As part of the American Hockey League’s 70th anniversary this season, theahl.com will be taking a look at some of the legendary careers that have been carved in the AHL over the last seven decades.
The highest scoring American-born player in AHL history, Ken Gernander was a model of consistency, courage and leadership during his 14 seasons in the league.
Drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in 1987, Gernander spent three seasons with their AHL affiliate in Moncton, helping the Hawks reach the Calder Cup Finals in 1994. He signed with the New York Rangers that summer, and in 1995-96, he was named captain of the Binghamton Rangers. He would go on to wear the “C” for the Blueshirts’ AHL affiliates for the next decade.
That 1995-96 season was Gernander’s finest offensively, scoring 44 goals and recording 73 points in 63 games for Binghamton. He had a streak of 211 consecutive AHL games played end that season when he earned his first career NHL recall.
When the Rangers moved their AHL operations to Hartford in 1997, Gernander became the face of the franchise, leading the Wolf Pack with 35 goals in their inaugural season. His crowning achievement came in 1999-2000, when he captained Hartford to the Calder Cup title, the first professional hockey championship in the city’s history.
Gernander’s numbers gradually declined, but his importance in the organization never did. With the parent Rangers in the midst of a nine-year absence from the Stanley Cup Playoffs, he was looked to as a mentor to the prospects who were developing within the system. Late in the 2003-04 season, Gernander was rewarded one more time for his work within the organization with a two-game call-up to New York, his first NHL action in seven years.
Upon his retirement in 2005, Gernander was named an assistant coach with the Wolf Pack, helping guide the team to a 104-point performance in 2005-06.
A native of Coleraine, Minn., Gernander recorded 293 goals and 331 assists for 624 points in 973 career AHL games, good for eighth on the league’s all-time games-played list. He also appeared in a league-record 123 Calder Cup Playoff contests, skated in three AHL All-Star Classics (captaining the PlanetUSA squad in 1999) and was a two-time recipient of the Fred T. Hunt Award for sportsmanship, determination and dedication to hockey.
In 2005, Gernander’s number 12 was retired to the rafters of the Hartford Civic Center, and in 2006, he was inducted in to the Binghamton Hockey Hall of Fame.
|Career AHL Statistics – Ken Gernander|
|1997-98||Hartford Wolf Pack||80||35||28||63||26||12||5||6||11||4|
|1998-99||Hartford Wolf Pack||70||23||26||49||32||7||1||2||3||2|
|1999-2000||Hartford Wolf Pack||79||28||29||57||24||23||5||5||10||0|
|2000-01||Hartford Wolf Pack||80||22||27||49||39||2||0||0||0||0|
|2001-02||Hartford Wolf Pack||75||18||31||49||19||10||1||3||4||4|
|2002-03||Hartford Wolf Pack||72||17||19||36||22||2||0||0||0||0|
|2003-04||Hartford Wolf Pack||77||12||19||31||28||16||3||4||7||2|
|2004-05||Hartford Wolf Pack||66||5||8||13||18||6||1||0||1||0|