Everything You Need to Know About the Calder Cup
While there’s plenty of excitement to be found at any AHL game, playoffs can be an especially exciting time for any fan. Playoff championships attract a huge amount of attention, and in the AHL, teams compete to win the coveted Calder Cup. You might not be surprised to see how quickly Calder Cup tickets are sold out.
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 and its history.
How Long Has the Calder Cup Been Around?
Calder Cup history is as intriguing as it is rich. Like the AHL, it precedes the WBS Penguins by a few decades. The first Calder Cup winners were the Syracuse Stars during the AHL’s first season in 1937. However, the actual Cup was not presented to the Calder Cup winners 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 and a 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 introduction in 1937, except for 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 winners after their 2019 win of 4-1 over the Chicago Wolves.
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). Frank Calder maintained his position as president until he passed away in 1943.
Frank Calder faced numerous challenges during his tenure, including the Great Depression and World War II. But he successfully guided the NHL through these turbulent times, ensuring its survival and growth. He implemented policies to protect player welfare, promoted the game, and expanded the league’s reach into the United States.
This is also not the only award 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 both the Hockey Hall of Fame and Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.
Calder Cup Winners and Record Holders
The Calder Cup history is full of winners and record holders. There are a few teams that hold different records related to the Calder Cup. For example, the Hershey Bears are 11 times Calder Cup winners, ranking them at the top as the most successful team.
Other noteworthy teams include those who 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.
The Jack A. Butterfield Trophy is presented to the player who demonstrates exceptional performance, leadership, and contributions to his team’s success. The trophy was first awarded in 1984, and since then, it has become a prestigious accolade within the AHL.
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 after losing is Tim Tookey, who played for the Hershey Bears during the 1985-86 season, when they lost to the Adirondack Red Wings. Other notable recipients of the trophy include future NHL stars such as Chris Bourque, Corey Crawford, Dustin Brown, and Daniel Brière.
Follow Along with the Penguins for the Rest of the Season
From its inception in 1937, the Calder Cup has been the ultimate prize in the American Hockey League. The history of the Calder Cup is full of thrilling moments, notable champions, and players who have left their mark to this day. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a newcomer to the Calder Cup, this post has everything you need to know about this prestigious trophy.
While it may be a few months before you can see them play again, you can still get excited for the next season. Get your tickets to see the WBS Penguins play in the 2023-24 season!