- The Manitoba Moose are making the franchise’s first appearance in a league final. The team began play in the International Hockey League as the Minnesota Moose in 1994, moved to Winnipeg in 1996 and joined the AHL in 2001. The last pro hockey championship series played in Winnipeg was the World Hockey Association’s 1979 final, won by the Winnipeg Jets over Wayne Gretzky and the Edmonton Oilers.
- The Hershey Bears are making their 21st Calder Cup Finals appearance in 71 AHL seasons, extending their own league record. The Bears have won nine Cups, tied with the original Cleveland Barons franchise for the most ever.
- Hershey is the sixth consecutive East Division team, and the sixth straight from the state of Pennsylvania,to reach the Calder Cup Finals. Manitoba is just the second North Division team in eight years (Hamilton 2007) to play for the Cup.
- Manitoba finished first overall in the AHL’s regular-season standings, while Hershey was first in the Eastern Conference. The last time the league’s two regular-season conference champions met in the Calder Cup Finals was 2000 (Hartford vs. Rochester).
- Hershey, which won the Calder Cup in 2006 and was runner-up in 2007, is the first team since Rochester (1990, 1991, 1993) to reach the Finals three times in a four-year span.
- The Bears feature four players who were on their 2006 championship team: Chris Bourque, Graham Mink, Tyler Sloan and Dean Arsene.
- Manitoba forward Jason Krog was the MVP of the 2008 Calder Cup Playoffs with Chicago. He enters this year’s Finals with 36 goals (12th all-time), 66 assists (third) and 102 points (fifth) for his AHL postseason career. Krog also reached the Calder Cup Finals with Bridgeport in 2002 and the Stanley Cup Finals with Anaheim in 2003.
- Manitoba goaltender Cory Schneider, the 26th overall pick by Vancouver in the 2004 NHL draft, is in the Calder Cup Finals in just his second professional season after reaching the NCAA’s championship game twice at Boston College. In 2006, Schneider stopped 37 of 39 shots in a 2-1 loss to a Wisconsin team that included current Hershey forward Andrew Joudrey.
- Hershey forward Alexandre Giroux, the AHL’s MVP and scoring champion in 2008-09, is in the Calder Cup Finals for the second time (2007, Hershey). Giroux could become the third consecutive player to lead the AHL in scoring in the regular season and the playoffs in the same season, following Jason Krog in 2008 and Darren Haydar in 2007.
- Hershey’s Michal Neuvirth, selected 34th overall in the 2006 NHL draft by Washington, is looking to become the third consecutive rookie goaltender to win the Calder Cup, following Chicago’s Ondrej Pavelec (2008) and Hamilton’s Carey Price (2007).
- Manitoba defenseman Nolan Baumgartner is in a final series for the first time in his 13-year pro career. Baumgartner has played 776 games (715 regular-season, 61 playoffs) in the AHL and 134 more in the NHL.
- Hershey defenseman Bryan Helmer won the Calder Cup as a second-year pro with the Albany River Rats in 1995, and is back in the Finals for the first time since. Helmer, who skated for Manitoba during the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons, ranks seventh all-time with 111 career Calder Cup Playoff games played.
- Bob Woods, who played his junior hockey in Brandon, Man., could join Chuck Hamilton and AHL Hall of Famer Frank Mathers as the only men to win Calder Cups with the Hershey Bears as both a player and a head coach. Woods was a defenseman on Hershey’s 1997 title team, and picked up a second ring as an assistant coach in 2006.
- Hershey led the AHL in offense during the regular season with 296 goals scored; Manitoba was first in defense with 188 goals allowed.
- Hershey led the AHL in attendance during the regular season, averaging 8,987 fans per game; Manitoba was second (7,769). Through three playoff rounds, Manitoba is first (8,919), followed by Hershey (7,329).
Calder Cup Finals Facts
NOTE: There have been 72 Calder Cup Finals in AHL history. The league championship series was best-of-five from 1937-43, and has been best-of-seven since 1944.
The team that wins…
- Game 1 has won the Calder Cup 55 of 72 times (76.4%)
- Game 2 has won the Calder Cup 54 of 72 times (75.0%)
- Game 3 has won the Calder Cup 47 of 72 times (65.3%)
- Game 4 has won the Calder Cup 49 of 70 times (70.0%)
- Game 5 has won the Calder Cup 40 of 52 times (76.9%)
- Game 6 has won the Calder Cup 26 of 32 times (81.2%)
- Game 7 has won the Calder Cup 10 of 10 times (100.0%)
- 1-0 has won the Calder Cup 55 of 72 times (76.4%)
- 2-0 has won the Calder Cup 39 of 41 times (95.1%)
- 3-0* has won the Calder Cup 21 of 21 times (100.0%)
- 2-1 has won the Calder Cup 38 of 48 times (79.2%)
- 3-1* has won the Calder Cup 29 of 32 times (90.6%)
- 3-2* has won the Calder Cup 27 of 31 times (87.1%)
- 1-1 the winner of Game 3 has won the Calder Cup 22 of 31 times (71.0%)
- 2-2* the winner of Game 5 has won the Calder Cup 17 of 18 times (94.4%)
- The team with home-ice advantage in the Finals has won the Calder Cup 49 of 72 times (68.1%)
- The team with home-ice advantage in the Finals has won Game One 55 of 72 times (76.4%)
- The Calder Cup has been won on home ice 46 of 72 times (63.9%)
- There have been 16 Calder Cup Finals sweeps (14 best-of-seven, two best-of-five)
- 12 Calder Cup Finals have gone the distance (10 best-of-seven, two best-of-five)
- The home team has won every game once (Cleveland def. Pittsburgh, 1953)
- The road team has won every game once (Adirondack def. St. John’s, 1992)
Manitoba is the 45th team in 73 years to reach the Calder Cup Finals after finishing first overall in the regular season. Previous number-one seeds are 32-12 in the Finals.
Hershey’s Alexandre Giroux is the 22nd AHL MVP to reach the Calder Cup Finals since the league first handed out the Les Cunningham Award in 1947-48. Those players have won the Cup 66% of the time.
Manitoba’s Cory Schneider is the sixth winner of the Baz Bastien Award to reach the Calder Cup Finals since the league first presented the award in 1983-84. Those players have won the cup only 40% of the time.
There are many more of these little facts in the preview. It is worth checking out.