Everything You Need to Know About the Calder Cup

February 18, 2022 WBS Penguins
Penguins logo for the Hershey game.

While there’s plenty of excitement to be found at any AHL game you attend during the regular season, playoffs can be an especially exciting time for any fan, regardless of whether or not their time is in it. Playoff championships attract a huge amount of attention, and in the AHL, teams compete to win the coveted Calder Cup. The Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins have made it to the Calder Cup three times, with the first being in the 2000-01 season, the team’s second season.

Maybe you’ve had the chance to watch us play in the Calder Cup, but some may not be that familiar with the championship game. Here’s everything you should know about the Calder Cup.

How Long Has the Calder Cup Been Around?

The Calder Cup, like the AHL, precedes the WBS Penguins by a few decades. The first winners of the Calder Cup were the Syracuse Stars in 1937 during the AHL’s first season. However, the actual Calder Cup was not presented to the winning team until the following year when the Providence Reds beat the Syracuse Stars. According to the AHL, the current Calder Cup, made of a sterling silver base and mahogany base, is 24 inches tall and weighs 25 pounds. Plaques on the base of the Calder Cup list the former 20 winners, and as new plaques are added, old ones are put on display at the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The Calder Cup has been presented every year since its first in 1937, with the exception of the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of this, the Charlotte Checkers are the most recent Calder Cup champions after the 2019 win of 4-1 over the Chicago Wolves.

Frank Calder

The Calder Cup was named in honor of Frank Calder, the first president of the NHL and the last president of its predecessor, the National Hockey Association (NHA). Calder maintained his position as president until he passed away in 1943. This is also not the only award to be named in Calder’s honor – the Calder Memorial Trophy has been awarded to the NHL Rookie of the Year since the 1936-37 season. He has been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame and Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.

Calder Cup Record Holders

There are a few teams that hold different records related to the Calder Cup. The team that has won the most Calder Cup championships are the Hershey Bears, with a total of 11 wins. The Hershey Bears have also made it to the finals more than any other team, attending 23 times. Other noteworthy teams include those who have won the Calder Cup the same year their NHL team won the Stanley Cup. This includes the Nova Scotia Voyageurs, who have won the playoffs with the NHL affiliate twice, and the Albany River Rats. In 2008, the WBS Penguins made it to the finals for the Calder Cup, while Pittsburgh Penguins fell to the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup finals.

The Jack A. Butterfield Trophy

In addition to the Calder Cup, another award related to the playoffs is also awarded. The Jack A. Butterfield Trophy is awarded to the most valuable player in the playoffs and is named after the late AHL president Jack Butterfield, who served the longest tenure of any AHL executive. In most cases, the recipient of the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy plays for the winning team, but this isn’t a requirement. So far, the only player to receive the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy is Tim Tookey, who played for the Hershey Bears during the 1985-86 season, when they lost to the Adirondack Red Wings.

Follow Along with the Penguins for the Rest of the Season

While looking forward to the playoffs can be exciting, there’s still plenty of time left in the regular season to come out and support your favorite team. Get your tickets to see the WBS Penguins play before the season is over!