It Bears repeating: Hershey wins Calder Cup again

HERSHEY, Pa. ( … For the second year in a row and the 13th time in their storied franchise history, the Hershey Bears are Calder Cup champions.

The Bears completed their repeat performance with a 5-4 overtime victory over the Coachella Valley Firebirds tonight at Giant Center, winning the 2024 Calder Cup Finals series four games to two. Pierrick Dubé recorded a hat trick and Matt Strome scored the Cup-clinching goal at 1:06 of overtime.

Forward Hendrix Lapierre won the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy as the most valuable player of the 2024 Calder Cup Playoffs. Lapierre, a first-round selection by the Washington Capitals in the 2020 NHL Draft, led the AHL in playoff scoring with 22 points (seven goals, 15 assists) in 20 games, including seven points in the Finals and a goal and an assist in Game 6 tonight.

The Bears are the first AHL team to successfully defend their Calder Cup title since Hershey won back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010. Their 2024 championship marks the club’s fifth Calder Cup since becoming the top development affiliate of the Capitals in 2005. Under head coach Todd Nelson, who won his third Calder Cup as a head coach and fifth of his career overall, Hershey defeated the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (3-1), the Hartford Wolf Pack (3-0) and the Cleveland Monsters (4-3) before defeating Coachella Valley in the Finals for the second straight spring.

Hershey’s victory brings an end to the AHL’s 88th season. In operation since 1936, the AHL continues to serve as the top development league for all 32 National Hockey League teams. Nearly 90 percent of today’s NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and more than 100 honored members of the Hockey Hall of Fame spent time in the AHL in their careers.

NOTES: Attendance for Game 6 was 11,013, the largest crowd at Giant Center history… Dubé’s hat trick was the fifth by a Hershey skater in Finals history… Strome’s game-winner marked the 11th time in league history that the Calder Cup was decided in overtime… Ryan Winterton scored twice and Shane Wright and Cameron Hughes had three assists each for the Firebirds in Game 6.

(Hershey wins series, 4-2)
Game 1 – Fri., June 14 – Coachella Valley 4, HERSHEY 3
Game 2 – Sun., June 16 – HERSHEY 5, Coachella Valley 2
Game 3 – Tue., June 18 – COACHELLA VALLEY 6, Hershey 2
Game 4 – Thu., June 20 – Hershey 3, COACHELLA VALLEY 2
Game 5 – Sat., June 22 – Hershey 3, COACHELLA VALLEY 2
Game 6 – Mon., June 24 – HERSHEY 5, Coachella Valley 4 (OT)