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 2013.
Honored by the AHL Hall of Fame Selection Committee as the eighth group of enshrinees are Harvey Bennett, Sr., Ken Gernander, Jim Morrison and Peter White.
“With their illustrious careers and outstanding achievements, these four individuals represent the best of the best in the storied history of the American Hockey League,” said David Andrews, AHL President and Chief Executive Officer. “The AHL Board of Governors unanimously approves the Selection Committee’s recommendation for their induction into the American Hockey League Hall of Fame.”
The Class of 2013 will be honored as part of the festivities in Providence, R.I., at the 2013 Dunkin’ Donuts AHL All-Star Classic. The American Hockey League Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Ceremony is scheduled for Monday, January 28, at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Providence.
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. The Network also includes TheAHL.com and all 30 official team sites, and hosts more than 250 million page views each year.
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 2011-12, more than 88 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.
Harvey Bennett played 13 seasons in the American Hockey League and was one of the league’s most successful goaltenders of his era, becoming synonymous with hockey in Rhode Island both during and after his playing career.
A native of Edington, Sask., Bennett made his professional debut with the NHL’s Boston Bruins in 1944-45, and was a Second Team All-Star in his first year in the AHL, going 34-15-11 with a 2.68 goals-against average for the eventual Calder Cup champion Hershey Bears in 1946-47.
Bennett moved to Providence in 1947 and made it three consecutive seasons leading the league in wins, posting a mark of 40-19-4 in 1947-48 and setting what was then an AHL record with 43 victories (43-18-6) in 1948-49. That spring, Bennett guided the Reds to a Calder Cup championship, and he would be a mainstay in the Providence cage for the next six years, returning to the Finals in 1952.
By the time his career ended in 1959, Bennett had appeared in 540 regular-season games and won 260 of them, numbers that today still rank fourth in AHL history.
Playing without a mask, Bennett was one of the most identifiable members of the Reds, and his recognition carried into the community as well. Bennett was a passionate promoter of youth hockey, running a hockey school at the Rhode Island Auditorium on Sunday mornings. He also opened a hockey pro shop in Cranston, R.I., which nearly 50 years later is still run by the Bennett family.
Bennett, who passed away in 2004 at the age of 79, saw five sons play hockey professionally including three – Curt, Harvey Jr. and Bill – who reached the NHL.
Ken Gernander has been a highly respected leader on and off the ice for more than two decades in the American Hockey League.
A native of Coleraine, Minn., Gernander was drafted by the Winnipeg Jets and spent his first three seasons with their AHL club in Moncton, helping the Hawks reach the Calder Cup Finals in 1994. He signed as a free agent with the New York Rangers that offseason, beginning a relationship that continues to this day.
After putting up 52 points and a plus-34 rating and winning a division title in his first season with the Binghamton Rangers, Gernander was named team captain in 1995 and would go on to wear the “C” for New York’s top affiliate for 10 seasons. In 1995-96, Gernander set career highs with 44 goals and 73 points, and his streak of 211 consecutive AHL games played was ended not by injury, but by his first career NHL recall. He was awarded the AHL’s Fred T. Hunt Award for sportsmanship, determination and dedication to hockey, the first of two times he would receive that honor.
Gernander moved to Hartford when the Rangers’ affiliate became the Wolf Pack in 1997, and he immediately became the heart of the franchise. He paced the team with 35 goals and led them to the conference finals in their first season, and two years later captained the team to the first professional hockey championship ever won by a team in Hartford as the Wolf Pack claimed the 2000 Calder Cup.
Gernander finished his playing career in 2005, at the time owning the most points (624) of any American-born player in league history. His 973 regular-season games played rank ninth all-time, and he retired with more Calder Cup Playoff games played (123) than anyone in league history (since surpassed).
Gernander immediately transitioned to the Hartford bench, serving as an assistant coach for two seasons before taking over the reins in 2007. In his first five seasons as head coach of the Wolf Pack (now the Connecticut Whale), Gernander has compiled a record of 208-158-30 (.563).
After moving from forward to the blue line in his early days as a professional, Jim Morrison was consistently one of the top defensemen in the AHL during a playing career that spanned 22 seasons.
A native of Montreal, Morrison debuted professionally in 1951-52, seeing AHL time with the Hershey Bears and Pittsburgh Hornets and NHL action in Boston and Toronto. Morrison would spend the next eight years exclusively in the NHL, but returned to the AHL with the Quebec Aces in 1960 and became a standout presence on the blue line at a time when it was still rare for a defenseman to contribute offensively.
Morrison was named an AHL postseason all-star six years in a row and seven times in eight seasons between 1961-62 and 1968-69, including six Second Team berths and a First Team nod in 1966 when he was also presented the Eddie Shore Award as the outstanding defenseman in the league. Morrison matched a career best with 11 goals that season and set personal bests with 48 assists and 59 points.
After helping the Aces to the Calder Cup Finals in 1968 – putting up 16 points in 15 postseason games – Morrison was traded to Baltimore and skated for the Clippers in 1968-69 before getting a chance to the NHL, spending two seasons with the fledgling Pittsburgh Penguins. Morrison returned to Baltimore in 1971 and was again named a Second Team AHL All-Star as the Clippers reached the Finals in 1972.
Off the ice, Morrison was a champion of improved conditions for players, and was elected the first president of the AHL players’ association upon its formation in 1967. Morrison retired after the 1972-73 season at the age of 41, having played more than 700 games in both the AHL (721) and the NHL (704). He tallied 426 points and earned a record eight postseason all-star selections over his 12 AHL seasons.
A 1989 draft pick by the Edmonton Oilers, Peter White was one of the AHL’s most dangerous offensive weapons in the 90’s.
White’s rookie season with the Cape Breton Oilers began slowly, but he showed improvement as the year went on and finished with 40 points in 64 games and six points in 16 playoff contests as the Oilers captured the 1993 Calder Cup title. White erupted for 70 points in 45 games with Cape Breton in 1993-94, and led the league with 69 assists and 105 points in just 65 contests in 1994-95.
White split the 1995-96 season between the Edmonton and Toronto organizations, then signed as a free agent with the Philadelphia Flyers. In his first two seasons with the Flyers’ new affiliate, the Philadelphia Phantoms, White led the league in goals (44) and points (105) in 1996-97, and then finished first in assists (78) and points (105) in 1997-98 for his third scoring title in four years. He then added 18 points in 20 playoff games as the Phantoms brought the Calder Cup to Philadelphia for the first time.
After leading the Phantoms in scoring again in 1998-99 (90 points) and a 61-point effort in 62 games in 1999-2000, White got an extended recall by the parent Flyers and was part of their run to the NHL’s conference finals in 2000. White spent the next four seasons with the Flyers and Chicago Blackhawks, and continued to produce nearly a point per game in the AHL with the Phantoms and Norfolk Admirals. His final AHL action came in 2004-05, when he notched 45 points in 80 games between Philadelphia and Utah.
A Second Team AHL All-Star at center in 1995 and 1997 and a three-time participant in the AHL All-Star Classic, White sits 14th on the AHL’s all-time scoring list with 783 points compiled over 747 career games, and is eighth all-time with 533 assists. He is joined by fellow AHL Hall of Famers Bill Sweeney, Bruce Boudreau and Tim Tookey as the only players to record three 100-point seasons in their careers, and White and Sweeney are the AHL’s only three-time AHL scoring champions.