The Washington Capitals, the NHL affiliate of the Hershey Bears, claimed the franchise’s first Stanley Cup championship on Thursday evening, thanks to a roster that prominently featured former members of the Chocolate and White. In total, 14 players on Washington’s playoff roster previously played in Hershey, including 10 former Bears who dressed in the Cup-clinching Game 5 win over the Vegas Golden Knights.
Washington’s roster included former Bears Jay Beagle, Madison Bowey, Travis Boyd, Andre Burakovsky, John Carlson, Pheonix Copley, Christian Djoos, Philipp Grubauer, Braden Holtby, Dmitry Orlov, Chandler Stephenson, Jakub Vrana, Nathan Walker and Tom Wilson.
Beagle and Carlson won back-to-back Calder Cups in Hershey in 2009 and 2010, while Holtby helped the club to the title in 2010. Beagle, Carlson and Holtby become the 123rd, 124th and 125th players ever to win both the Calder Cup and the Stanley Cup in their careers.
Djoos, Stephenson and Vrana were all standouts in Hershey for the past several years before becoming regular contributors to Washington’s lineup this season. All three players played large roles in leading the Bears to the 2016 Calder Cup Finals.
In addition, several staff members for Washington have ties to the Chocolate and White. Washington’s goaltending coach, Scott Murray, spent 2013-17 as the associate goaltending coach in Hershey. Hershey’s current video coach, Mike King, joined the Capitals for the club’s playoff run and has played a part in the team’s video analysis behind the scenes. Washington radio broadcaster John Walton called the action in Hershey from 2002-11, serving as the voice of Hershey’s Calder Cup championships in 2006, 2009 and 2010.
Washington’s championship marks the first time Hershey’s NHL affiliate has claimed the Stanley Cup since the Tampa Bay Lightning, a dual affiliate of the Bears for one season, won the title in 2004. The Capitals’ and Bears’ current affiliation began in 2005, with the two teams also working together from 1977-1984.