Americans name anniversary team

In conjunction with the announcing of the Rochester Americans’ 50th Anniversary Team, the organization has begun fan balloting to name the team’s starting lineup. Fans can choose three forwards, two defensemen and one goalie for the All-Time Team, with the results being announced in February.

On-line and in-arena voting begins November 6th, when the Americans host the Toronto Marlies. Voting concludes on Wednesday, February 1st.

A 13-member panel sorted through nearly 1,000 names and selected 24 players and two coaches for the 50th Anniversary Team. The committee was comprised of season ticket holders, print and electronic media personnel and Amerks management.

The team includes two coaches, two goalies, six defensemen and 12 forwards. The historic club also features defenseman Don Cherry, right wing Jim Jackson and left wings Les Duff and Bob “Battleship” Kelly in the “Role Players” category. The final four players were recognized for their commitment and dedication to the team.

The credentials of the team members are very impressive as 23 of the 26 are in the Amerks Hall of Fame and 20 played on Calder Cup championship teams, including 10 from the inaugural Cup team in 1965.

Further, the team features 27 AHL All-Star Team selections and five Les Cunningham Awards as the AHL’s regular season MVP. In addition, the team has two Harry “Hap” Holmes Awards as the league’s outstanding goaltender(s), one Eddie Shore Award (outstanding defenseman) and one Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award for AHL coach of the year. If that wasn’t enough, the Anniversary Team members have collected three John B. Sollenberger Trophies as the league’s leading scorer. (All honors were received as members of the Amerks.)

The 50th Anniversary Team is led by the only two Rochester coaches to eclipse 200 wins, Joe Crozier and John Van Boxmeer. Crozier is second in team history with 260 wins and led Rochester to its first three Cups in a four-year span in 1965, 1966 and 1968. He was the team’s head coach from 1963-68 and 1983-84. He also worked as the team’s general manager from 1964-68.

Van Boxmeer is the all-time leader in coaching wins with 333 in a record 690 games behind the Rochester bench. In 1986-87, he guided the Amerks to their fifth Calder Cup title. Van Boxmeer coached the Amerks for nine seasons (1984-90, 92-95).

Among the other members of the Americans’ 50th Anniversary Team are goaltenders Gerry Cheevers and Bobby Perreault, defenseman Al Arbour and forwards Jody Gage, Bronco Horvath, Dick Gamble and Chris Taylor, the current Amerks captain.

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