SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League today announced the four people selected for induction into the American Hockey League Hall of Fame as the Class of 2014.
Honored by the AHL Hall of Fame Selection Committee as the ninth group of enshrinees are Bill Dineen, Al MacNeil, Bob Perreault and John Slaney.
“The achievements and contributions of these four individuals throughout their American Hockey League careers make them an integral part of the fabric of our storied history,” said David Andrews, AHL President and Chief Executive Officer. “The AHL Board of Governors is proud to unanimously approve the Selection Committee’s recommendation for their induction into the American Hockey League Hall of Fame.”
The Class of 2014 will be honored as part of the festivities in St. John’s, N.L., at the 2014 AHL All-Star Classic. The American Hockey League Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Ceremony is scheduled for February 12, 2014, at the St. John’s Convention Centre.
Formed in 2006 to recognize, honor and celebrate individuals for their outstanding achievements and contributions in the American Hockey League, the AHL Hall of Fame is housed on-line at www.AHLHallofFame.com and is accessible to fans worldwide with the click of a mouse as part of the AHL Internet Network.
In operation since 1936, the AHL continues to serve as the top development league for the players, coaches, managers, executives and broadcasters of all 30 National Hockey League teams, as well as the NHL’s on-ice officials. By season’s end in 2012-13, more than 87 percent of all NHL players were American Hockey League graduates, including more than 200 former first- and second-round draft picks and more than 300 players who appeared in both leagues last season alone.
Bill Dineen’s long and successful hockey career included two turns in the American Hockey League – first as a player and later as a decorated head coach.
A native of Arvida, Que., Dineen played five seasons in the NHL and won two Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings before making his AHL debut with the Buffalo Bisons in 1958. Dineen topped the 20-goal mark four times in his six years with Buffalo, Cleveland, Rochester and Quebec, and made appearances in the Calder Cup Finals in 1959 and 1964.
Dineen transitioned to coaching as his playing career wound down, and he would win championships in both the Western Hockey League and the World Hockey Association before returning to the AHL as head coach of the Adirondack Red Wings in 1983. Dineen’s six seasons behind the bench in Glens Falls saw him win the Louis A.R. Pieri Award as the AHL’s outstanding coach in 1985 and again in 1986, and he led the Red Wings to Calder Cup titles in 1986 and 1989.
Dineen went on to serve as the Adirondack Red Wings’ general manager in 1989-90, and was later head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers. He settled with his family in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains, as many of his former players also did, and his sons Shawn, Peter, Gord, Kevin and Jerry all went on to play and/or coach in the AHL.
Bill Dineen tallied 271 points in 391 AHL games during his playing career and earned a coaching record of 246-182-52 in becoming one of the most beloved figures in Glens Falls’ AHL history. He is one of just 12 coaches ever to win more than one Calder Cup, and one of only two to earn the Pieri Award in consecutive seasons.
A sturdy defenseman who played more than 500 games in the National Hockey League, Al MacNeil owns a place in AHL history thanks to his successes behind the bench.
MacNeil spent parts of four seasons on the blue line with the Rochester Americans from 1956-60, earning spot duty with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He later played for the Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Black Hawks, New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins in the NHL before moving into the coaching ranks in 1968.
Returning to the Canadiens organization, MacNeil was player/coach for the AHL’s Montreal Voyageurs in 1969-70, skating in 66 games and guiding the first-year squad to a league-best 43-15-14 record. He was brought up to the parent club as an assistant coach in 1970-71 and was promoted to head coach mid-year, piloting the Canadiens to a Stanley Cup championship that spring.
After the Voyageurs moved to Halifax in the offseason, MacNeil, a Nova Scotia native, was appointed head coach of the AHL club. In 1971-72, he led the Vees to a 41-21-14 record and their first Calder Cup championship, earning the Louis A.R. Pieri Award as the league’s outstanding coach. Nova Scotia returned to the Finals in 1973 and qualified for the playoffs again in 1974 and 1975 under MacNeil’s direction.
MacNeil’s Voyageurs posted two of the greatest back-to-back seasons in AHL history in 1975-76 and 1976-77, combining for 100 regular-season wins and capturing consecutive Calder Cups. MacNeil, who won his second Pieri Award in 1976, guided the Voyageurs to four 100-point campaigns in his seven years at the helm.
MacNeil returned to Montreal as the Canadiens’ director of player personnel and won two more Stanley Cups in 1978 and 1979 – giving him six league championships in nine seasons. He joined the Atlanta Flames as head coach in 1979-80 and was assistant general manager of Calgary’s Stanley Cup winning team in 1989.
With a 304-149-78 record in his six seasons as an AHL head coach, MacNeil owns the highest winning percentage (.646) in league history. He is one of only six coaches ever to win as many as three Calder Cups, and one of six men ever to coach championship teams in both the AHL and the NHL. Players who skated under MacNeil’s tutelage in the AHL include Hockey Hall of Fame members Larry Robinson, Bob Gainey, Steve Shutt and Guy Lapointe.
Bob Perreault starred in the American Hockey League during a professional career that spanned more than two decades.
Born in Trois-Rivieres, Que., Perreault made his pro debut with the AHL’s Providence Reds in 1951 playing behind another future AHL Hall of Famer, Harvey Bennett. In 1956-57, Perreault joined the Rochester Americans, helping the expansion club reach the Calder Cup Finals in its inaugural season.
Perreault’s next five campaigns were spent with the Hershey Bears, and he soon became one of the league’s elite netminders. In both 1957-58 and 1958-59, Perreault earned Second Team AHL All-Star honors while backstopping the Bears to consecutive Calder Cup championships. He was a Second Team selection again in 1961-62, winning a league-high 36 games for Hershey.
Returning to Rochester in 1965, Perreault reached three more Calder Cup Finals and won championships with the Americans in 1966 and 1968. His 1967-68 season saw him lead the AHL in wins (31), shutouts (six) and goals-against average (2.88), earning his fourth career berth on the Second All-Star Team.
Perreault, whose four Calder Cups are tied for the most ever by a goaltender, ranks sixth with 229 victories and third with 37 shutouts in his American Hockey League career. Perreault passed away in 1980 at the age of 49.
A first-round draft pick by the Washington Capitals in 1990, John Slaney became one of the AHL’s premier offensive defensemen over his career.
Slaney came to the American Hockey League in 1992 and picked up a goal and an assist in his professional debut, a sure sign of things to come. With the Baltimore Skipjacks in 1992-93, Slaney set league records for goals (20) and points (66) in a season by a rookie defenseman, and he had 27 points in 29 games with the Portland Pirates in 1993-94 before spending the rest of the season with the parent Capitals.
Over the next five years, Slaney would spend the majority of his time playing for Washington, Colorado, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Nashville in the NHL before signing with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1999. With the expansion Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in 1999-2000, Slaney saw time both at defense and forward and had a career year, leading the team with 30 goals and 60 points in just 49 games while quickly becoming a fan favorite.
In 2001, on the eve of the AHL All-Star Classic in Wilkes-Barre, Slaney was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers. The Penguins’ departing captain took one last bow in front of the home crowd and earned All-Star Game MVP honors with a three-point performance. By season’s end, Slaney had racked up 67 points in 65 games between Wilkes-Barre and the Philadelphia Phantoms, and was voted the winner of the Eddie Shore Award as the AHL’s top defenseman.
In 2001-02, Slaney was named a team captain for the AHL All-Star Classic held in his native St. John’s, N.L., and went on to capture the Eddie Shore Award again, becoming just the third player ever to win it in back-to-back years. He was a Second Team AHL All-Star in 2003-04 on the strength of 19 goals, 48 assists and a plus-20 rating in 59 games for the Phantoms, and in 2005 he helped Philadelphia to a Calder Cup title.
Slaney made his fifth career All-Star Classic appearance in 2006, and on Jan. 21, 2007, he became the first defenseman in AHL history to reach 500 career points. Slaney, who finished his playing career in Europe, returned to the AHL as an assistant coach with the Portland Pirates in 2011 and remains in that position today.
At the time of his last game, Slaney’s career totals of 166 goals, 353 assists and 519 points were all career records for an AHL defenseman.