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 2009.
Honored by the AHL Hall of Fame Selection Committee as the fourth group of enshrinees are Jimmy Anderson, Bruce Boudreau, Les Cunningham and Louis Pieri.
“The selection committee’s recommendation to induct these four legends into the American Hockey League Hall of Fame has been unanimously and enthusiastically endorsed by the AHL Board of Governors,” said David Andrews, AHL President and CEO. “Each of these new members helped to define our league’s great history through his standards of excellence during his AHL career, and we are privileged to have them join the very select group of honored members of the AHL Hall of Fame.”
The Class of 2009 will be honored as part of the festivities at the 2009 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Charter Communications in Worcester, Mass. The induction ceremony will take place as part of the AHL All-Star Classic Luncheon on Monday, January 26.
In a unique effort to make the rich tradition of the AHL available to the widest possible audience, 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. The Network also includes theahl.com, caldercup.com and all 29 official team sites, and hosts more than 200 million page views each year.
Now in its 73rd season of play, the AHL continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 80 percent of today’s NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and for the seventh year in a row, more than 6 million fans attended AHL games across North America in 2007-08.
JAMES WILLIAM (JIMMY) ANDERSON
The all-time leader in games, goals and points by an American Hockey League player in the city of Springfield, Jimmy Anderson spent all but a fraction of his 16-year AHL career with the Indians and Kings.
A native of Pembroke, Ont., Anderson made an immediate impact in Springfield, scoring 39 goals and claiming the Dudley “Red” Garrett Award as the AHL’s outstanding rookie in 1954-55.
Anderson would become one of the offensive leaders on the Indians’ record-setting clubs of the early 1960’s as Springfield became the first – and still the only – franchise in league history to capture three consecutive Calder Cup championships.
In 1960-61, Anderson earned a Second Team AHL All-Star berth at left wing, posting a career-best 81 points and leading the AHL with 43 goals, his first of five straight 30-goal efforts. More accolades followed in 1963-64 as another 40-goal output resulted in another Second Team All-Star nod.
In 1967, the NHL’s expansion Los Angeles Kings took over hockey operations in Springfield. Anderson continued to don his familiar number 10 and recorded the 12th and final 20-goal season of his AHL career in 1967-68. That year, at age 37, he also finally made his debut in the National Hockey League with Los Angeles.
Anderson closed out his playing career with 426 goals and 821 points in 943 games, good for a place in the AHL’s all-time top 10 in all three categories.
Anderson also served two stints as Springfield’s head coach (1969-70, 1975-76), and was the first head coach in the history of the NHL’s Washington Capitals.
BRUCE ALLAN BOUDREAU
An award-winning coach in the National Hockey League, Bruce Boudreau was a dynamic scorer during his playing days in the AHL and a championship-winning coach behind an American Hockey League bench.
A Toronto native, Boudreau was drafted by his hometown Maple Leafs in 1975 and made his AHL debut with the Leafs’ affiliate in Moncton, New Brunswick, during the 1978-79 season. A year later, his team-high 36 goals and 90 points helped the Hawks to a berth in the Calder Cup Finals.
With the St. Catharines Saints in 1982-83, Boudreau engaged in one of the most heated scoring races in league history. He finished second to Ross Yates but still bettered the previous AHL scoring record with 122 points, and he hit the 50-goal plateau with a hat trick on the final day of the season.
Boudreau joined the Baltimore Skipjacks in 1984-85 and made a return trip to the Finals, then spent two seasons in Halifax with the Nova Scotia Oilers. In 1987-88, Boudreau went to Springfield and had another record-setting season, leading the AHL in scoring with 116 points and becoming the second player ever with three 100-point campaigns.
Boudreau’s playing career ended during the 1992 postseason with a stint for the Adirondack Red Wings, who were on their way to a Calder Cup championship. He immediately joined the coaching ranks and returned to the AHL with the Los Angeles Kings organization, spending two seasons with the Lowell Lock Monsters (1999-2001) and four with the Manchester Monarchs (2001-05) and qualifying for the postseason each year.
Boudreau was hired by the Washington Capitals in 2005 and coached the Hershey Bears to a Calder Cup championship in his first season in Chocolatetown. That was followed by the winningest regular season in the Bears’ long and proud history and a return to the Finals in 2006-07.
In November 2007, with 340 career AHL coaching victories under his belt, Boudreau was promoted to Washington and penned another chapter to his remarkable story, leading the Capitals to a division title and earning the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s coach of the year.
Boudreau’s 483 career assists and 799 career points both rank 11th in AHL history, while his 316 goals are good for 14th place. Of the 72 players in AHL history with at least 500 career points, Boudreau ranks second with an average of 1.26 points per game.
LESLIE ROY (LES) CUNNINGHAM
Considered the first superstar in the American Hockey League, Les Cunningham played 10 seasons in Cleveland and retired as the fledgling league’s career scoring leader.
After two seasons with the Buffalo Bisons of the International Hockey League – one of two leagues that merged to form the AHL in 1936 – Cunningham joined the Cleveland Falcons in 1936-37. The centerman won one Calder Cup with the re-named Barons in 1939, and then another in 1941 when he led the AHL in scoring with 64 points in 56 games. Cunningham also earned a spot on the Second All-Star Team that spring, his first of five consecutive postseason all-star berths.
In 1941-42, Cunningham was chosen to participate in the first AHL All-Star event, a charity game held in Cleveland to raise funds for the American and Canadian military efforts in World War II.
Cunningham established a career high in 1942-43 when he racked up 82 points in just 55 games, and in 1944-45 he led the Barons to a third Calder Cup title with 80 points in the regular season and 11 more in the playoffs.
Cunningham remained a team leader and fan favorite as capacity crowds continued to pack the Arena in Cleveland night in and night out. By the time he announced his retirement from the AHL in the summer of 1947, Cunningham had recorded 233 goals and 346 assists for 579 points in 519 games.
Prior to the 1947-48 season, the American Hockey League established the Les Cunningham Plaque, which for six decades has been presented annually to the league’s most valuable player.
A native of Calgary, Cunningham passed away in 1993 at the age of 79.
LOUIS ARTHUR RAYMOND PIERI
A long-time contributor to the American Hockey League as general manager and owner of the Providence Reds, Louis A.R. Pieri had a prolific career at the helm of one of the league’s most fabled franchises.
A graduate of Providence’s prestigious Brown University, Pieri became general manager of the Rhode Island Auditorium and its primary tenant, the Providence Reds, in 1929, and helped guide the team into the American Hockey League as one of its charter members in 1936. The Pieri family soon took over ownership of the arena and of the Reds and helped build an AHL tradition for generations of Rhode Islanders to come.
Under Pieri’s watch, the Reds won a total of eight AHL division titles and four Calder Cup championships (1938, 1940, 1949, 1956). Pieri also served as a co-owner of the NBA’s Providence Steamrollers and later of the Boston Celtics.
Following Pieri’s death in 1967, the American Hockey League established the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award, which is presented each year to the league’s outstanding coach.
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