Rockford, Ill. – After winning their respective conference championships, the Lake Erie Monsters and Hershey Bears are set to battle for American Hockey League supremacy in the 2016 Calder Cup Finals, which begin Wednesday, June 1.
Lake Erie, the top affiliate of the National Hockey League’s Columbus Blue Jackets, finished the 2015-16 regular season in second place in the Central Division and third in the Western Conference. The Monsters were red-hot down the stretch by winning 16 of their final 23 regular season tilts (16-5-1-1) and continued the momentum in the playoffs.
The Monsters knocked off the IceHogs in three games (3-0) in the Central Division Semifinals before eliminating the Grand Rapids Griffins in the Central Division Finals (4-2). Lake Erie then swept the Ontario Reign (4-0) in the Western Conference finals to advance to their first-ever Calder Cup Finals.
Hershey, the top affiliate of the NHL’s Washington Capitals, captured the Atlantic Division during the regular season before dispatching the Portland Pirates (3-2), Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (4-3) and Toronto Marlies (4-1) to reach the Calder Cup Finals. The Bears have reached the Finals 23 times since joining the league in 1938 and won the championship on 11 of those occasions.
Hershey carries home-ice advantage by virtue of a .645 winning percentage compared to Lake Erie’s .638.
The matchup pits two former IceHogs in battle against each other. Hershey defenseman Ryan Stanton skated with the IceHogs from 2009-13 and will try to stop Lake Erie’s Alex Broadhurst, who played in Rockford from 2013-15.
Fans can catch all the action during the 2016 Calder Cup Finals for free on AHL Live (ahllive.com) by using the promo code: CALDERCUP2016.
The Calder Cup Finals begin on Wednesday, June 1 and the following is a full schedule of the best-of-seven series.
2016 Calder Cup Finals – Series “O” (best-of-7)
A1-Hershey Bears vs. C2-Lake Erie Monsters
Game 1 – Wed., June 1 – Lake Erie at Hershey, 6:00
Game 2 – Fri., June 3 – Lake Erie at Hershey, 6:00
Game 3 – Mon., June 6 – Hershey at Lake Erie, 6:00
Game 4 – Sat., June 11 – Hershey at Lake Erie, 6:00
*Game 5 – Sun., June 12 – Hershey at Lake Erie, 5:00
*Game 6 – Tue., June 14 – Lake Erie at Hershey, 6:00
*Game 7 – Fri., June 17 – Lake Erie at Hershey, 6:00
*if necessary... All times Central
About the Calder Cup
While the AHL’s history dates back to the fall of 1936, the Calder Cup trophy was first awarded in 1938 to the Providence Reds for winning the second International-American Hockey League championship. (In 1996, George Parsons of the Syracuse Stars was presented the Calder Cup in a ceremony at the Onondaga County War Memorial; it is believed the Stars never received a trophy for their 1937 championship.) The Calder Cup is named for Frank Calder, the first president of the NHL (1917-43) and one of the driving forces behind the formation of the AHL.
In 2001, the trophy’s base was changed to include two tiers of plaques, which feature the rosters of each of the last 20 Calder Cup champions; the plaques from the first 59 champions are on display in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. The entire trophy now stands 24 inches tall and weighs 35 pounds. The bowl, made of sterling silver, is 12 inches high and eight inches in diameter; the base is made of Brazilian mahogany.