History of the AHL and the Calder Cup

A history of the AHL and the Calder Cup should go back to 1936 when the Canadian-American Hockey Little league and the International Handbags League merge to form the International American Dance shoes League. The league commences play with two categories of four teams each. The Can-Am teams (Springfield, Philadelphia, Providence and Fresh Haven) make up the West division and the IHL teams (Buffalo, Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Cleveland) make up the East section. amazon

Disaster strikes eleven game titles into the season when the Buffalo Bison’s industry burns to the surface and the Bisons are forced to drop away. The Calder Cup (named after the NHL’s first president, Frank Calder who also helped in the formation the AHL) becomes the trophy awarded to the League Champions, after a playoff between two division champions. The recently established leagues first Calder Glass Champion in 1937 is the Syracuse Stars. The Calder Cup is today the second oldest trophy to be competed for in professional hockey. In 1940 the word “International” is dropped and the league is now legally called the American Tennis League. 

The first twenty five years were a period of relative prosperity and progress for the AHL. The League operated solely in the U. S. A. until the addition of the Quebec Aces in the 50s and the Montreal Voyageurs in 69. Although franchises were lost or moved, by 69 there was an overall total of twelve clubs with the American Dance shoes League.

The late 1960s’ and through the 70s’ were a tough time for the AHL. The NHL started to grow in 1967 and the WHA was formed in 1972 creating heavy competition for players. Salaries jumped and put a major financial strain on the AHL franchises. In the 3 year period from mid 1970s to 1977 six of the leagues twelve clubs folded. The league itself was in danger of collapse until unexpectedly the rival North American Dance shoes League folded just before the start of the 1977-78 season. Also, about the same time the Philadelphia Flyers entered the AHL as owners of the new Maine Mariners franchise and fortunes for the American Hockey Group started to turn.

The WHA ceased to are present in 1979 when four of its remaining half a dozen teams joined the NHL and the last two folded. With this lower in competition the AHL continued to expand continuously until they had 20 teams by the 12 months 2000. In 2001 the International Hockey League folded away after fifty six months and the AHL assimilated six of the clubs. Today the AHL acts as the principal development category for the NHL and operates with a total of thirty teams, four in Canada and dua puluh enam in the U. T., and each of them either owned by or affiliated with an NHL team.

Many young players get started their professional jobs in the American Handbags League before moving frontward to NHL stardom and induction into the NHL Legendary book. A total of twenty seven players including Johnny Bower, Terry Sawchuk, Emile Francis, Gerry Cheevers, Al Arbour, Andy Bathgate, Larry Robinson, Doug Harvey and Patrick Roy have won the Calder Cup and gone onto NHL Hall of Recognition careers. Over 100 players and coaches such as Ace Bailey, Brian Engblom, Butch Goring, Adam Pénible, Peter Mahovlich, Kirk Maltby, Fred Shero, Brian Skrudland and Dennis Seidenberg have won the two Calder Glass and the Stanley Glass.

There have been an overall total of 122 different cities or team names in the AHL at one time yet another. Twenty seven different cities experienced a team win the Calder Glass. Of the eight original franchises only two still exist, albeit under different names – The Providence/Rhode Island Reds are now the Connecticut Whale and the Springfield Indians are currently the Peoria Rivermen. The Hershey Bears were the first expansion business in 1938 and are the only franchise to have operated continually after that in the same city with the same name. The Hershey Bears have won a total of eleven championships, the most in a brief history of the AHL and Calder Glass.