Showing posts with label calder cup. Show all posts
Showing posts with label calder cup. 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.

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.

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.




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.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Hershey Bears Trivia

hershey bears american hockey league
The Hershey Bears are the longest lasting American Hockey League team to remain in one location, a member of the league since 1938-39. The Bears are also one of the most successful AHL teams with four Calder Cup victories in the new millennium. Test and expand your knowledge of the Hershey Bears with the following four trivia questions and answers.

Q. What member of the Hershey Bears is the latest AHL player to lead the league in goals in consecutive seasons?

A. Alexandre Giroux led the AHL in goals in 2008-09 and 2009-10 with 60 and 50 goals. By doing so, Giroux earned the Willie Marshall Award. Alexandre is the first to lead in goals scored in consecutive seasons since Paul Gardner in the mid 1980’s. Only five AHL players have accomplished this feat since the league began in 1936-37. Giroux did this while also playing 12 games with the Washington Capitals in 2008-09 and nine with the NHL club in 2009-10.

Since, Giroux has played sparsely with the Edmonton Oilers and Columbus Blue Jackets before heading to Europe. 2012-13 was split between Dynamo Riga in the KHL and the Kloten Flyers in Switzerland’s National League A. For 2013-14, Alexandre will remain in Switzerland but has switched to Ambri-Piotta.

Q. In what year did the Hershey Bears win their first Calder Cup as AHL playoff champions?

A. In 1946-47, the Hershey Bears beat the Pittsburgh Hornets in the Calder Cup final series, four games to three. The Bears finished first in the East Division during the regular season. In a very odd playoff format, the Bears and the West Division regular season champ, the Cleveland Barons, were both given a bye through the first round. However, the two division champs then met in the semi-finals, while the two weaker teams played off in the other semi-final.

As of the end of 2012-13, the Bears have won eleven Calder Cup championships in total. Twice, they won in consecutive seasons, 1957-58 and 1958-59, along with 2008-09 and 2009-10.

Q. What Hershey Bears player has the club retired jersey number 16 for?

A. If you answered Willie Marshall, you are right. If you answered Mitch Lamoureux, you are also right. The team retired the number in honour of both players. Marshall played with the Bears from 1956-57 to 1962-63. He played over 1,200 games in the AHL and was inducted into the AHL Hall of Fame in 2006. Lamoureux is also a member of the AHL Hall of Fame, inducted in 2011.

Q. What Hockey Hall of Fame player, who played his entire NHL career with the Philadelphia Flyers, coached the Hershey Bears for one full season, 1995-96?

A. Bill Barber coached the team in 1984-85, as well, but for only 17 games. In 1995-96, Barber was behind the bench as the Bears finished second in the South and made a first round exit from the Calder Cup playoffs.

Barber was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1990 after playing 903 regular season National Hockey League games between 1972-73 and 1983-84, all with the Flyers. In 1997-98, Bill coached the Philadelphia Phantoms to a Calder Cup championship in the AHL. Ironically, the Phantoms swept the Hershey Bears in the second round before taking out the Saint John Flames in the finals. Barber was awarded the Jack Adams Trophy as the NHL coach of the year as head coach of the Flyers in 2001-02.