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.