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The Rochester Americans (colloquially the Amerks) are an ice hockey team in the American Hockey League. The team plays its home games in Rochester, New Yorkmarker, at the Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorialmarker, formerly known as Rochester War Memorial Arena, which was renovated in the mid-1990s. The Americans are one of the oldest franchises in the AHL, celebrating their 50th consecutive season in the American Hockey League in 2005–06. Their years of unbroken league membership rank second to the Hershey Bears. Rochester was awarded a new franchise in 1956 when the Pittsburgh Hornets were forced to suspend operations after their arena was razed in an urban renewal project. The owner of the Hornets, John H. Harris, held the Pittsburgh franchise in limbo until a new arena could be built. The Hornets re-entered the American Hockey League in 1961-62. All of the records of the Pittsburgh Hornets stayed in Pittsburgh.

The Amerks' team colors are red, white and blue. The logo is a patriotic badge with "Americans" written in script. The Americans have won six Calder Cups: in 1965, 1966, 1968, 1983, 1987 and 1996. They have lost in the Finals ten times: in 1957, 1960, 1967, 1977, 1984, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1999 and 2000.

History

Early years (1956–1967)

Upon entering the league for the 1956-57 season the Amerks became a joint affiliate of both the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League. Under Coach Billy Reay the team finished in third place in the AHL standings and played the defending champion Providence Reds in the opening round of the Calder Cup playoffs. With Bobby Perreault in goal, the Americans defeated Providence and goaltender Johnny Bower in five games. Rochester then was defeated in a five-game final by the Cleveland Barons, who won the Calder Cup.

The Amerks reached the playoffs in 1959, losing to the Buffalo Bisons in five games. The 1959 Amerks were led by the "WHAM" line of center Rudy Migay, left wing Gary Aldcorn and right wing Billy Hicke. Migay and Hicke were named co-MVP for the AHL that season and Hicke was chosen league Rookie of the Year.

In 1959–60 the Americans became the first team in American Hockey League history to win a playoff series after trailing three-games-to-none. The Amerks' comeback against the Cleveland Barons included the efforts of the veteran Migay, right wing Pat Hannigan and league-leading goaltender Ed Chadwick. A crowd of 7,762 at the War Memorial witnessed a 4-1 triumph in Game 7. Rochester went on to lose the Calder Cup Finals in five games to Eddie Shore's Springfield Indians.

Following the 1960–61 season in which the Amerks failed to qualify for the playoffs, the Montreal Canadiens transferred their working agreement to the Quebec Aces of the American Hockey League and sent Rochester players Guy Rousseau and Claude Labrosse to Quebec. As the exclusive affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Americans made the playoffs the next two seasons but never contended for the Calder Cup championship.

Beginning in 1963–64 former Amerks' defenseman Joe Crozier became the team's Coach and General Manager. Under Crozier the Amerks won the Calder Cup in 1965, 1966 and 1968 and were finalists in 1967; they are the only team in AHL history to appear in the Calder Cup finals in four consecutive seasons.

In 1965–66 the Amerks played their final 10 regular season and all playoff home games at a neutral site because the 1966 American Bowling Congress tournament occupied the War Memorial. The home games were at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardensmarker, about from Rochester, except for of one playoff game at Buffalo's Memorial Auditorium in the Calder Cup Finals. On May 8, 1966, before a crowd of 7,655 at the "Aud" the Amerks tied up the series at two games apiece with a 3-1 victory over the Cleveland Barons and went on to win the next two games and the Calder Cup.

Notable players from this era included Bronco Horvath, Gerry Cheevers, Bobby Perreault, Al Arbour, Darryl Sly, Norm "Red" Armstrong, Duane Rupp, Wally Boyer, Dick Gamble, Stan Smrke, Jim Pappin, Don Cherry, Gerry Ehman, Larry Hillman, and Mike Walton.

The expansion era (1967–1970s)

When the National Hockey League expanded from six to twelve teams for the 1967–68 NHL season the Amerks lost several players. Arbour (St. Louis), Ehman (Oakland), Boyer (Oakland), Horvath (Minnesota) and Rupp (Minnesota) were all drafted by the new NHL teams. Pappin and Walton were both promoted to the Maple Leafs. Smrke retired.

The Amerks struggled through the early part of the 1967–68 AHL season. Just before Christmas and with the team in last place with a record of 12-15-3 Crozier made a deal with the expansion Minnesota North Stars. In exchange for forwards J. P. Parise and Milan Marcetta the Amerks received Ted Taylor, Len Lunde, George "Duke" Harris, Murray Hall, Don Johns and the rights to Horvath. The return of Horvath marked his fourth tour of duty with the Amerks since 1956–57. The Amerks improved to go 26-10-6 for the balance of the season en route to finish with the best record in the league. The regular-season champion Amerks then defeated the Hershey Bears 4 games to 1 in the playoff semi-finals and the Quebec Aces 4 games to 2 in the Calder Cup finals. The Amerks won the final game 4-2 before a crowd of 11,711 at Le Colisee de Quebecmarker.

In the summer of 1968 the team was sold to Vancouver who established the Amerks as the farm team of the expansion Vancouver Canucks of the National Hockey League. With the majority of the Rochester players transferred to Vancouver of the Western Hockey League the minor league Canucks won the 1968–69 and 1969–70 WPHL Patrick Cup Championships while the Amerks finished in last place each year.

After four straight losing years the Vancouver NHL team was prepared to either sell or fold the Rochester team. In the summer of 1972 a group of Rochester businessmen bought the Americans franchise from Vancouver and named Amerks defenseman Don Cherry as Coach/General Manager. Playing the next two seasons as an independent club the Amerks made the playoffs in 1972–73 and were the regular season AHL champions in 1973–74.

The Boston Bruins hired Cherry as their coach in 1974–75 and became the Amerks' parent team the same year.

Prior to the 1979–80 season the Amerks were purchased by the Knox family, owners of the Buffalo Sabres (NHL) and became the Sabres AHL affiliate. While the team was sold to local businessman Steve Donner in the 90's, the Buffalo/Rochester partnership would become the longest such NHL/AHL affiliaton, lasting until the 2007–08 season.

During the Sabres affiliation, the Amerks would win 3 Calder Cup championships and finish as runners-up another six times. They finished out of the playoffs only 5 times in 28 years.

1980s–1990s

The Amerks won the first of their "Sabres era" Calder Cups in 1983 under young coach Mike Keenan, sweeping Maine, 4-0.

In the 1986–87 season the John VanBoxmeer-coached team won the division championship on the last game of the season against the Binghamton Whalers. The Amerks were one point behind the Whalers and playing in Binghamton. After goalie Darcy Walkaluk paced the team to a tie in regulation and overtime, the game proceded to the new "shoot-out" format used that season. As the shoot-out began, VanBoxmeer made one of the most memorable coaching moves in Amerks history and pulled Wakaluk from the game, inserting usual starting goalie Darren Puppa who had sat out the game due to injury. Puppa stopped every shot and low-scoring defenseman Jack Brownschidle scored the winning goal. While the teams both finished with identical records (47-26-7), Rochester won the division based on having a better record in head-to-head competition.

The first round of playoffs saw the Amerks play the rival Hershey Bears, however the first two games were moved to the Buffalo Aud arena due to the Amerks home arena being previously booked for the Shrine Circus.

The second event of that memorable season occurred during pregame warmups of the second game. With no officials on the ice (a common occurrence at that time which was changed as a result of this game) a brawl broke out. Players from both teams received suspensions and Amerk tough-guy Andy Ristau received a concussion. The Amerks won the game in overtime on a goal by defenseman Jim Hofford. Ironcially, Hofford was a late addition to the lineup as a result of the brawl. The Amerks went on to win the series, 4-1.

The Amerks took on the Sherbrooke Canadiens in the finals and after five games found themselves down 3 games to 2. Behind the leadership of NHL veteran Don Lever, the Amerks came from behind to win game six, 7-4, and won the championship in Sherbrooke.

After losing many players from that team to the NHL the following season the Amerks struggled but returned to the finals in '90 and '91, losing both times to the Springfield Indians. They again lost in the finals to Cape Breton in '93.

After a very slow start in the 1995–96 season, the Amerks came together midway through the season behind the dramatically improved goaltending of Steve Shields. The team breezed through the first three rounds of the playoffs before finally winning a hard-fought battle against the Portland Pirates to win their sixth Calder Cup.

2000s

In 2000, with the promotion of then-coach Brian McCutcheon to assistant coach with the Sabres, former Amerks player Randy Cunneyworth was named coach of the Amerks.

In November 2003, the Sabres and the New Jersey Devils played in the first-ever NHL regular-season game in Rochester.

In the 2003–04 season, Rochester was beaten 4 games to 1 by the eventual Calder Cup champion Milwaukee Admirals in the Western Conference Finals.

The Amerks began a dual-affiliation in 2005 after signing an agreement with the Florida Panthers. Under this agreement the Panthers and Sabres would both supply the Amerks with players while the Sabres would still employ the coaching staff.

In 2007, the Sabres announced that this would be their last season of affiliation with the Amerks. Reasons cited include the financial insecurity of the AHL team, issues between ownership, the City of Rochester, and Blue Cross Arena management, along with the awkwardness of the dual affiliation with the Panthers. In 2008, the 29-year affiliation officially ended as Buffalo chose the Portland Pirates to be their new AHL affiliate.

On May 6, 2008, the American Hockey League approved the sale of the Amerks to Canadian businessman Curt Styres and his investment group, Arrow Express Sports. The sale also included the Rochester Knighthawks of the National Lacrosse League.

On May 13, 2009, Lewis Staats, President of the Rochester Americans, formally announced that after 12 years as Amerks GM, Jody Gage will not return next season as the team’s general manager. Gage now holds the position of director of player personnel.

Retired numbers

The Rochester Americans have retired only two sweater numbers in their history.
  • Number 6 retired in honor of Norm "Red" Armstrong following his death from a fall in a construction accident in 1974 at age 35.
  • Number 9 was later retired in honor of Dick Gamble and Jody Gage. Gage, known as "Mr. Amerk", broke Gamble's team scoring records with the Amerks during his long tenure with the team. Gage then served as the Amerks' General Manager for 12 years, until May 2009.


Season-by-season results

Regular season

Season Games Won Lost Tied OTL SOL Points Goals

for
Goals

against
Standing
1956–57 64 34 25 5 73 224 199 3rd, AHL
1957–58 70 29 35 6 64 205 242 5th, AHL
1958–59 70 34 31 5 73 242 209 3rd, AHL
1959–60 72 40 27 5 85 285 211 2nd, AHL
1960–61 72 32 36 4 68 261 244 5th, AHL
1961–62 70 33 31 6 72 234 240 3rd, West
1962–63 72 24 39 9 57 241 270 3rd, West
1963–64 72 40 30 2 82 256 223 2nd, West
1964–65 72 48 21 3 99 310 199 1st, West
1965–66 72 46 21 5 97 288 221 1st, West
1966–67 72 38 25 9 85 300 223 2nd, West
1967–68 72 38 25 9 85 273 233 1st, West
1968–69 74 25 38 11 61 237 295 4th, West
1969–70 72 18 38 16 52 253 315 5th, West
1970–71 72 25 36 11 61 222 248 4th, West
1971–72 76 28 38 10 66 242 311 5th, East
1972–73 76 33 31 12 78 239 276 3rd, East
1973–74 76 42 21 13 97 296 248 1st, North
1974–75 76 42 25 9 93 317 243 2nd, North
1975–76 76 42 25 9 93 304 243 2nd, North
1976–77 80 42 33 5 89 320 273 3rd, AHL
1977–78 81 43 31 7 93 332 296 1st, South
1978–79 80 26 42 12 64 289 349 4th, South
1979–80 80 28 42 12 66 260 327 4th, South
1980–81 80 30 42 8 68 295 316 5th, South
1981–82 80 40 31 9 89 325 286 2nd, South
1982–83 80 46 25 9 101 389 325 1st, South
1983–84 80 46 32 2 94 363 300 2nd, South
1984–85 80 40 27 13 93 333 301 3rd, South
1985–86 80 34 39 7 75 320 337 6th, South
1986–87 80 47 26 7 101 315 263 1st, South
1987–88 80 46 26 7 1 100 328 272 2nd, South
1988–89 80 38 37 5 81 305 302 5th, South
1989–90 80 43 28 9 95 337 286 1st, South
1990–91 80 45 26 9 99 326 253 1st, South
1991–92 80 37 31 12 86 292 248 2nd, South
1992–93 80 40 33 7 87 348 332 2nd, South
1993–94 80 31 34 15 77 277 300 4th, South
1994–95 80 35 38 7 77 333 304 4th, South
1995–96 80 37 34 5 4 83 294 297 3rd, Central
1996–97 80 40 30 9 1 90 298 257 1st, Empire State
1997–98 80 30 38 12 0 72 238 260 5th, Empire State
1998–99 80 52 21 6 1 111 287 176 1st, Empire State
1999–00 80 46 22 9 3 104 247 201 1st, Empire State
2000–01 80 46 22 9 3 104 224 192 1st, Mid-Atlantic
2001–02 80 32 30 15 3 82 206 211 2nd, Central
2002–03 80 31 30 14 5 81 219 221 2nd, Central
2003–04 80 37 28 10 5 89 207 188 3rd, North
2004–05 80 51 19 6 4 112 243 208 1st, North
2005–06 80 37 39 2 2 78 261 270 5th, North
2006–07 80 48 30 1 1 98 269 250 2nd, North
2007–08 80 24 46 6 4 58 197 291 7th, North
2008–09 80 29 43 0 8 66 184 259 7th, North
2009–10 11 9 1 1 0 19 37 24 In progress


Playoffs

Season 1st round 2nd round 3rd round Finals
1956–57 W, 4-1, Providence L, 1-4, Cleveland
1957–58 Out of playoffs.
1958–59 L, 1-4, Buffalo
1959–60 W, 4-3, Cleveland L, 1-4, Springfield
1960–61 Out of playoffs.
1961–62 L, 0-2, Buffalo
1962–63 L, 0-2, Cleveland
1963–64 L, 0-2, Cleveland
1964–65 W, 4-1, Quebec bye W, 4-1, Hershey
1965–66 W, 4-2, Quebec bye W, 4-2, Cleveland
1966–67 W, 3-2, Cleveland W, 3-1, Baltimore L, 0-4, Pittsburgh
1967–68 W, 4-1, Hershey bye W, 4-2, Quebec
1968–69 Out of playoffs.
1969–70 Out of playoffs.
1970–71 Out of playoffs.
1971–72 Out of playoffs.
1972–73 L, 2-4, Boston
1973–74 L, 2-4, New Haven
1974–75 W, 4-2, Nova Scotia L, 1-4, Springfield
1975–76 W, 3-0, Providence L, 0-4, Nova Scotia
1976–77 W, 4-2, New Haven L, 2-4, Nova Scotia
1977–78 bye L, 2-4, New Haven
1978–79 Out of playoffs.
1979–80 L, 0-4, New Haven
1980–81 Out of playoffs.
1981–82 W, 3-1, New Haven L, 1-4, Binghamton
1982–83 W, 4-1, Binghamton W, 4-3, New Haven W, 4-0, Maine
1983–84 W, 4-3, St. Catharines W, 4-2, Baltimore L, 1-4, Maine
1984–85 L, 1-4, Baltimore
1985–86 Out of playoffs.
1986–87 W, 4-1, Hershey W, 4-2, Binghamton W, 4-3, Sherbrooke
1987–88 L, 3-4, Adirondack
1988–89 Out of playoffs.
1989–90 W, 4-1, Utica W, 4-2, Baltimore L, 2-4, Springfield
1990–91 W, 4-1, Hershey W, 4-0, Binghamton L, 2-4, Springfield
1991–92 W, 4-2, Hershey W, 4-3, Binghamton L, 1-2, Adirondack
1992–93 W, 4-1, Utica W, 4-3, Binghamton bye L, 1-4, Cape Breton
1993–94 L, 0-4, Hershey
1994–95 L, 1-4, Binghamton
1995–96 W, 3-0, Adirondack W, 4-0, Cornwall W, 4-1, Syracuse W, 4-3, Portland
1996–97 W, 3-0, Syracuse L, 3-4, Albany
1997–98 L, 1-3, Philadelphia
1998–99 W, 3-0, Adirondack W, 4-2, Hamilton W, 4-2, Philadelphia L, 1-4, Providence
1999–00 W, 3-2, Albany W, 4-2, Hamilton W, 4-0, Hershey L, 2-4, Hartford
2000–01 L, 1-3, Philadelphia
2001–02 L, 0-2, Philadelphia
2002–03 L, 1-2, Milwaukee
2003–04 W, 4-3, Syracuse W, 4-0, Hamilton L, 1-4, Milwaukee
2004–05 W, 4-0, Hamilton L, 1-4,Manitoba
2005–06 Out of playoffs.
2006–07 L, 2-4, Hamilton
2007–08 Out of playoffs.
2008–09 Out of playoffs.


Lost in preliminary round, prior to reaching first round of playoffs.

Head coaches

Asterix denotes number of Calder Cups won

Team records

Single season

Goals: 61 Paul Gardner (1985–86)
Assists: 73 Geordie Robertson (1982–83)
Points: 119 Geordie Robertson (1982–83)
Penalty minutes: 446 Rob Ray (1988–89)
GAA: 2.07 Martin Biron (1998–99)
SV%: .930 Martin Biron (1998–99)


Career

Career goals: 351 Jody Gage
Career assists: 377 Jody Gage
Career points: 728 Jody Gage
Career penalty minutes: 1424 Scott Metcalfe
Career goaltending wins: 108 Bob Perreault
Career shutouts: 16 Bob Perreault
Career games: 653 Jody Gage


Current roster

As of April 23, 2009. Data taken from AHL website.[61625]

Goaltenders
# align=left Player Catches Date of birth Place of birth
31 Alexander Salak L January 5, 1987 Strakonice, Czechoslovakia
30 Chris Beckford-Tseu L June 22, 1984 Toronto, ON, Canada
35 Tyler Plante R April 16, 1987 Milwaukee, WI, USA


Defensemen
# align=left Player Shoots Date of birth Place of birth
2 Michael Caruso L July 5, 1988 Mississauga, ON, Canada
3 Jason Garrison L November 13, 1984 White Rock, BC, Canada
4 Rory Fitzpatrick R January 11, 1975 Rochester, NY, USA
8 Keaton Ellerby L November 5, 1988 Strathmore, AB, Canada
23 Peter Aston R February 24, 1986 Toronto, ON, Canada
38 Luke Beaverson L December 11, 1984 St. Paul, MN, USA
25 Jordan Henry R February 11, 1986 Milo, AB, Canada


Forwards
# align=left Player Position Shoots Date of birth Place of birth
5 Janis Sprukts C L January 31, 1982 Riga, Latvia
7 Drew Larman C R May 15, 1985 Buffalo, NY, USA
10 Stefan Meyer LW L July 20, 1985 Fox Valley, SK, Canada
14 Michael Duco LW L July 8, 1987 Toronto, ON, Canada
15 Tanner Glass LW L November 29, 1983 Craven, SK, Canada
17 Dan Collins RW R February 26, 1987 Syracuse, NY, USA
19 Karl Stewart LW L June 30, 1983 Scarborough, ON, Canada
21 Shawn Matthias C L February 19, 1988 Mississauga, ON, Canada
22 Kenndal McArdle LW L January 4, 1987 Toronto, ON, Canada
26 Michal Repik RW R December 31, 1988 Vlasim, Czech Republic
27 Brett Parnham C R January 30, 1989 Orillia, ON, Canada
34 David Brine C L January 6, 1985 Truro, NS, Canada
42 Randall Gelech RW R February 2, 1984 Wynyard, SK, Canada
45 Riley Emmerson RW R February 7, 1986 Vancouver, BC, Canada


Staff
Title align=left Staff member
Head coach Benoit Groulx
Assistant coach Jason Cipolla


References

  1. WHAM is an extension of the first letters of the line's players: Hicke, Aldcorn and Migay
  2. http://amerks.com/Home/tabid/36/default.aspx?newsID=634


External links




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