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The Hershey Bears are a professional ice hockey team playing in the American Hockey League. The team is based in Hershey, Pennsylvaniamarker. Home games are played at the Giant Centermarker. Hershey is the longest-existing member club in the AHL, joining the league in 1938; the team played its 5,000th game on December 20, 2006. The Hershey Bears won the 2009 Calder Cup, their tenth league championship; this is the highest total in AHL history, surpassing the Cleveland AHL organizations.

The Hershey Bears hockey club is owned by the Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company (HERCO), formerly known as Hershey Estates, an entity wholly owned and administered by the Hershey Trust Company.

Team history

From B'ars to Bears

The history of the Hershey Bears hockey club goes back to a series of amateur hockey matches played in Hershey between college teams beginning in early 1931. The first such formal hockey game ever played in Hershey took place on February 18, 1931, when Penn A.C. and Villanova Universitymarker faced off in the 1,900-seat Hershey Ice Palace. Nine months after that successful inaugural contest, Swarthmore Athletic Club moved into the Ice Palace, where they played their first game on November 19, 1931 against Crescent A.C. of New York Citymarker. (In the lineup that night for Crescent was a 23 year-old center named Lloyd S. Blinco, a native of Grand Mere, Quebecmarker. He came to Hershey the next season and would remain continuously associated with Hershey hockey for a half century as a player, coach, and manager).

The popularity of these amateur hockey matches prompted chocolate-maker and amusement park-operator, Milton S. Hershey, and his long-time entertainment and amusements chief, John B. Sollenberger, to sponsor a permanent team in 1932–1933 called the Hershey B'ars. The club joined the newly formed Tri-State Hockey League with teams from Philadelphiamarker, Baltimoremarker, and Atlantic Citymarker. After one season, that circuit reformed itself into a larger, seven-club loop called the Eastern Amateur Hockey League in which Hershey played first as the "Chocolate B'ars" (1933–1934), then again as the "B'ars" (1934–1936), and finally in 1936 as the "Hershey Bears," a name they adopted in response to criticism levied by New York sportswriters and the league that the "B'ars" moniker was too commercial. (These writers had already informally dubbed the club as the "Bears from Penn's Woods" when they visited Madison Square Gardenmarker to play the New York Rovers.)
The Bears' longtime logo in the original "chocolate" (maroon) and white
On December 19, 1936, the newly renamed Bears also moved from the confines of the Ice Palace (where they had to play on a small, 60x170-foot rink) into the newly constructed 7,286-seat Hersheypark Arenamarker (then known as the "Hershey Sports Arena") built immediately adjacent to the older venue. Over the next sixty-six seasons, the Bears played a remarkable total of 2,280 regular season and playoff games at the Hersheypark Arena, which served as their home from 1936 to 2002.

In 1938–1939, the Bears became the eighth member of the newly formed International-American Hockey League (renamed the American Hockey League in 1940) which was created on the June 28, 1938, by the formal merger of the International and the Canadian-American (Can-Am) Hockey Leagues, after those two smaller circuits had played interlocking schedules over the previous two seasons. Although three of the seven other IAHL charter-member cities ( , , and ) are also represented in the AHL today, only the Bears have played in the league without interruption since that inaugural 1938–1939 IAHL season.

In the mid-1950s, the Hershey Bears signed Don Cherry, a young high-schooler playing in the Ontario Hockey Association. Cherry's first National Hockey League game was in the 1954–1955 season, when the Boston Bruins called him up for a playoff game. He went on playing for another 20 seasons before becoming a coach, and eventually, a comentator for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Hockey Night in Canada television broadcast. During the three seasons Cherry played for the Bears, from 1954 to 1957, he earned 424 penalty minutes, 15 goals, and 55 assists.

Modern era

The Washington Capitals returned as the Bears NHL parent club in 2005 after a 21-year span with the Boston Bruins, the Philadelphia Flyers, and the Colorado Avalanche. (The club has also had earlier NHL affiliations with the Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Buffalo Sabres). As of the 2008-2009 Calder Cup Finals, the Bears have played in 21 Finals series, a league record.[99012] The Bears recently eclipsed the original Cleveland Barons for the most Calder Cup championships (10). Their most recent championship was in 2008–2009 versus the Manitoba Moose.

On December 20, 2006, the Bears played their 5,000th regular season game at the Times Union Centermarker in Albany, New Yorkmarker. The Bears scored seven times en route to a 7-4 win versus the Albany River Rats.[99013]

In 2008, the Bears set a club record of 11 straight wins, besting their previous record of 10, set in 2002. Over the stretch from November into December, the Bears outscored their opponents by a 54-15 margin.[99014]

On May 2, 2007, the Bears played their 500th Calder Cup playoff game in franchise history at the GIANT Center. The Bears played the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and won 4-3.[99015]

Hershey has tied an AHL mark for consecutive playoff series victories, with seven wins in a row. The record is shared with the 2005–2007 Bears and the 1990–1992 Springfield Indians.[99016]

2006 Calder Cup championship

In 2006 the Hershey Bears, with new head coach Bruce Boudreau, returned to the playoffs after a two-year absence. The team came off with a strong start by winning their first two series, against the Norfolk Admirals and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, in four games each. In the Eastern Conference finals, the Bears played the Portland Pirates. The Bears quickly took a 2-0 series lead, but then lost the third game. The Bears then rebounded and won game four, to take a 3-1 series lead. However the Bears were unable to finish the job and were forced back to the Giant Center for game seven. The Bears trailed throughout the game, but managed to tie it with a goal from Graham Mink just over two minutes remaining. In overtime, the Bears finished with a goal by Eric Fehr, to win the series 4-3. On June 15, 2006, The Bears won the Calder Cup by a series mark of 4-2, defeating the Milwaukee Admirals. This marked the ninth time the franchise had won the Calder Cup, which tied Hershey with the original Cleveland Barons for the highest number of AHL playoff titles.

The Road to Number 10

History Denied

The following season, Boudreau's Bears finished with a 51-17-6 record and appeared to be on the verge of repeating as champions. They rolled through the playoffs defeating Albany in five games, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in five, and won the Eastern Conference in a sweep of Manchester. The Bears appeared to have a tenth title wrapped up against Hamilton, who had finished the regular season with 95 points compared to Hershey's 114. The Bulldogs, however, upset the Bears 4-1. The next season was disappointing to the Bears - they lost Boudreau to the Capitals via a promotion, finished the season 42-30-2-6, and lost to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 4-1 in the first round.

Hanging 10

The next season, the Bears bounced back. Finishing with 49-23-2 record, they would go on to sweep the Philadelphia Phantoms in the first round, overcome a 3-2 deficit to beat Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the second, and then defeated Providence, 4-1, in the Conference Finals. They opened their 21st Calder Cup appearance with a 5-4 overtime win in Manitobamarker, but lost Game 2, 3-1. Back home in Hershey, the Bears scored a pair of wins (3-0 and 2-1) before falling in Game 5, 3-2. In Game 6, the Bears scored 3 goals before Manitoba even got on the board, and then an empty-net goal sealed it. With the 4-1 Game 6 victory the Bears defeated Manitoba and finally scored their league-record, tenth Calder Cup

Logos and uniforms

The Bears' current tertiary logo, used for shoulder patches and promotional merchandise
The colors of the Hershey Bears are burgundy, black, gold, and silver (though the team's primary colors are often referred to as "chocolate and white"), a reference to The Hershey Company and its products. The primary logo is a maroon bear, outlined in black, swatting a hockey puck centered below the Hershey Bears wordmark. The wordmark is a horizontal gradient using gold and burgundy outlined in black, with the Hershey part centered on a rectangular outline designed to resemble a Hershey's candy bar. The alternate logo consists of a bear's head in burgundy and black with the initials "HB."

Before their move to the GIANT Center in 2002, the Hershey Bears wore simpler uniforms with the colors of chocolate brown and white. The previous logo used a silhouette of a skating bear with a hockey stick in brown centered in a white, ovular shield outlined in brown.

In the advent of the 2007–2008 season, all of the teams of the American Hockey League unveiled newly designed Reebok EDGE uniforms, including the Hershey Bears. The home uniform includes a white jersey with alternating burgundy and black horizontal stripes and burgundy shoulders. The Bears' primary logo is centered on the front. The shoulder logos include the Washington Capitals' logo and the "HB" secondary logo. The away jersey is burgundy with white shoulders and black horizontal stripes near the bottom of the sweater. The third jersey resembles the home jersey with an arching "Hershey" wordmark centered across the front with the player's number positioned below.

Mascot

The Hershey Bears' official mascot is an anthropomorphic, brown bear named Coco. He wears the team's home jersey with a white hockey helmet. Coco the Bear debuted on October 14, 1978 at the Hersheypark Arena. His name alludes to the cocoa bean, from which Hershey's chocolate is derived. Coco's favorite book is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, and his favorite movie is the original 1971 film, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.

Retired numbers and Hockey Hall of Famers

Retired numbers

Frank Mathers
Defenseman


Mike Nykoluk
Center


Arnie Kullman
Center


Willie Marshall
Center


Ralph Keller
Defenseman


Tim Tookey
Center


Mitch Lamoureux
Center




Hockey Hall of Famers

  • Frank Mathers (Player/Coach; Coach; GM; President/GM) 1956–91 Elected HHOF (Builder) 1992




Season-by-season record

This is a partial list of the last five seasons completed by the Bears. For the full season-by-season history, see Hershey Bears seasons

Regular season



Season Games Won Lost Tied OTL SOL Points Goals

for
Goals

against
Standing
2004–05 80 39 37 2 2 82 207 226 5th, East
2005–06 80 44 21 5 10 103 262 234 2nd, East
2006–07 80 51 17 6 6 114 305 219 1st, East
2007–08 80 42 30 2 6 92 253 247 4th, East
2008–09 80 49 23 2 6 106 296 240 1st, East


Playoffs



Season Prelim 1st round 2nd round 3rd round Finals
2004–05 Out of playoffs
2005–06 W, 4–0, NOR W, 4–0, WBS W, 4–3, PORT W, 4–2, MIL
2006–07 W, 4–1, ALB W, 4–1, WBS W, 4–0, MAN L, 1–4, HAM
2007–08 L, 1–4, WBS
2008–09 W, 4–0, PHI W, 4–3, WBS W, 4–1, PRO W, 4–2, MTB


Current roster

As of June 15, 2009. Data taken from AHL website.[99017]

GOALTENDERS
# align=left Player Catches Date of birth Place of birth
30 Michal Neuvirth L March 23, 1988 Usti nad Labem, Czech Republic
35 Braden Holtby R September 16, 1989 Lloydminster, SK, Canada


DEFENSEMEN
# align=left Player Shoots Date of birth Place of birth
2 Patrick McNeill L March 17, 1987 Strathroy, ON, Canada

4 John Carlson R January 10, 1990 Natick, MA, USA
5 Tyler Sloan L March 15, 1981 Calgary, AB, Canada
6 Sean Collins R October 30, 1983 Troy, MI, USA
7 Karl Alzner L September 24, 1988 Burnaby, BC, Canada
20 Bryan Helmer R July 15, 1972 Sault Ste. Marie, ON, Canada
27 Grant McNeill L May 8, 1983 Vermilion, AB, Canada
32 Greg Amadio L May 13, 1981 Sault Ste. Marie, ON, Canada


FORWARDS
# align=left Player Position Shoots Date of birth Place of birth
10 Andrew Gordon RW R December 13, 1985 Halifax, NS, Canada
11 Keith Aucoin C R November 6, 1978 Waltham, MA, USA
12 Alexandre Giroux LW L June 16, 1981 Quebec, QC, Canada
13 Steve Pinizzotto C R April 26, 1984 Mississauga, ON, Canada
14 Jay Beagle C R October 16, 1985 Calgary, AB, Canada
15 Stefan Della Rovere LW L February 25, 1990 Richmond Hill, ON, Canada
18 Kyle Wilson C R December 15, 1984 Oakville, ON, Canada
19 Darren Reid RW R May 8, 1983 Lac La Biche, AB, Canada
21 Graham Mink RW R May 21, 1979 Stowe, VT, USA
22 Francois Bouchard RW L April 26, 1988 Sherbrooke, QC, Canada
23 Andrew Joudrey C R July 15, 1984 Bedford, NS, Canada
24 Mathieu Perreault C L January 5, 1988 Drummondville, QC, Canada
26 Quintin Laing LW L June 8, 1979 Harris, SK, Canada
36 Oskar Osala LW L December 26, 1987 Vaasa, Finland
39 Kip Brennan LW L August 27, 1980 Kingston, ON, Canada
Boyd Kane LW L April 17, 1978 Swift Surrent, Sask, Canada
Trevor Bruess C R January 6, 1986 Minneapolis, Minn, USA
Jake Hauswirth C L February 16, 1988 Merrill, WI, USA


Staff
Title align=left STAFF MEMBER
Head Coach Mark French


Head Coaches

Asterik denotes number of Calder Cups won

References

External links




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