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HersheyArchives@30-15 Hershey Bears: Champions in Every Decade

 

Hershey B’ars game program. 12/13/1933. The program includes an announcement of the formation of the EAHL.

 

Hershey Bears hockey fans were disappointed their Bears did not advance in the Calder Cup tournament this year, but Bears fans know their team is a team of champions.  Milton Hershey recognized hockey’s popularity in early 1931, constructed an ice rink, sponsored a team, and by 1936 built a new sports arena with a seating capacity of approximately 7,200 to house all the fans.

 

Hershey Convention Hall was completed in 1915, but it wasn’t until 1931 that an ice plant and rink were installed allowing the building to be utilized during the winter months.  The Ice Palace, as the building became known when the ice rink was operating, quickly became the playing surface for teams from as far away as Philadelphia.

 

An ice rink was installed in the Hershey Convention Hall during the winter of 1930-1931.

An ice rink was installed in the Hershey Convention Hall during the winter of 1930-1931.

 

During the 1932-1933 season the Tri-State League was formed and featured the Hershey B’ars as one of the league clubs.  The next season the Tri-State League reformed to the Eastern Amateur Hockey League (EAHL).  The Hershey B’ars began to outgrow the Ice Palace and as the team transitioned to the newly completed Hershey Sports Arena in 1936 their name was changed to the less commercial Hershey Bears.

 

Hershey Bears ice hockey team with ice skater Sonja Henie. 1/18/1937

Hershey Bears ice hockey team with ice skater Sonja Henie. 1/18/1937

 

At the conclusion of the 1937-1938 season the Bears won their third straight EAHL title and the United States Amateur Championship.  It was also their last year in the amateurs.  Hershey was granted a franchise in what was then known as the International-American Hockey League, now just known as the American Hockey League (AHL), in June 1938.

 

In the AHL the Hershey Bears continued to play well and reached the playoffs their first eight seasons in the league.  In 1946-1947, the Bear’s ninth season, they took home their first Calder Cup after being down three games in the series and winning the seventh game with a 5-0 shutout against the Pittsburgh Hornets.  Replacement goalie Gordon “Red” Henry, who had played only five regular-season games, allowed only one goal in the three final games of the series.

 

Hershey Bears goalie, Gordon "Red" Henry, ca1946-1955

Hershey Bears goalie, Gordon “Red” Henry, ca1946-1955

 

The Bears have won a championship in every decade since their organization.  After their initial victory in the Calder Cup tournament, the Hershey Bears have gone on to win eleven total to date.   In 2002, their fans transitioned with them from the “Old Barn” to the Giant Center, a 12,500-seat arena.  Mr. Hershey realized hockey was a popular attraction and today Hershey is proud to be the longest consecutive running club in AHL history.

 

Championship Seasons

 

1935-1936:

 

Hershey B’ars win their first Eastern Amateur Hockey League Championship under the leadership of coach Herb Mitchell.

 

1936-1937:

 

Hershey Bears win their second Eastern Amateur Hockey League Championship under the leadership of coach Herb Mitchell.

 

1937-1938:

 

Hershey Bears win their third straight Eastern Amateur Hockey League Championship under the leadership of coach Herb Mitchell.

 

1937-1938:

 

Hershey Bears defeat the Detroit Holzbaugh-Fords to win the United States Amateur Championship.

 

1946-1947:

 

Hershey Bears win their first Calder Cup Championship under the leadership of Coach Don Penniston.

 

1957-1958:

 

Hershey Bears win their second Calder Cup Championship under the leadership of player-coach Frank Mathers.

 

1958-1959:

 

Hershey Bears win their third Calder Cup Championship under the leadership of player-coach Frank Mathers.

 

1968-1969:

 

Hershey Bears win their fourth Calder Cup Championship under the leadership of general manager-coach Frank Mathers.

 

1973-1974:

 

Hershey Bears win their fifth Calder Cup Championship under the leadership of coach Chuck Hamilton.

 

1979-1980:

 

Hershey Bears win their sixth Calder Cup Championship under the leadership of player-coach Doug Gibson.

 

1987-1988:

 

Hershey Bears win their seventh Calder Cup Championship under the leadership of coach John Paddock. This success completes the team’s 50th Anniversary season.

 

1996-1997:

 

Hershey Bears win their eighth Calder Cup Championship under the leadership of coach Bob Hartley.  Mike McHugh is named Most Valuable Player of the Playoffs.

 

2005-2006:

 

Hershey Bears win their ninth Calder Cup Championship under the leadership of coach Bruce Boudreau.  Goalie Frederic Cassivi is named Most Valuable Player of the Playoffs.

 

2008-2009:

 

Hershey Bears win their 10th Calder Cup Championship under the leadership of coach Bob Woods.  Goalie Michal Neuvirth is named Most Valuable Player of the Playoffs.

 

2009-2010:

 

Hershey Bears win their 11th Calder Cup Championship under the leadership of coach Mark French.  Left winger Chris Bourque is named Most Valuable Player of the Playoffs. It is the team’s first Calder Cup victory in the Giant Center.

 

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