Cunningham was one of AHL’s first stars

As part of the American Hockey League’s 70th anniversary this season, will be taking a look at some of the legendary careers that have been carved in the AHL over the last seven decades.

One of its original stars, Les Cunningham’s career actually predated the AHL, as he skated two seasons with the Buffalo Bisons before they joined the newly-formed American Hockey League in 1936.

Cunningham’s 10 AHL seasons were all spent with the Cleveland Barons, where he won three Calder Cup championships and was named to five postseason AHL All-Star Teams, all in succession from 1941-45.

The Calgary native led the league in scoring in 1941, and played in the first AHL All-Star Game, a World War II fundraiser in 1942.

By the time he played his final game for the Barons in 1947, Cunningham was the league’s career scoring leader with 579 points in 517 games.

In 1947-48, the AHL introduced the Les Cunningham Plaque, which is still awarded annually to the league’s most valuable player.

Career AHL Statistics – Les Cunningham
Regular SeasonPlayoffs
1936-37Cleveland Falcons1944817
1937-38Cleveland Barons481928475521230
1938-39Cleveland Barons5226204649964100
1940-41Cleveland Barons562242641093582
1941-42Cleveland Barons562535602354264
1942-43Cleveland Barons553547822442240
1943-44Cleveland Barons52265278131164100
1944-45Cleveland Barons5635458041138112
1945-46Cleveland Barons6233447710746105
1946-47Cleveland Barons618293711
AHL Totals5172333465792165829336213