The Hershey Bears have won the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy as the American Hockey League’s 2006-07 regular season points champion. The Bears clinched first place overall with a 6-1 victory over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Friday night.
With two games still remaining, the Bears own a record of 50-16-6-6, good for 112 points. The defending Calder Cup champions will have home-ice advantage throughout the 2007 playoffs, which begin next week. Hershey will open with a best-of-seven series against the Albany River Rats.
This marks the sixth time in the 69-year history of the Bears franchise that they have finished first overall, and the first time since 1988. Hershey’s division title is its first since 1994.
The Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy, which was instituted in 1997, honors the late Macgregor Kilpatrick, a member of the AHL Board of Governors for 27 years. Kilpatrick also served as the AHL’s senior vice president and general counsel during his tenure, and earned the James C. Hendy Award in 1976 as the league’s outstanding executive.
Now in its 71st season of play, the AHL continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 83 percent of today’s NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and more than 6.3 million fans have attended AHL games across North America in each of the past five seasons. Sixteen clubs will continue to vie for the league’s coveted championship trophy when the 2007 Calder Cup Playoffs get underway next week.