SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League today announced the four people selected for induction into the American Hockey League Hall of Fame as the Class of 2019.
Honored by the AHL Hall of Fame Selection Committee as the 14th group of enshrinees are John Anderson, Don Cherry, Murray Eaves and Brad Smyth.
“For more than 80 years, the American Hockey League has been built upon a foundation of excellence,” said David Andrews, AHL President and Chief Executive Officer. “The AHL Board of Governors is proud to unanimously endorse the Selection Committee’s recommendation for the induction of these four individuals into the American Hockey League Hall of Fame as the Class of 2019.”
The Class of 2019 will be honored as part of the festivities at the 2019 Lexus AHL All-Star Classic presented by MGM Springfield, hosted by the Springfield Thunderbirds. The American Hockey League Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Ceremony is scheduled for January 28, 2019.
Formed in 2006 to recognize, honor and celebrate individuals for their outstanding achievements and contributions in the American Hockey League, the AHL Hall of Fame is housed online at www.ahlhalloffame.com and is accessible to fans worldwide with the click of a mouse as part of the AHL Internet Network.
In operation since 1936, the American Hockey League serves as the top development league for the players, coaches, managers, executives, broadcasters and staff of all 31 National Hockey League teams. More than 87 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. In 2017-18, over 6 million fans attended AHL regular-season and playoff games across North America for the 17th year in a row.
CLASS OF 2019: JOHN ANDERSON
John Anderson spent most of his 17-year playing career in the National Hockey League, but he made his mark coaching with the Chicago Wolves.
A Toronto native, Anderson was drafted by his hometown Maple Leafs in the first round in 1977 and went on to skate in more than 800 games in the NHL with Toronto, Quebec and Hartford. As his playing days wound down, Anderson made a brief debut appearance in the AHL with the Binghamton Whalers in 1989-90 before spending a memorable 1991-92 campaign as a player/assistant coach in New Haven.
With the Nighthawks that year, Anderson scored 41 goals and collected 54 assists, finishing with 95 points and a plus-42 rating in just 68 games. He was voted a First Team AHL All-Star at left wing, the winner of the Les Cunningham Award as the league’s most valuable player, and the recipient of the Fred T. Hunt Memorial Award for sportsmanship, determination and dedication to hockey.
Anderson joined the coaching ranks full-time in 1995 and was hired by the Chicago Wolves in 1997. He led the Wolves to two Turner Cup championships before the franchise joined the American Hockey League, and won a third championship in the Wolves’ inaugural AHL season by becoming the first – and still only – team to win five playoff series en route to the Calder Cup. Anderson and the Wolves returned to the Finals in 2005 and followed a 111-point regular season by winning the franchise’s second Calder Cup and fourth league title in 2008.
Following stints as head coach of the Atlanta Thrashers and assistant coach with the Phoenix Coyotes, Anderson came back to the Wolves in 2013 and spent three more seasons in Chicago, capturing another division crown in 2013-14. He returned to the NHL in 2016 and served for two seasons as an assistant with the Minnesota Wild.
Anderson ranks fifth in league history with 424 victories and seventh with 788 games over 10 seasons as a head coach in the AHL. He won three division titles and had seven 40-win seasons and four 100-point campaigns, and was behind the bench for two AHL All-Star Classics as well.
CLASS OF 2019: DON CHERRY
One of the most recognizable personalities in all of Canada, Don Cherry was a standout defenseman and award-winning coach in the American Hockey League before he ever sat behind the Coach’s Corner desk.
Cherry’s prolific career as a defenseman included 767 games in the AHL with the Hershey Bears, the Springfield Indians and the Rochester Americans, collecting 259 points and racking up more than 1,000 penalty minutes.
The Kingston, Ontario, native signed his first professional contract with the Bears in 1954 and played 63 games as a rookie – plus one playoff contest with the Boston Bruins, in what would be the only NHL appearance of his career. Cherry joined owner Eddie Shore’s Springfield club in 1957 and helped the Indians reach their first Calder Cup Finals in 1958, and then secure their first championship in 1960.
Cherry brought his rock-’em, sock-’em style of play to Rochester in 1963 and the Amerks were soon the class of the league, reaching four consecutive Calder Cup Finals and winning championships in 1965, 1966 and 1968. He settled in western New York after retiring in 1969, and after two years away from hockey he rejoined the Amerks as a player-coach in January of 1972. Rochester finished strong in 1972, qualified for the playoffs in 1973 and then posted the best record in the league in 1974, earning Cherry the Louis A.R. Pieri Award as the AHL’s coach of the year.
Cherry went on to coach the Boston Bruins and Colorado Rockies in the National Hockey League, and since 1980 has been an iconic commentator on CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada.
CLASS OF 2019: MURRAY EAVES
Forward Murray Eaves was one the American Hockey League’s premier scorers during a career that spanned 15 professional seasons.
Selected by Winnipeg in the 1980 NHL Draft after a record-setting season at the University of Michigan, Eaves made his debut in the AHL with the Sherbrooke Jets in 1982 and was a shining star despite playing on consecutive last-place teams. Eaves collected 174 points in 118 contests over his first two AHL seasons, including a 115-point campaign and First Team AHL All-Star honors in 1983-84.
Fortunes turned in 1984-85 when the Montreal Canadiens joined the Jets to form a dual affiliation in Sherbrooke. Eaves notched 68 points in 47 regular-season games and added 18 points in the playoffs as Sherbrooke captured the 1985 Calder Cup championship.
Following a 73-point campaign in 1985-86, Eaves was acquired by the Edmonton Oilers and spent a season in Nova Scotia before signing with Detroit. Eaves would continue to be a dominant offensive force with the AHL’s Adirondack Red Wings, leading them in scoring in each of his three seasons with the team. In 1988-89, Eaves finished second in the entire AHL with 118 points to earn a Second Team AHL All-Star nod, and then tacked on 13 goals and 25 points in the playoffs as Adirondack captured the Calder Cup.
One of only two players in league history to record at least 115 points in a season twice, Eaves finished his AHL career with eight 20-goal seasons, three 40-goal campaigns and 680 points in 536 contests, making him the AHL’s all-time leader in points per game (1.27) among players with at least 400 games played. He was also a two-time winner of the Fred T. Hunt Memorial Award for sportsmanship, determination and dedication to hockey (1989, 1990).
CLASS OF 2019: BRAD SMYTH
Brad Smyth was one of the most dangerous goal-scorers in American Hockey League history, showing an incredible knack for finding the net during an era when goaltenders were becoming more dominant.
“Shooter” began his pro career in the Florida Panthers organization and made his AHL debut in a three-game stint with the Springfield Falcons in January of 1995. He joined the Carolina Monarchs for his first full AHL campaign in 1995-96 and scored twice on opening night, the beginning of a historic season that saw Smyth put up 68 goals in 68 games for the Monarchs. He added 58 assists for 126 points to run away with the AHL scoring title and earn league MVP honors.
After getting a taste of the National Hockey League in Florida and Los Angeles, Smyth was acquired by the New York Rangers in 1997 and helped the Hartford Wolf Pack reach the conference finals, notching 62 points in 57 regular-season games and a team-high 12 goals in the playoffs.
Smyth split the following season between the Rangers and Nashville Predators organizations, then helped Hartford to a Calder Cup championship in 2000, leading the Wolf Pack with 39 goals in the regular season and 13 more in the playoffs. In 2000-01, Smyth scored 50 again, reaching the milestone on the final weekend of the season and earning a First Team AHL All-Star nod – an honor he would receive again the following year.
Smyth was reunited with head coach John Paddock with the Binghamton Senators in 2002 and helped the first-year club reach the conference finals. He spent the 2004-05 season with the Manchester Monarchs and returned for a third stint in Hartford in 2006, completing his final AHL season with 34 goals and 86 points for his fifth career top-10 finish in the scoring race.
Ranking 12th in league history with 326 career goals, Smyth registered 667 points in 610 regular-season games over his AHL career. He is one of six AHL players ever to hit the 50-goal mark twice and one of seven players ever to lead the league in goals on two separate occasions, and is also ranked sixth all-time with 46 career postseason goals.