less than stellar season. The Express finished last overall and fifth in the Northern Division with a dismal record of 20 wins, 55 losses and five ties for 45 points over the 80 game schedule.

Just five years later, Jacques made history as head coach of the Detroit Red Wings. He won the Jack Adams Award in consecutive seasons, 1986-87 and 1987-88. He is one of just five to win the award more than once and the only man in history to win the Jack Adams in consecutive seasons.

In both years, the Red Wings reached the third round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. In 1985-86, the year before Demers arrives, Detroit was pathetic. The Red Wings finished last overall in the NHL that season with just 17 wins and six ties for 40 points while losing 57 of 80 games.

In 1986-87, the Red Wings placed second in the Norris Division and reached the Stanley Cup semi-finals before bowing to the mighty Edmonton Oilers in five games. The following year, Detroit improved to first in the Norris but once again fell to the Oilers in the semi-finals.

Mike Keenan – Rochester Americans

mike keenan khl all-star hockey card
In Iron Mike’s second of three years coaching the Americans, Rochester finished second in the Southern Division and fourth overall in the AHL. The team fell to the Binghamton Whalers in the Calder Cup semi-finals, losing four games to one.

Just three years later, in 1984-85, Keenan was coaching in his first NHL season. He led the Philadelphia Flyers to a first place finish in the Patrick Division and a first place overall finish in the NHL. The team won 53 games and totalled 113 points. It was plenty enough to earn him the Jack Adams Award. It was his first of four years with the club.

The Flyers swept the Rangers in three games in the first round of the playoffs. They then beat the New York Islanders in five and the Quebec Nordiques in six to earn a berth in the Stanley Cup finals. Like Demers, it was the Edmonton Oilers that got in the way of Keenan and the Flyers. Wayne Gretzky and the Oilers beat Philadelphia in the finals, four games to one, to capture the Stanley Cup.

Orval Tessier – New Brunswick Hawks

orval tessier boston bruins
Tessier made his only year in the AHL count. The Hawks finished first overall during the regular season. New Brunswick then plowed through the competition to capture the Calder Cup championship. In the final series, Orval’s boys took out the Binghamton Whalers in five games.

The following season, Orval Tessier was behind the bench of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks. The 1982-83 Blackhawks finished first in the Norris Division with 47 wins and 104 points, good for fourth overall in the NHL.

In the first round of the playoffs, Chicago beat the St. Louis Blues three games to one. In the following round, it was another quick series as the Blackhawks downed the Minnesota North Stars in five. Like Keenan and Demers, the road block for Tessier was the Edmonton Oilers. The teams met in the semi-finals with the Oilers sweeping the series.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Les Cunningham Award Winners From The Cleveland Barons

johnny bower les cunningham award ahl
The Cleveland Barons existed in the American Hockey League from 1936-37 to 1973-74. The Les Cunningham Award was established for the 1947-48 AHL season to honour the league’s most valuable player. In the lifetime of the Cleveland, Ohio franchise, four different players from the Barons won the Les Cunningham Award.

Les Douglas

Les Douglas won the Cunningham Award in 1949-50. With 32 goals and 68 assists for 100 points in 67 games, Douglas was also the recipient of the John B. Sollenberger Trophy as the player in the AHL with the highest point total during the regular season.

Douglas played in the American Hockey League from 1939-40 to 1950-51 with the Indianapolis Capitals, Buffalo Bisons and Cleveland. Between 1940-41 and 1946-47, Les played sporadically with the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League, appearing in a total of 52 games.

Eddie Olson

Eddie Olson was the next Cleveland player to be honoured with the Les Cunningham Award. Olson took the prize in 1952-53 and, like Les Douglas, also won the Sollenberger Trophy. In 61 games, he scored 32 and added 54 assists for 86 points to lead the league. The Barons were Calder Cup champions that season.

Olson played in the AHL from 1946-47 to 1954-55 with the St. Louis Flyers and the Barons. Eddie never appeared in a National Hockey League game.

Johnny Bower

Johnny Bower is one of just two players to win the Les Cunningham Award three times. Just one of the three came as a member of the Cleveland Barons with the other two being awarded while he was with the Reds in Providence, Rhode Island. Bower won the Cunningham with Cleveland in 1957-58. He played in 64 of the team’s 68 regular season games, posting two shutouts and a 2.19 goals against average.

Bower had played his last game in the AHL with the Barons at the end of that season. The following year, he became a regular goaltender with the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, a job he would retain until retiring from the game during the 1969-70 season. Johnny was a charter member of the AHL Hall of Fame and is also enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Fred Glover

Besides Bower, Fred Glover is the only other player to win the Les Cunningham Award three times. All of Glover’s victories came while playing for the Cleveland Barons. Fred won the award in 1959-60, 1961-62 and 1963-64. In 1959-60, Glover also won the second of his two John B. Sollenberger Trophies.

Fred played 1,201 regular season AHL games between 1948-49 and 1967-68 while only playing with the Indianapolis Capitals and the Barons. His career totals include 520 goals, 1,334 points and 2,402 minutes in penalties. Glover also appeared in 92 NHL games between 1949-50 and 1952-53 with the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Black Hawks. Like Bower, Fred is a charter member of the AHL Hall of Fame.

Monday, April 6, 2015

The AHL's History in Syracuse, New York

syracuse crunch american hockey league
The Syracuse Crunch have been a steady member of the American Hockey League for nearly two decades. However, they weren’t the first to represent the New York city in the AHL. Syracuse and the AHL have a checkered past.

Syracuse Stars

The Stars brought hockey to Syracuse for the 1930-31 IHL season. This was the original IHL, a league that would evolve into the AHL over the following decade. The Stars franchise moved to Syracuse from Hamilton, Ontario, where they were known as the Hamilton Tigers. After the 1939-40 season, the franchise was moved back out of Syracuse to become the second coming of the Buffalo Bisons.

The Syracuse Stars were the first team to win the Calder Cup. In 1936-37, the inaugural year of the Calder, the Stars met the Philadelphia Ramblers in the finals and came out victorious three games to one. During the regular season, Syracuse finished first in the West Division and second overall in the eight team league. The team was led in scoring by Jack Markle and placed five players among the top ten for points.

Syracuse Warriors

The American Hockey League returned to Syracuse for the 1951-52 season. The city acted as a temporary home for the Springfield Indians for three seasons from 1951-52 to 1953-54. During that time, the team was named the Syracuse Warriors. The Warriors played just one playoff series, losing to the Cleveland Barons in the opening round of the 1952-53 Calder Cup playoffs.

Syracuse Eagles

During the 1973-74 AHL season, the Cleveland Barons, one of the league’s oldest franchises, relocated to Jacksonville midway through the year. The following year, the Jacksonville Barons became the Syracuse Eagles. 1974-75 was the only season for the Eagles, folding at the end of the year. With exception of the Baltimore Clippers, a team that folded after playing just 46 games, the Eagles had the worst record in the ten team league.

Unfortunately for the Eagles, the Syracuse Blazers of the North American Hockey League were enjoying great success. Even though the NAHL was a lower quality league, the city wasn’t big enough to support two pro hockey teams and the fans rallied behind the team that was winning.

Syracuse Firebirds

The Blazers died along with the NAHL after the 1976-77 season. Ironically, the AHL was revived in Syracuse for the 1979-80 season when a former NAHL team relocated to town. The Philadelphia Firebirds came into existence for 1974-75, the second of four years that the NAHL existed. They won the Lockhart Cup as NAHL post season champions in 1975-76. The franchise switched to the AHL after the 1976-77 season.

Moving to Syracuse was a last ditch effort for the franchise. After just one year, the Firebirds folded. The team did reach the post season but lost in the opening round to the Hershey Bears.

Syracuse Crunch

The city would go without AHL hockey for close to fifteen years before the Crunch came to town. Ironically, just like the Syracuse Stars, the Crunch are a relocated franchise from Hamilton, Ontario. It all started out as the Hamilton Canucks in 1992-93. Their time in Canada was short lived and the Crunch were born. The Crunch are an affiliate of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning. They have yet to capture their first Calder Cup championship.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

6 Hershey Bears To Win The Les Cunningham Award

red sullivan chicago blackhawks topps hockey card
In the American Hockey League, the Les Cunningham Award has been given each year to the league’s most valuable player since the 1947-48 season. The Hershey Bears, the league’s oldest franchise, have had six players win the Cunningham Award.

Red Sullivan 1953-54

George ‘Red’ Sullivan won the Cunningham Award in 1953-54. Sullivan played 69 games for the Bears, scoring 30 goals and adding 89 assists for 119 points. He was also awarded the John B. Sollenberger Trophy as the AHL’s leading point getter. The 89 assists George contributed remain today as the Hershey Bears single season record.

Sullivan played with the Bears from 1949-50 to 1953-54, as a prospect of the National Hockey League’s Boston Bruins. George came to the Bruins system after playing junior with the OHA’s St. Catherines Teepees. He played sparingly in the NHL during that time but didn’t become a regular until the 1954-55 season, after being traded by the Bruins to the Chicago Blackhawks. In all, Red played 556 NHL regular season games between 1949-50 and 1960-61 with Boston, Chicago and the New York Rangers.

Mike Nykoluk – 1966-67

Mike Nykoluk became the next player from Hershey to win the Les Cunningham Award in 1966-67. In 72 games that season, Nukoluk scored 16 goals and assisted on 68 for a total of 84 points. Mike played with Hershey from 1958-59 to 1971-72. In all, he played 1,069 games in the AHL, totalling 881 points and was inducted to the AHL Hall of Fame in 2007. Mike appeared in 32 NHL games with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1956-57.

Tim Tookey 1986-87

Another AHL Hall of Fame member was awarded the Cunningham in 1986-87. Tim Tookey scored 51 goals and added 73 assists for 124 points in 80 games for the Bears that season. The 124 points remains as a team record and was the highest total in the AHL, earning him the Sollenberger Trophy. Tookey was inducted into the AHL Hall of Fame in 2008.

Tim Tookey was a fifth round pick of the Washington Capitals in 1979 after playing junior with the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL. He played in 106 NHL games with Washington, the Quebec Nordiques, Philadelphia Flyers and Los Angeles Kings. He played in 824 AHL games between 1980-81 and 1994-95, contributing 974 points.

Jean-Francois Labbe 1996-97

In 1996-97, Jean-Francois Labbe became the only Hershey goalie to be named AHL MVP. Labbe played in 66 games, posting a 2.52 goals against average and .914 save percentage. Jean-Francois led the Bears to a Calder Cup victory that season, as he would do with the Hartford Wolf Pack three years later. Over his career, Labbe appeared in 15 NHL games with the New York Rangers and Columbus Blue Jackets.

Alexandre Giroux 2008-09

Alexandre Giroux set the Hershey Bears single season record for most goals with 60 in 2008-09, while playing in just 69 games. His performance earned him the Cunningham Award. Giroux was a seventh round pick of the Ottawa Senators at the 1999 NHL Entry Draft. He has appeared in 48 NHL games at the time this article was written, with the New York Rangers, Washington Capitals, Edmonton Oilers and Columbus Blue Jackets. Alexandre has recently been playing in Switzerland’s National League A with Ambri-Piotta.

Keith Aucoin 2009-10

In 2009-10, Keith Aucoin scored 35 goals and added 71 assists for 106 points in 72 games and was awarded the Cunningham Award. To date, he has appeared in 769 AHL games, totalling 857 points. He has also played 145 games in the NHL with the Carolina Hurricanes, Washington Capitals, New York Islanders and St. Louis Blues. For 2014-15, Keith has joined Alexandre Giroux with Ambri-Piotta in Switzerland.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Bob Hartley: 4 Leagues, 4 Championships

bob hartley
2014-15 is Bob Hartley's third season as head coach of the Calgary Flames in the National Hockey League. While behind the Calgary bench, the Flames have yet to qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs. However, if anyone is going to turn this NHL franchise around, it’s Hartley. Since 1992-93, in four different leagues, Bob has led four different teams to playoff championships.

1992-93 Laval Titan – QMJHL

In his second of two years coaching Laval, Hartley led the team to a second overall placing with 43 wins and 88 points over the 70 game regular season schedule. The Titan led the QMJHL with 367 goals scored.

In the playoffs, Laval lost just one game. In the opening round, they swept Verdun College-Francais. In the semi-finals, they swept the Drummondville Voltigeurs. In the finals against the Sherbrooke Faucons, Laval let one get away but won the series in five games to capture the President’s Cup.

The 1993 Memorial Cup tournament was held in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. The Titan went 1-2 in the round robin. Laval beat the Swift Current Broncos 4-3 in the tie-breaker game before losing 3-1 to the Peterborough Petes in the semi-final matchup.

1996-97 Hershey Bears – AHL

In his first year coaching Hershey, Bob Hartley led the team to a second place finish in the Mid-Atlantic Division and second place overall in the American Hockey League. The Bears won 43 games and totalled 101 points over 80 games. Hershey had the least goals against in the AHL with 220.

In the opening round of the playoffs, the Bears ousted the Kentucky Thoroughblades, three games to one. The next two best of seven series both went the distance with Hershey beating the Philadelphia Phantoms 4-3 followed by a 4-3 victory over the Springfield Falcons to earn a place in the finals. The Bears met the Hamilton Bulldogs and dispatched their opponents in five games to capture the Calder Cup championship.

2000-01 Colorado Avalanche – NHL

In his third of five years as head coach of the Avalanche, it was now or never for Hartley to win a Stanley Cup championship. Colorado was led by Joe Sakic, Ray Bourque and Patrick Roy, all now in the Hockey Hall of Fame and, at the time, nearing the end of their playing careers. 

The Avalanche finished first overall in the NHL with 52 wins and 118 points in 82 games. Joe Sakic scored 54 goals and finished second to Pavel Bure’s 59 goals with the Florida Panthers. Sakic’s 118 points placed him second in the race for the Art Ross Trophy, behind Jaromir Jagr of the Pittsburgh Penguins with 121 points.

In the opening round, Colorado swept the Vancouver Canucks in four games. In the Western Conference semi-finals, the Los Angeles Kings took Colorado to the seven game limit before allowing them to advance. In the Conference finals, the Avalanche eliminated the St. Louis Blues in five games. In the finals, Colorado met the New Jersey Devils and won their second Stanley Cup championship, winning four games to three.

2011-12 ZSC Lions – NLA

Bob coached in Switzerland for the 2011-12 season with the ZSC (Zurich) Lions of the elite National League A. The team finished the regular season in seventh place in the twelve team league with just eight playoff spots up for grabs. In a post season of upsets in Switzerland, the Lions defeated the fifth place SC Bern in the finals. It was Hartley’s only year coaching in Europe.


Friday, September 5, 2014

Springfield Indians 1959 to 1962: Best All-Time AHL Team?

eddie shore springfield indians
The Springfield Indians of the early part of the 1960’s were perhaps the best American Hockey League ever assembled. The Indians won the Calder Cup in three consecutive years from 1959-60 to 1961-62, the only AHL team to ever accomplish this feat. Five players from those teams are now enshrined in the AHL Hall of Fame and two are in the Hockey Hall of Fame. In addition, owner of the Indians, Eddie Shore, is in both.

Check out this unique hockey trivia revolving around that 3-peat Springfield Indians team:

The top 5 all-time Springfield Indians point producers played in at least two of those three years. Jim Anderson, Bill Sweeney, Brian Kilrea and Floyd Smith played on all three, while Harry Pidhirny played in 1959-60 and 1960-61.

Five that played for the Indians during those three years are now members of the AHL Hall of Fame. Bill Sweeney, Jim Anderson, Noel Price and Marcel Paille played all three years while Harry Pidhirny played two of the three. The AHL Hall of Fame was inaugurated in 2006. Team owner Eddie Shore has also been inducted.

Two players are now members of the Hockey Hall of Fame. Lorne ‘Gump’ Worsley played just 15 games with the Indians in 1959-60. Gump was inducted into the Hall in 1980. Brian Kilrea was inducted in 2003 in the builder’s category for his work with Ottawa 67’s of the Ontario Hockey League. In addition, Eddie Shore was long a member of the Hall of Fame before Springfield’s glory days, inducted in 1947 for his NHL accomplishments with the Boston Bruins.

Surprisingly, the Indians didn’t dominate the AHL’s individual awards during the three year stretch. In 1959-60, they were shut out of the awards ceremony. Bill Sweeney and Floyd Smith finished 2-3 in AHL scoring but it was Fred Glover of the Cleveland Barons that took the John B. Sollenberger Trophy.

In 1960-61, Bill Sweeney took the scoring title as Springfield placed five players in top ten. Bob McCord won the Eddie Shore Award as the league’s top defenseman and Marcel Paille won the Harry ‘Hap’ Holmes Award for the goalie with the lowest goals against average. 1961-62 was a bit of a repeat, except it was Kent Douglas winning the Eddie Shore, not McCord.

Interestingly, over the three year span, not one of the highly talented Springfield Indians won the Les Cunningham Award as AHL MVP. Fred Glover won twice and Phil Maloney of the Buffalo Bisons won in the middle year. In fact, over the life of the franchise, just one player was honoured as MVP. Ross Lowe will forever be in the Springfield hockey trivia books as the lone man, winning in 1954-55.

At the time, Springfield was the minor league affiliate of the NHL’s New York Rangers. The Rangers were not enjoying as much success, to say the least. 1961-62 was the only year New York made the Stanley Cup playoffs between 1958-59 and 1965-66. They were quickly ousted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round. It is said by many that the team in Springfield would have done better in the NHL than the Rangers.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

1968-69 AHL Scoring Leaders

guy trottier ottawa nationals 1972-73 o-pee-chee
The American Hockey League in 1968-69 consisted of eight teams, a far cry from the 30 clubs today. The Hershey Bears won the Calder Cup with a 4-1 final series win over the Quebec Aces. There was just one player in 1968-69 to reach the 100 point plateau and the league lacked a 50 goal scorer.

Jeannot Gilbert – Hershey Bears

Jeannot Gilbert of the Hershey Bears led the league, and earned the John B. Sollenberger Trophy, with 100 points on 35 goals and 65 assists over 71 games. 1968-69 was Gilbert’s fourth of eight years in Hershey. He played nine games in the NHL over his career, five with the Boston Bruins in 1962-63 and four with the Bruins in 1964-65. Gilbert ended his pro career with two years in the World Hockey Association, 1973-74 and 1974-75, with the Quebec Nordiques.

Michel Harvey – Hershey Bears

Another member of the Hershey Bears finished second with 93 points. Michel Harvey scored 41 goals and assisted on 52 while playing the full 74 game schedule. A veteran of the AHL, playing eleven years in the league, Harvey got his chance at major league hockey in 1972-73 with the Quebec Nordiques of the WHA. 1973-74 proved to be his last year in professional hockey, playing 26 games for the Maine Nordiques in the North American Hockey League.

Guy Trottier – Buffalo Bisons

Guy Trottier of the Buffalo Bisons led the league in goals with 45 and finished third in points with 82. Trottier also played two games for the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League in 1968-69. The following season, Guy led the AHL in goals again, this time with 55.

Ron Ward – Rochester Americans

Ron Ward of the Rochester Americans finished fourth with 78 points on 35 goals and 43 points over 73 games. Ward played 18 games in the NHL the following season with the Toronto Maple Leafs. In 1971-72, with the Vancouver Canucks, Ron played 71 games in what would be his last appearance in the NHL.

Ward played 359 games in the World Hockey Association between 1972-73 and 1976-77, contributing 380 points. In Ward’s first year in the WHA, he finished second in points with 118 as a member of the struggling New York Raiders. He would also play for the Vancouver Blazers, Los Angeles Sharks, Cleveland Crusaders, Winnipeg Jets, Minnesota Fighting Saints and Calgary Cowboys during his WHA career.

Willie Marshall – Baltimore Clippers

Willie Marshall of the Baltimore Clippers also finished with 78 points but played one more game that Ron Ward. Marshall is one of the greatest players in the history of the AHL. He played 1,205 regular season games with the Pittsburgh Hornets, Hershey Bears, Providence Reds, Baltimore Clippers and Rochester Americans. He scored 523 career goals and totalled 1,375 points.

Marshall was a charter member of the AHL Hall of Fame in 2006. To date, no player has played more games or had more goals, assists and points over an AHL career than Willie. Since 2003-04, the Willie Marshall Award has been handed out to the AHL player with the most goals scored during the regular season.


Monday, July 28, 2014

Grand Rapids Griffins Scoring Records

grand rapids griffins ahl logo
The Grand Rapids Griffins professional hockey franchise was established for the 1996-97 IHL season. The Griffins played in the IHL from 1996-97 to 2000-01 before moving to the American Hockey League. Grand Rapids currently remains in the AHL. The Griffins are affiliated with the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League.

The individual single season scoring records of the team are decent, considering the team was born at the end of the era of offense in North American pro hockey. The following records include both the years the Griffins spent in the IHL and AHL.

Goals – Donald MacLean

MacLean scored 56 goals in 76 games for the Griffins in 2005-06. He also assisted on 32 for 88 points. The goal total tied him with Denis Hamel of the Binghamton Senators for the AHL lead. Both have their name on the Willlie Marshall Award. However, MacLean gets the edge for playing one less game than Hamel. In 2005-06, Donald was also awarded the Les Cunningham Award as AHL most valuable player. In addition, he had a three game stint with the Red Wings.

Donald was originally a second round pick of the Los Angeles Kings in 1995. He appeared in a total of 41 regular season NHL games over his career with the Kings, Toronto Maple Leafs, Columbus Blue Jackets, Detroit and the Phoenix Coyotes.

MacLean won a scoring title in the AHL in 2001-02. He was awarded the John B. Sollenberger Trophy with 87 points in 75 games for the St. John’s Maple Leafs. Donald finished off his pro career in Europe from 2007-08 to 2010-11, playing in Austria, Switzerland, Sweden and Denmark. He is currently the assistant coach of Medvescak Zagreb of Austria’s EBEL. Zagreb was the last team he played for.

Assists – Jiri Hudler

The same year Donald MacLean was setting the Griffins record for goals, Jiri Hudler set the mark for assists in a season. Hudler assisted on 60 while scoring 36 of his own for 96 points in 76 games. Jiri finished third in the AHL for assists that year.

Hudler was a second round pick of the Detroit Red Wings in 2002. He has just passed the 450 game mark in his NHL career while playing for the Red Wings and Calgary Flames. 2014-15 will be his third year with Calgary.

Points – Michel Picard

In the first year of existence for the Griffins, 1996-97, Michel Picard set the team record for points that currently stands today. In 82 games for the IHL Griffins, Picard totalled 101 points on 46 goals and 55 assists. His point total placed him fourth in the IHL that season.

Picard was a ninth round pick of the Hartford Whalers in 1989. Over his career, he played in 166 regular season NHL games with the Whalers, San Jose Sharks, Ottawa Senators, St. Louis Blues, Edmonton Oilers and Philadelphia Flyers. Michel led the American Hockey League for goals in 1990-91, scoring 56 as a member of the Springfield Indians. He retired from hockey in 2008-09 after five years in Quebec’s LNAH.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Norfolk Admirals Individual Single Season Records

norfolk admirals american hockey league The Norfolk Admirals came into the American Hockey League for the 2000-01 season as an expansion franchise. Originally, the Admirals were affiliated with the Chicago Blackhawks but have been the farm team of the Tampa Bay Lightning since the 2007-08 season.
In their relatively short history, Norfolk players have put up decent individual stats. The individual single season records for the team are respectable and were set by a handful of players that are familiar to hockey fans.
The Admirals individual records for most goals, assists and points in a season were all set in 2006-07. Besides this past 2011-12 season, it was their most successful regular season in history with 50 wins and 108 points. Unfortunately, they lost in the first round of the Calder Cup playoffs to the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins.

Troy Brouwer – 41 Goals

Troy Brouwer set the team mark for goals with 41, finishing third in the AHL for that category. It was Troy’s only season with Norfolk before becoming a regular in the National Hockey League. Since, Troy has played over 300 games in the NHL with the Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals.

Martin St. Pierre – 72 Assists and 99 Points

Martin St. Pierre set the mark for both assists and points with 72 and 99. For each, he was second in the AHL that season, narrowly missing out in the race for the John B. Sollenberger Trophy. 2006-07 was St. Pierre’s first of two seasons with the Admirals. He was undrafted after a great junior career with the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League but has managed to play 38 games in the league thus far with the Blackhawks, Boston Bruins and Ottawa Senators. Marty spent 2011-12 with the AHL’s Springfield Falcons.

Zack Stortini – 299 PIM

Zack Stortini broke Mike Brown’s record for PIM with 299 in 2013-14. Now three seasons removed from what was a regular job in the National Hockey League, Stortini wore the ‘A’ for Norfolk in 2013-14. He played 73 regular season games and added nine points.
Zack was a third round pick by the Edmonton Oilers in 2003 after his second of four seasons in the Ontario Hockey League with the Sudbury Wolves. Of those four years, Stortini was team captain for the final three. Zack played 257 games in the NHL with the Oilers, and Nashville Predators. His last NHL game was with the Predators in 2011-12, his only game with the team.
Brown set the previous team record for most penalty minutes in a single season with 286 in 2004-05. Brown was in his first of two seasons with the Admirals and at the tail end of his pro career. 2005-06 would be his last season before hanging up the blades. Mike was originally a first round pick of the Florida Panthers in 1997. He never played for Florida but did appear in 34 NHL games between 2000-01 and 2005-06 with the Vancouver Canucks, Anaheim Mighty Ducks and Chicago.

Goaltending Records

Norfolk’s major individual single season goaltending records belong to two netminders that now play prominent roles in the NHL. Corey Crawford and Craig Anderson used the Admirals as a stepping stone to National Hockey League careers.
Crawford has the Admirals record for most wins in a single season with 38 in 2006-07. Corey was a second round pick of the Blackhawks in 2003 and has become the team’s number one goalie over the past two seasons.
Anderson set team marks for lowest goals against average and highest save percentage in 2002-03. Playing in 32 games, he recorded a 1.94 GAA and a .923 save percentage for Norfolk. He also spent time with the Blackhawks that season, appearing in six NHL games. Craig was a third round pick of the Blackhawks in 2001 and has since had stints with Chicago, Florida Panthers, Colorado Avalanche and Ottawa.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Portland Pirates Of The AHL By The Numbers

portland pirates american hockey league
The Portland Pirates have been a franchise in the American Hockey League since the 1993-94 season and are currently affiliated with the Phoenix Coyotes of the NHL. The Pirates have roots in the Erie Blades, an AHL team that began play in 1975-76. In between Erie and Portland, the franchise made a stop in Maryland and were known as the Baltimore Skipjacks from 1982-83 to 1992-93. In this article, when referring to team records and championships, it is just for the Portland Pirates from 1993-94 forward.

1. The Pirates have been crowned Calder Cup champions on just one occasion. It happened to be their first year in Portland, 1993-94. The team finished third overall during the regular season and took out the Albany River Rats and Adirondack Red Wings in the first two rounds. Portland received a bye through the semi-finals before meeting up with the Moncton Hawks in the finals. The Pirates came away with the championship in six games.

17. The most career shutouts by a goaltender in a Portland Pirates jersey is 17 by Maxime Ouellet. Ouellet played for the Pirates from 2001-02 to 2004-05 but the 17 shutouts all occurred in the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons with seven the first year and 10 the next.

2003-04 was a really unique year for a goalie to record ten shutouts. Maxime played 52 of Portland’s games. The Pirates won just 15 games, meaning 67% of the games they won were when they did not allow a single goal.

Ouellet was a first round pick by the Philadelphia Flyers at the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, 22nd overall. On March 19, 2002, he was traded to Washington from Philadelphia for Hockey Hall of Fame member Adam Oates. Maxime played in the National Hockey League from 2000-01 to 2005-06 with the Flyers, Washington Capitals and Vancouver Canucks.

37. Olaf Kolzig wore the number 37 for the Pirates between 1993-94 and 1995-96. Each of those three years were split between Portland and the Washington Capitals. In the two previous seasons, Olaf played for the Baltimore Skipjacks.

In 1993-94, Kolzig was honoured with the Harry Holmes Trophy for the AHL’s best goaltending duo. He was also awarded the Jack Butterfield Trophy as the AHL’s Calder Cup playoff MVP. Olaf went on to win the Vezina Trophy in 1999-00. He played for the Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning between 1989-90 and 2008-09. His time in Tampa was limited to just eight games in his final NHL season. Olaf Kolzig is an honoured member of the ECHL Hall of Fame.

41. The most goals scored in a single season for the Pirates is 41 by Michel Picard over just 61 games in 1993-94. Picard played 166 regular season games in the NHL between 1990-91 and 2000-01 with the Hartford Whalers, San Jose Sharks, Ottawa Senators, St. Louis Blues, Edmonton Oilers and Philadelphia Flyers. In 1990-91, he led the AHL in goal scoring with 56 as a member of the Springfield Indians.

48. In 1998-99, the Portland Pirates lost 48 games, the most in any single season for the franchise. Portland finished last in the Eastern Conference with 55 points, 16 points behind the next team, the Saint John Flames. Overall, the Pirates were 17th in the 19 team league.

53. In 2005-06, the Pirates set a team record for most wins in a season with 53. Their 114 points placed them first in the Eastern Conference and second overall in the AHL behind the Grand Rapids Griffins. Portland then fell in the Eastern Conference finals to the Hershey Bears. The series went the full seven games with three decided in overtime, including game seven.

355. Mark Major set the club’s record for most penalty minutes in a single season in 1997-98 with 355 over 79 games. He then sat 52 minutes over ten playoff games that year. Over 364 career AHL regular season games, Major sat 1,238 PIM playing for the Providence Bruins, Adirondack Red Wings, Portland and the Hershey Bears. As a junior in the Ontario Hockey League, he sat 691 PIM over 183 games with the North Bay Centennials and Kingston Frontenacs. In the IHL, it was 927 minutes over 320 games with the Muskegon Lumberjacks, Detroit Vipers and Houston Aeros. Mark played two games in the NHL with the Detroit Red Wings in 1996-97.

Friday, January 31, 2014

4 AHL Teams To Fold Midseason

baltimore clippers american hockey league
This past week, the San Francisco Bulls of the ECHL folded up shop 40 games into the 2013-14 season. The ECHL began operations with five teams back in 1988-89 and crew to 31 by 2003-04 before settling back to the current 23. San Francisco was granted a franchise for the 2011-12 season and have now become the first team in ECHL history not to complete a full season.

Since this was an unprecedented event in ECHL history, we thought we’d take a step up the ladder and look at the American Hockey League. The history of the AHL dates back to 1936. In all that time, just four teams have ceased operations before completing a season. Two of those teams were the same franchise.

New Haven Eagles 1942-43

The New Haven franchise started out in the CAHL for 1926-27 and were an AHL original for the 1936-37 season. In 1942-43, the Eagles played 32 games before folding on January 17, 1943. They were set to play a 56 game regular season schedule that year. The Eagles finished with nine wins and five ties for 23 points.

It was a bitter end to a great coaching career for Eddie Powers. Powers coached the Boston Tigers to a Calder Cup championship in 1928-29. He followed that up with the 1936-37 Syracuse Stars also capturing the Calder. In a weird twist of fate, Powers died January 17, 1943, the same day that the Eagles played their final game. The Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy is handed out each season to the player in the Ontario Hockey League with the most points.

New Haven Eagles 1950-51

The Eagles franchise was revived for the 1945-46 season and spent four years between 1946-47 and 1949-50 as the Ramblers. The name was changed back to the Eagles for the 1950-51 and seemed to curse the team. On December 11, 1950, the Eagles folded again, this time for good. New Haven played 28 of 70 games, winning just five for ten points.

The head coach in New Haven at the time was Frank Beisler. Frank was a veteran of two NHL games, one in 1936-37 and one in 1939-40, both with the New York Americans. He played for the original Eagles from 1934-35 to 1937-38. Beisler won a Calder Cup as a player with the 1942-43 Buffalo Bisons, coached by Eddie Shore. Ironically, that was the year the original Eagles folded. In 1945-46, Frank won the Calder Cup as a head coach, also with Buffalo.

Baltimore Clippers 1974-75

The Clippers had been in the American Hockey League since 1962-63 when they called it quits on January 23, 1975. The team had played 46 of 76 games with 14 wins and 38 points. The reason for folding was unique. The Michigan Stags of the World Hockey Association relocated to Baltimore midseason and were then known as the Baltimore Blades. The Clippers basically gave up their arena and even their jerseys for the WHA franchise.

The Clippers returned to the AHL for the 1975-76 season. However, the following year, they made the ill-fated decision to join the Southern Hockey League. Baltimore had 47 games in the books in 1976-77 when the whole league folded.

Hampton Gulls 1977-78

The Gulls were in the AHL for just the 1977-78 season. The franchise was born in 1974-75 and played three years in the SHL before than league ceased operations. Hampton was 46 games into the 80 game season when they closed up shop on February 10, 1978. The Gulls had won 15 games and totalled 33 points.

Hampton was coached by the legendary John Brophy. Two of the six goalies that would make an appearance for the Gulls were Michel Plasse and Eddie Mio. Rod Langway played 30 games with the club in his first year of pro hockey. Langway spent the rest of the year in the WHA with the Birmingham Bulls. He went on to play 994 regular season games in the National Hockey League with the Montreal Canadiens and Washington Capitals. Rod won the Norris Trophy twice with the Capitals.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Hockey Trivia: Cleveland Barons of the AHL

cleveland barons ahl logo
The Cleveland Barons were an American Hockey League franchise from 1936-37 to 1973-74. The team thrived in the Cleveland market until the Cleveland Crusaders of the World Hockey Association came along in the early 1970’s and diluted the waters. The Barons failed soon after the arrival of the Crusaders and the Crusaders didn’t last long. The curse continued with the NHL version of the Barons that came along soon after and lasted just a few seasons. Test and expand your knowledge of the AHL Barons with the following four hockey trivia questions and answers.

Q. What player holds the AHL’s Cleveland Barons records for most career goals, assists, points and penalty minutes?

A. Fred Glover played for the Barons from 1952-53 to 1967-68. In that time, he scored 410 goals, assisted on 695 and totalled 1,105 points while sitting 2,164 minutes in the sin bin. Inducted into the AHL Hall of Fame in its 2006 inaugural season, Glover is also the AHL career leader in each of those categories with 520 goals, 814 assists, 1,334 points and 2,402 PIM. Before he was a Baron, Fred also played for the Indianapolis Capitals. He saw brief NHL action early in his career with the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Black Hawks.

Q. What arena did the Cleveland Barons play their home games at?

A. The Cleveland Arena was built for the AHL team’s first season. The seating capacity of the Cleveland Arena was 9,900 for hockey games. The rink closed in 1974, replaced by the Richfield Coliseum, and was demolished three years later.

The Richfield Coliseum held 18,544 for hockey but didn’t have a much better fate. The venue was closed in 1994 and demolished in 1999.

Q. What Hockey Hall of Fame goaltender was the AHL MVP in 1957-58?

A. Johnny Bower and the above mentioned Fred Glover are the only two AHL players to be awarded the Les Cunningham Award as the league’s MVP on three occasions. Bower won the award with Cleveland in 1957-58 and had previously won twice with the Providence Reds. Bower moved on to the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs in 1958-59 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1976. Like Glover, Bower was inducted into the AHL Hall of Fame in 2006.

Q. The Cleveland Barons won the Calder Cup as AHL playoff champion on nine occasions. In which year did they win their first?

A. The Barons entered the AHL in 1936-37 and in 1938-39, just their third year in the league, Cleveland was crowned Calder Cup champions. Although finishing the year just one game over .500 and in third place in the four team West Division, Cleveland beat the Springfield Indians, Providence Reds and the Philadelphia Ramblers in the playoffs to capture the Calder.

Cleveland’s final Calder Cup championship came in 1963-64 with Fred Glover leading the way. After a somewhat mediocre regular season where the Barons placed third in the four team West Division and fourth overall in the nine team league, Cleveland went undefeated in the post season. The Barons swept the Rochester Americans and Hershey Bears before taking out the Quebec Aces in four games in the finals to win the title. That year, Fred Glover won the Les Cunningham Award as AHL MVP and Ted Harris won the Eddie Shore Award as defenseman of the year.




Saturday, November 16, 2013

5 To Lead AHL in Goals in Consecutive Seasons

guy trottier toronto maple leafs 1971-72 o-pee-chee hockey card
Since 1936-37, there have been just five players in the AHL to lead the league in goals in consecutive seasons. The first came in 1937-38 and 1938-39 with the latest in 2008-09 and 2009-10. Interestingly, none of these five players has been inducted into the AHL Hall of Fame since its establishment in 2006. The American Hockey League now consists of 30 teams and is the prime minor league for the NHL.

Phil Hergesheimer – Cleveland Barons

Phil Hergesheimer led the league in goals in 1937-38 and 1938-39, as a member of the Cleveland Barons. Phil score 25 in the first season and 34 in the second. Hergesheimer went on to play 124 games in the National Hockey League from 1939-40 to 1942-43 with the Chicago Black Hawks and Boston Bruins. Phil returned to the American Hockey League after his NHL stint, achieving a personal best 48 goals with the Philadelphia Rockets in 1946-47.

Carl Liscombe – Providence Reds

Carl Liscombe was the next to lead the league in consecutive years, 1947-48 and 1948-49. Liscombe scored 50 goals in the first year and 55 in the second, both as a member of the Providence Reds. Carl previously played 383 games in the NHL with the Detroit Red Wings between 1937-38 and 1945-46. In 1943-44, he led the second place Detroit Red Wings with 36 goals and 73 points in 50 games. The 73 points was good for fourth in the NHL’s scoring race.

Guy Trottier – Buffalo Bisons

Guy Trottier led the league with 45 goals in 1968-69 and 55 goals in 1969-70 as a member of the Buffalo Bisons. Over his career, Trottier played 115 games in the NHL with the New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs. He also played 174 games in the World Hockey Association. Previously, Guy scored 68 goals in 1965-66 and 71 goals in 1966-67 with the Dayton Gems of the IHL.

Paul Gardner – Binghamton Whalers

Paul Gardner is the only one of this group of five to lead the league in consecutive seasons with two different teams. In 1984-85, with the Binghamton Whalers, Gardner led the league with 51 and the following season, with the Rochester Americans, he led with 61. As a junior in the Ontario Hockey Association, Paul scored 69 goals with the Oshawa Generals in 1975-76.

Gardner was the eleventh overall pick of the Kansas City Scouts at the 1976 NHL Amateur Draft. He was also taken in the second round of the WHA Amateur Draft by the Toronto Toros. Paul played 447 NHL games from 1976-77 to 1985-86 with the Colorado Rockies, Toronto Maple Leafs, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals and Buffalo Sabres.

Alexandre Giroux – Hershey Bears

Alexandre Giroux led the AHL in 2008-09 with 60 goals and, again, in 2009-10 with 50 goals as a member of the Hershey Bears. Giroux is the only one of the five players mentioned in this article to be awarded the Willie Marshall Award. The Award was introduced for the 2003-04 season to honour the top goal scorer in the AHL and is equivalent to the NHL’s Rocket Richard Trophy.

Giroux was a seventh round pick of the Ottawa Senators at the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, 213th overall. He has, to date, appeared in 48 NHL games, most recently with the Columbus Blue Jackets. He is currently playing in Switzerland’s National League A with Ambri-Piotta.


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Syracuse Crunch Scoring Records

syracuse crunch ahl logo
The Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League originated as the Hamilton Canucks in 1992-93. The franchise moved to Syracuse to become the Crunch for the 1994-95 AHL season. The team has yet to win a Calder Cup championship and are currently affiliated with the Tampa Bay Lightning of the National Hockey League. The individual single season scoring records of the team are quite modest.

Goals – Lonny Bohonos

In just his second year of professional hockey, Bohonos set the Syracuse record for most goals in a season with 40 in 1995-96. Over 74 regular season games, Lonny also assisted on 39 for 79 points. That year, he also played three games in the NHL with the Vancouver Canucks. The goal total tied him for ninth in the AHL that season, 28 goals behind the leader, Brad Smyth.

At the time, Bohonos was two years removed from leading the Western Hockey League in goals, assists and points. In 70 games with the Portland Winterhawks, Lonny scored 62 and assisted on 90 for 152 points to earn the Bob Clarke Trophy.

Lonny retired from professional hockey after playing for Adler Mannheim in Germany’s DEL during the 2005-06 season. Along the way, he played in 83 regular season NHL games with the Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs. In 2000-01, he led Switzerland’s National League A in points as a member of HC Davos.

Assists – Bill Bowler

Bowler set the mark for Syracuse in 2000-01 with 58 assists. In 72 games that year, he also scored 21 goals and totalled 79 points. It was also that year that he appeared in his only nine NHL games, playing for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

It comes as no surprise that Bowler would own a team’s assist record. After a stellar junior career in the Ontario Hockey League with the Windsor Spitfires, Bill is one of just 13 players in the history of the league to assist on 100 or more goals in a single season. In 1994-95, he assisted on 102. That total is the ninth best all-time in the OHL and 21 behind the league record of 123 set by Bobby Smith of the Ottawa 67’s in 1977-78.

Bowler owns the career record for assists in the OHL with 318 and the Windsor Spitfires record for most points in a career with 467. Windsor retired his number 9 in 2011. Bill retired from pro hockey after appearing in seven games for Krefeld Pinguine of the DEL in 2002-03.

Points – Lonny Bohonos and Bill Bowler

The Syracuse Crunch record for points in a season stands at 79. Bohonos reached the mark in 1995-96, the same year he set the record for goals. Bowler had 79 points in 2000-01, the year he set the record for assists. Not bad for two players not drafted into the NHL.



Saturday, September 21, 2013

Bridgeport Sound Tigers Scoring Records

bridgeport sound tigers american hockey league
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers joined the American Hockey League as an expansion franchise for the 2001-02 season. In their first year, the Sound Tigers reached the Calder Cup finals before losing to the Chicago Wolves. They have not won a playoff series since 2002-03. Bridgeport is affiliated with the New York Islanders of the NHL. The single season individual offensive records of the Sound Tigers are quite modest.

Jeff Hamilton – Most Goals

Jeff Hamilton holds the team record for most goals in a single season with 43 in 2003-04. The number led the offensively challenged AHL and Hamilton was honoured with the Willie Marshall Award. In 2003-04, Jeff also played one game with the Islanders, his first game in the National Hockey League.

Hamilton has appeared in 157 regular season NHL games to date with the Islanders, Chicago Blackhawks, Carolina Hurricanes and Toronto Maple Leafs. He also played at the elite level in Finland, Russia and Switzerland, retiring after the 2010-11 season which he spent with HIFK in Finland’s SM-Liiga.

Rob Collins – Most Assists

Rob Collins set the mark for assists in a single season with 48 in 2005-06. The total was not high enough to place him in the AHL’s top ten. 2005-06 was Rob’s third of three years with the Sound Tigers. He also played eight games with the Islanders that season, his only NHL action to date. Collins has been playing in Germany’s Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL) since 2006-07, the last two with the Hamburg Freezers.

Jeff Tambellini – Most Points

Jeff Tambellini holds the team record for points in a single season with 76 in 2007-08. Tambellini set the mark while playing only 57 games. The total was good for seventh in the AHL that season and he finished second with 38 goals. Jeff also played in 31 games with the Islanders in 2007-08 for a total of 88 games combined.

Tambellini has played in 242 regular season NHL games to date with the Los Angeles Kings, New York Islanders and Vancouver Canucks. 2012-13 was his second year with ZSC of Switzerland’s National League A. He has signed with MODO in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) for the 2013-14 season.

In 2012-13, there was no threat of any of these records being broken. The Sound Tigers were led in the goals department by Nino Niederreiter with 28. Matt Donovan led Bridgeport with 34 assists. Brock Nelson led the team in points with just 52 over 66 regular season games. Bridgeport did not qualify for the Calder Cup playoffs.


Friday, September 6, 2013

3 Calder Cup Championships of the Pittsburgh Hornets

pittsburgh hornets 1966-67 ahl calder cup champions
The Pittsburgh Hornets existed in the American Hockey League from 1936-37 to 1955-56 and were revived for a stint between 1961-62 and 1966-67. In the first existence of the team, the Hornets won the Calder Cup as AHL playoff champion on two occasions. As the re-incarnated Hornets, the franchise would win one more Calder Cup championship before being chased out of town by the National Hockey League and the Pittsburgh Penguins.


The Hornets won their first Calder Cup in 1951-52. The team finished first overall in the nine team league and first in the five team West Division. Pittsburgh knocked out the Hershey Bears, 4-1 in the opening round of the playoffs. After receiving a bye through the second round, Pittsburgh met the Providence Reds in the finals and prevailed in six games.

The 1951-52 Hornets were coached by Toronto Maple Leafs legend, King Clancy. A future Toronto star defenseman played on the blue line for Pittsburgh. Tim Horton played in all eleven playoff games. The following year, Horton became a regular with the Maple Leafs and would continue on in the National Hockey League until his death during the 1973-74 season. He would make his return to Pittsburgh, playing for the Penguins late in his career. Tim also appeared for the New York Rangers and Buffalo Sabres.


Two years later, in 1954-55, the Hornets were crowned Calder Cup champions again. The AHL was reduced to a six team, single division league and Pittsburgh finished first overall. Coached by another big name former Toronto player, Howie Meeker, the Hornets beat the Springfield Indians three games to one in the first round before taking out the Buffalo Bisons 4-2 in the finals.

Leading the way for Pittsburgh in 1954-55 was Willie Marshall. Willie went on to become the AHL all-time leader in games played, goals, assists and points, records that stand today. Since 2003-04, the AHL has honoured the player that finishes the regular season with the most goals with the Willie Marshall Award.


The reincarnated version of the Hornets knew going in that 1966-67 would be their final season in Pittsburgh. The Penguins had been granted an NHL franchise and were slated to start, along with five other new teams, in 1967-68. There simply wasn’t room for two pro teams in town. Since re-entering the league in 1961-62, the new-style Hornets had been affiliated with the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings. The 1966-67 team was filled with young talent like Peter Mahovlich, Gary Jarrett and Billy Harris, along with long-time veterans Andy Bathgate and Doug Harvey.

The Hornets finished first overall in the nine team AHL, as well as finishing first in the four team West Division. After beating the Hershey Bears four games to one in the opening round, Pittsburgh received a bye through to the finals. They met Rochester in the Calder Cup finals and swept the Americans in four games.