SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The Hershey Bears and Hamilton Bulldogs both advanced to the 2007 Calder Cup Final by wrapping up their respective conference championship series tonight.
The Bears have won the Richard F. Canning Trophy as the AHL’s Eastern Conference champions for 2006-07, claiming the title with a 3-1 victory over the Manchester Monarchs in Manchester, N.H., on Saturday. The Bears will extend their own American Hockey League record by appearing the Calder Cup Final for the 20th time in team history, and are the first team since Rochester in 1999 and 2000 to reach the Finals in successive seasons. Hershey will now try to become the first team to repeat as league champions since the Springfield Indians in 1991.
The Bears, top affiliate of the Washington Capitals, have already won nine Calder Cup championships, tied with the Cleveland Barons for the most in league history. Hershey finished first in the overall AHL standings in 2006-07 with a record of 51-17-6-6 (114 points) before defeating Albany in the East Division semifinals (4-1), Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the division finals (4-1) and Manchester in the Eastern Conference championship series (4-0).
The Bulldogs have won the Robert W. Clarke Trophy as the AHL’s Western Conference champions for 2006-07, advancing with a 3-1 victory over the Chicago Wolves in Hamilton, Ont., on Saturday. It is the second conference championship in five seasons for the Bulldogs and the third in the franchise’s 11 seasons. Hamilton also reached the Calder Cup Final in 1997 (vs. Hershey) and 2003 (vs. Houston).
Hamilton, the top affiliate of the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens, finished third in the North Division during the regular season, amassing 95 points with a record of 43-28-3-6. The Bulldogs defeated three higher-seeded teams en route to the Calder Cup Final, eliminating Rochester in the division semifinals (4-2), Manitoba in the division finals (4-2) and Chicago in the Western Conference Final (4-1).
Established in 1990, the AHL’s conference championship trophies honor Richard F. Canning, who served the AHL for more than 50 years during his career, including a term as league president from 1958-61. Mr. Canning is recognized as the author of the AHL’s constitution, by-laws and regulations; and Robert W. Clarke, who served as the Chairman of the AHL’s Board of Governors from 1967-94, and who in 1956 played an instrumental role in the formation of the Rochester Americans, one of the most successful franchises in AHL history.
E1-Hershey Bears vs. N3-Hamilton Bulldogs
Game 1 – Fri., June 1 – Hamilton at Hershey, 7:00
Game 2 – Sat., June 2 – Hamilton at Hershey, 7:00
Game 3 – Mon., June 4 – Hershey at Hamilton, 7:30
Game 4 – Wed., June 6 – Hershey at Hamilton, 7:30
*Game 5 – Thu., June 7 – Hershey at Hamilton, 7:30
*Game 6 – Tue., June 12 – Hamilton at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 7 – Fri., June 15 – Hamilton at Hershey, 7:00