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 2010.
Honored by the AHL Hall of Fame Selection Committee as the fifth group of enshrinees are Macgregor Kilpatrick, John Paddock, Marcel Paillé and Bill Sweeney.
“The AHL Board of Governors proudly and enthusiastically endorses the selection committee’s recommendation that these four greats gain induction into the American Hockey League Hall of Fame in 2010,” said David Andrews, AHL President and CEO. “Whether it was on the ice, behind the bench or as a builder, each of these gentlemen has made outstanding contributions and maintained our league’s tradition of excellence. We are privileged to include them among the select group of honored members of the AHL Hall of Fame.”
The Class of 2010 will be honored as part of the festivities at the 2010 Time Warner Cable AHL All-Star Classic in Portland, Maine. The induction ceremony will take place on Tuesday, January 19.
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 and all 29 official team sites, and hosts more than 200 million page views each year.
Now in its 74th season of play, the AHL continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 84 percent of today’s NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and for the eighth year in a row, more than 6 million fans attended AHL games across North America in 2008-09.
Macgregor Kilpatrick will long be remembered as one of the American Hockey League’s most respected and influential executives. Possessing a wealth of knowledge and experience, Kilpatrick was an invaluable resource throughout his 27-year association with the AHL.
Kilpatrick was an avid athlete growing up and was an All-American soccer player at the United States Naval Academy, as well as a top-rated cadet. He served in the Pacific during World War II and was awarded the Navy’s highest commendation, the Navy Cross, for his valor and heroism in combat.
After the war, Kilpatrick earned a degree from Yale Law School and settled in the New Haven, Conn., area, forming his own law firm and becoming a probate court judge. His entrepreneurism and marketing savvy got him involved in the promotion of a new product called Silly Putty, now an American toy classic.
Sports always remained a passion of Kilpatrick’s, and he became affiliated with the American Hockey League in 1970 when, as the chairman of Sports Associates, he was approved as an owner of a new AHL franchise in New Haven that would begin play in 1972. In their first seven seasons as members of the American Hockey League, the New Haven Nighthawks made three trips to the Calder Cup Finals.
Kilpatrick would later serve the league as senior vice president and general counsel. He was selected as the recipient of the James C. Hendy Memorial Award in 1975-76 as the executive who made the most outstanding contributions to the league.
To honor Kilpatrick’s commitment and dedication to the AHL, the Board of Governors created the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy in the summer of 1997. Since then, the trophy has been awarded annually to the AHL team which finishes the regular season with the best overall record.
Kilpatrick passed away in August 1997 at the age of 81.
Drafted by the Washington Capitals in 1974, John Paddock spent most of his playing career as a hard-nosed forward in the American Hockey League. He scored 26 goals and racked up 206 penalty minutes during his rookie season with the Richmond Robins and skated for a season with the Springfield Indians, but his greatest on-ice successes came with the Maine Mariners. Paddock played parts of seven seasons in Portland, winning Calder Cup championships in 1978 and 1979 and hitting the 30-goal plateau on two separate occasions.
Playing for coaches Larry Wilson, Bob McCammon, Pat Quinn and Tom McVie in the AHL, Paddock also honed his own skills as a hockey educator and prepared himself for a future behind the bench. He was just 27 years old when he made his first foray into coaching in 1981-82, and he played the first six weeks of the 1983-84 season with Maine before trading in his skates for a whistle full-time, taking over the Mariners when Tom McVie was promoted to New Jersey. The Mariners finished third in the division that season but stormed through the playoffs and captured the franchise’s third Calder Cup.
McVie returned to Maine in 1984-85 and retained Paddock as his co-coach, and the duo led the Mariners to a division title. Paddock was then hired by Frank Mathers to guide the storied Hershey Bears, and one of the winningest stretches in franchise history ensued. Paddock led the Bears to two division crowns, the first 50-win season in club history and a place in AHL annals with a perfect postseason in 1988 as Hershey went 12-0 en route to the Calder Cup. Paddock also won the Louis A.R. Pieri Award as the AHL’s outstanding coach in 1987-88.
After four seasons coaching Philadelphia’s top prospects in Hershey, Paddock was promoted to assistant general manager of the Flyers, a position he held for a year before returning to the AHL as head coach of the Binghamton Rangers in 1990-91. Another successful AHL campaign earned the Oak River, Man., native the position of head coach and later GM of the Winnipeg Jets, and he remained with the organization through their move to Phoenix in 1996.
After two seasons scouting for the New York Rangers, Paddock returned to coaching in 1999-2000 and promptly led the Hartford Wolf Pack to the best record in the AHL during the regular season and the Calder Cup title, becoming the first coach ever to win the AHL championship with three different teams.
He returned to Binghamton in 2002 and spent three seasons with the Senators’ new affiliate there before being promoted to Ottawa in 2005. Paddock was back in the AHL as head coach of the Philadelphia Phantoms in 2008-09, and today is back in a familiar role as assistant GM of the Flyers, a post he was named to on July 9, 2009.
With his career record of 585-424-98, Paddock places third on the AHL’s all-time list of coaching wins and games coached (1,107), and only Bun Cook has more Calder Cups won as a coach than Paddock’s three. He has never missed the postseason in 14 tries as an AHL head coach, and his 82 playoff wins and 149 playoff games coached both stand as league records.
No goaltender in American Hockey League history has seen more action between the pipes than Marcel Paillé, who appeared in 765 games for six clubs between 1956 and 1974.
A native of Shawinigan Falls, Que., Paillé made his AHL debut in 1956 and he went 34-25-3 with the Cleveland Barons, backstopping the team to a Calder Cup championship. With his NHL rights owned by the New York Rangers, Paillé suited up for the Providence Reds in 1957-58 and the Buffalo Bisons in 1958-59, when he played in all 70 games and led the Bisons to a first-place finish.
In 1959 Paillé joined the Springfield Indians, where he would cement his place in AHL history as the last line of defense for the league’s greatest dynasty. The Indians won the Calder Cup each year during Paillé’s three seasons in Springfield, and they remain the only team ever to secure back-to-back-to-back AHL championships. Paillé’s 47 wins in 1960-61 were an AHL record at the time, and he won the Harry “Hap” Holmes Award in 1961 and 1962 for leading the league in goals-against average. Paillé went 107-54-8 with 12 shutouts in 169 games with Springfield.
Paillé moved on to Baltimore and helped the Clippers reach the playoffs in their inaugural season in 1962-63. He returned to Providence in 1965 and spent seven more seasons with the Reds, returning to the Calder Cup Finals in 1971. He finished his pro career with Richmond in 1973-74, helping the Robins to a postseason berth.
Paillé ranks second in AHL history with 349 wins and tied for fourth with 36 shutouts, and he earned five career postseason AHL All-Star Team nods, including First Team honors in 1959, 1961 and 1962. He holds the AHL records for games played by a goaltender in both the regular season and the playoffs, logging more than 50,000 minutes in an AHL crease. His shutout streak of more than 207 minutes during the 1962 playoffs also remains a league postseason record.
In recognition of his achievements with the Indians, Paillé was inducted into the Springfield Hockey Hall of Fame in 1997. He passed away in 2002 at the age of 69.
In parts of 12 seasons in the American Hockey League, Bill Sweeney was one of the most dangerous offensive weapons in the sport, primarily as the offensive catalyst of the three-time Calder Cup champion Springfield Indians.
A native of Guelph, Ont., Sweeney burst onto the professional scene with the Providence Reds in 1957-58, scoring 31 goals and adding 46 assists in 70 games and earning the Dudley “Red” Garrett Award as the AHL’s outstanding rookie. He followed that campaign up with another 31-goal season with the Buffalo Bisons in 1958-59, but it wasn’t until he arrived in Springfield that he truly became one of the league’s all-time elite scorers.
In 1959-60, Sweeney finished second in the league in scoring with 96 points and was named a First Team AHL All-Star as the Indians captured the city’s first Calder Cup. A year later, led by Sweeney’s 40 goals and league-best 108 points, Springfield dominated the rest of the AHL and rolled to another title. And in 1961-62, Sweeney scored 40 goals and paced the league with 101 points en route to a third consecutive Calder Cup, a feat still unmatched in AHL history.
Although the Indians narrowly missed the playoffs in 1963, Sweeney continued to shine offensively and became the first – and still only – AHL player to win three consecutive scoring titles, as well as the only one to reach the 100-point mark on three straight occasions. His 155 goals and 408 points from 1959-63, combined with the troikas of scoring crowns and Calder Cups, two First Team All-Star berths and a Second Team nod, represent the most productive four-year span by any player in AHL history.
Sweeney remained a productive member of the Indians through the 1966-67 season when he recorded 66 points in 65 games, marking the seventh time in 10 years that he led his team in scoring. Sweeney began the following season with the Springfield Kings after the new NHL expansion club in Los Angeles purchased the AHL franchise, and saw his final AHL action with a 10-game stint for the Rochester Americans in 1968-69.
Four decades after playing his last AHL game, Sweeney remains one of only 10 players in league history with as many as 800 career points, retiring with 294 goals and 510 assists in just 695 games. Sweeney was just 54 when he passed away in 1991; he was posthumously inducted into the Springfield Hockey Hall of Fame in 1996.