Ice Hockey Wiki

Hershey B ars circa 1933

Hershey Bears

Hershey Bears
297 hershey-bears-primary-2013.gif
City: Hershey, Pennsylvania
League: American Hockey League
Conference: Eastern Conference
Division: Atlantic Division
Founded: 1932
Home Arena: Giant Center
Colors: Chocolate Brown, Cocoa Brown, Sand, White


Owner(s): Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company (HERCO)
General Manager: Flag of the United States Doug Yingst
Head Coach: Flag of Canada Mark French
Captain: Flag of Canada Bryan Helmer
Media: The Patriot-News
Affiliates: Washington Capitals (NHL)
Reading Royals (ECHL)
Franchise history
1932–1933: Hershey B'ars
1933–1934: Hershey Chocolate B'ars
1934–1936: Hershey B'ars
1936–Present: Hershey Bears
Regular Season Titles: 7 1942–43, 1957–58,
1980–81, 1985–86, 1987–88, 2006–07, 2009–10
Division Championships: 16 1938–39, 1943–44,
1946–47, 1951–52, 1966–67, 1967–68, 1968–69, 1975–76, 1980–81, 1985–86, 1987–88, 1993–94, 2006–07, 2008–09, 2009–10, 2014-15
Conference Championships: 22 1940–41, 1941–42,

1946–47, 1948–49, 1953–54, 1957–58, 1958–59, 1960–61, 1962–63, 1964–65, 1968–69, 1973–74, 1975–76, 1979–80, 1985–86, 1987–88, 1996–97, 2005–06, 2006–07, 2008–09, 2009–10

Calder Cups: 11 1946–47, 1957–58,

1968–69, 1973–74, 1979–80, 1987–88, 1996–97, 2005–06, 2008–09, 2009–10

The Hershey Bears (also officially called the Hershey Bears Hockey Club and were one time also officially called the Hershey Hockey Club) are a professional ice hockey team that currently plays in the American Hockey League. The Bears are the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Washington Capitals. The team currently plays their home games at the Giant Center in the unincorporated town of Hershey, Pennsylvania which is located in Derry Township, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. The Bears are based 14 miles east outside the state's capital of Harrisburg. The Bears' won their AHL record eleventh and most recent Calder Cup title over the Texas Stars in 2010. The Hershey Bears were founded in 1932 as the Hershey B'ars. The franchise was renamed to Hershey Chocolate B'ars in 1933 for one season and was then renamed back to Hershey B'ars after the season in 1934. The team adapted its current name in 1936. The team played in the Tri-State Hockey League in 1932 and then played in the Eastern Amateur Hockey League from 1933–1938. The team joined their current league the American Hockey League (known as the International-American Hockey League from 1938-1939) in 1938. The Hershey Bears are the only AHL franchise still playing in its original city since the league’s inaugural season in 1938. The Bears are honored as the official member club of the AHL and all of minor professional (league) hockey. The Bears are also the seventh-oldest continuously operating professional ice hockey franchise in North America after the so-called "Original Six" teams of the National Hockey League which each began operations in their current cities in either the National Hockey Association (1909-1917) or NHL between 1909 and 1926. Though established in 1932, the franchise does not follow their amateur history and only follow their professional history. However, the Bears are the same franchise that was established at the amateur level in 1932. The team was not established in 1938.

The Bears played at the Giant Center since the 2002-03 season. The Bears use to play at the Hershey Ice Palace from 1932-1936 and at the Hersheypark Arena from 1936-2002, before the club moved to the Giant Center. The Bears played there 5,000th regular season league game on December 20, 2006.[1]

The Hershey Bears Hockey Club is owned and operated by the Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company (HERCO), formerly known as Hershey Estates, an entity wholly owned and administered by the Hershey Trust Company.


Before the Bears (1931)

The Hershey Ice Palace

Before the founding of the Hershey Bears, the history of hockey in Hershey goes back to a series of amateur hockey matches played in Hershey between college teams beginning in early 1931. The first such formal hockey game ever played in Hershey took place on February 18, 1931, when Penn A.C. and Villanova University faced off in the 1,900-seat Hershey Ice Palace. Nine months after that successful inaugural contest, Swarthmore Athletic Club moved into the Ice Palace, where they played their first game on November 19, 1931, against Crescent A.C. of New York City. In the lineup that night for Crescent was a 23-year-old center named Lloyd S. Blinco, a native of Grand Mere, Quebec. He came to Hershey the next season and would remain continuously associated with Hershey hockey for a half century as a player, coach, and manager. The popularity of these amateur hockey matches prompted chocolate-maker and amusement park-operator, Milton S. Hershey, and his long-time entertainment and amusements chief, John B. Sollenberger, to sponsor a permanent team to play at the Hershey Ice Palace.

The Amateur era (1932-1938)

The Hershey Bears are born (as the Hershey B'ars)

Finally in 1932 after the popularity of amateur hockey matches which prompted Milton S. Hershey and John B. Sollenberger, to sponsor a permanent team, the Hershey Bears were formed. The Bears began playing as the Hershey B'ars and began playing their home games at the Hershey Ice Palace. The club joined the newly formed Tri-State Hockey League for the 1932–1933 season with teams from Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Atlantic City.

Renaming to the Hershey Chocolate B'ars and renaming back to Hershey B'ars

After one season, that circuit reformed itself into a larger, seven-club loop called the Eastern Amateur Hockey League in which the Hershey B'ars then changed their name to the "Hershey Chocolate B'ars" for the 1933–1934 season, then renamed again back to the "B'ars" from 1934–1936.

Renaming to the Hershey Bears

1937/38 squad photo, the franchise's last season at the amateur level

The franchise was renamed again in 1936. This time, it was a new team name which is "Hershey Bears". The reason for the franchise's renaming was because the team's "B'ars" moniker was criticized by both the league and New York sportswriters. The New York sportswriters criticized the team's "B'ars" moniker by informally dubbing the franchise as the "Bears from Penn's Woods" when they visit Madison Square Garden to play the New York Rovers and the league thought the "B'ars" moniker was too commercial. The "Bears" name was indeed adapted from that New York sportswriters’ "Bears from Penn's Woods" nickname.

After the B'ars were renamed to Bears, the team also moved from the confines of the Ice Palace (where they had to play on a small, 60x170-foot rink) into the newly constructed 7,286-seat Hersheypark Arena (then known as the "Hershey Sports Arena"), built immediately adjacent to the older venue. Over the next sixty-six seasons, the Bears played a remarkable total of 2,280 regular season and playoff games at the Hersheypark Arena, which served as their home from 1936 to 2002.

Early and Mid Professional era (1938-2004)

The Bears admission into I-AHL article

The Beginning

In the 1938–1939 season, the Bears became the eighth member of the newly formed International-American Hockey League (renamed the American Hockey League in 1940) which was created on June 28, 1938, by the formal merger of the International and the Canadian-American (Can-Am) Hockey Leagues, after those two smaller circuits had played interlocking schedules with each other over the previous two seasons. Although three of the seven other charter-member I-AHL cities (Springfield, Massachusetts, Syracuse, New York, and Providence, Rhode Island) are also represented in the AHL today, only the Bears have played in the league without interruption since that inaugural 1938–1939 I-AHL season.

When the Bears moved to professional status, the franchise themselves created a different franchise called the Hershey Cubs to replace them at the amateur level in the Eastern Amateur Hockey League for the 1938/39 season. This team served as the farm club for the Bears for that season only. The Cubs finished in fourth and last place with a 19-25-9 record. The Cubs lasted for one season in EAHL. This was the only season for the existence of the Cubs franchise.

NHL Affiliations

Before their current affilation with the Washington Capitals, the Bears served under mulitple affiliations with other NHL teams from 1967-2004 which were the Boston Bruins (1967-1971, 1983-1985), the Pittsburgh Penguins (1971-1977), Buffalo Sabres (1974-1979), the Philadelphia Flyers (1984-1996), the Colorado Avalanche (1996-2005), the Florida Panthers (2001/02), and Tampa Bay Lightning (2003/04). The Bears' current affiliation with the Capitals is their second stint as the top level affiliate of the Capitals. The franchise's first affiliation stint with Capitals lasted from (1977-1984).

Current Professional era (2005-Present)

The Bears former modern primary logo

The Bears playing against the Norfolk Admirals during the 2009 preseason

The Washington Capitals returned as the Bears NHL parent club in 2005 for the first since the 1983/84 season. As of the 2009–2010 Calder Cup Finals, the Bears have played in 22 Finals series, a league record.[1] The Bears went back-to-back in 2008–2010 to win their 10th and 11th Calder Cups, winning their most recent cup versus the Texas Stars. The Bears became the first team in AHL history to win a Calder Cup series after trailing the series 0–2, going on to win 4 straight to take the series 4–2.

On December 20, 2006, the Bears played their 5,000th regular season game at the Times Union Center in Albany, New York. The Bears scored seven times en route to a 7–4 win versus the Albany River Rats.[2]

On May 2, 2007, the Bears played their 500th Calder Cup playoff game in franchise history at the Giant Center. The Bears played the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and won 4–3.[3]

In 2010, the Bears set a new club record with 12 straight wins, topping their previous record of 11 set the season earlier in 2008. Over the stretch from December into January the Bears outscored their opponents by a 52–22 margin.[4] The Bears also set a new AHL record for consecutive home victories at 24. Hershey went without a loss at the Giant Center from November 29, 2009 to March 19, 2010.[5] The Bears had set an AHL mark for consecutive playoff series victories, with eight wins in a row. Besting the record shared with the 2005–2007 Bears and the 1990–1992 Springfield Indians.

2006 Calder Cup championship

In 2006, the Hershey Bears, with new head coach Bruce Boudreau, returned to the playoffs after a two-year absence. The team came off with a strong start by winning their first two series, against the Norfolk Admirals and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, in four games each. In the Eastern Conference finals, the Bears played the Portland Pirates. The Bears quickly took a 2–0 series lead, but then lost the third game. The Bears then rebounded and won game four, to take a 3–1 series lead. However the Bears were unable to finish the job and were forced back to the Giant Center for game seven. The Bears trailed throughout the game, but managed to tie it with a goal from Graham Mink just over two minutes remaining. In overtime, the Bears finished with a goal by Eric Fehr, to win the series 4–3. On June 15, 2006, The Bears won the Calder Cup by a series mark of 4–2, defeating the Milwaukee Admirals. This marked the ninth time the franchise had won the Calder Cup, which tied the Bears with the original Cleveland Barons for the highest number of AHL playoff titles.

Hanging Ten

The following season, the Bears or Boudreau's Bears finished with a 51–17–6 record and appeared to be on the verge of repeating as champions. They rolled through the playoffs defeating the Albany River Rats in five games, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in five, and won the Eastern Conference in a sweep of the Manchester Monarchs. The Bears appeared to have a tenth title wrapped up against the Hamilton Bulldogs, who had finished the regular season with 95 points compared to Bears' 114. The Bulldogs, however, upset the Bears 4–1. The next season was disappointing to the Bears. They lost Boudreau to the Capitals via a promotion, finished the season 42–30–2–6, and lost to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 4–1 in the first round.

The next season, the Bears bounced back. Finishing with a 49–23–2 record, they would go on to sweep the Philadelphia Phantoms in the first round, overcome a 3–2 deficit to beat the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the second, and then defeated the Providence Bruins, 4–1, in the Conference Finals. They opened their 21st Calder Cup appearance with a 5–4 overtime win in Manitoba against the Manitoba Moose, but lost Game 2, 3–1. Back home in Hershey, the Bears scored a pair of wins (3–0 and 2–1) before falling in Game 5, 3–2. In Game 6, the Bears scored 3 goals before the Manitoba Moose even got on the board, and then an empty-net goal sealed it. With the 4–1 Game 6 victory, the Bears defeated the Moose and finally captured their tenth Calder Cup which is a league record.

2009–10 season

Following the Calder Cup win, head coach Bob Woods was promoted to the Washington Capitals as an assistant coach. He was replaced by Mark French, a former coach in the ECHL. The Bears won a franchise record of 12 consecutive games and notched a 24-game winning streak at the Giant Center. They went on to win 60 games, breaking the old AHL record of 57 and finishing a point shy of tying the single season points record. The Bears rallied from a 2-0 deficit against the Texas Stars to win their 11th Calder Cup, their second consecutive championship and third in the last five seasons.

Team Branding


Primary logos

Secondary logos

Alternate logos

Wordmark logos

Anniversary logos

Championship logos


The colors of the Hershey Bears are dark brown, medium brown, tan, and white (though the team's primary colors are often referred to as "chocolate and white"), a reference to The Hershey Company and its products. The primary logo is a medium brown bear, outlined in dark brown, roaring while standing on a hockey stick centered above the Hershey Bears wordmark. The wordmark has "HERSHEY" in tan above "BEARS" in white (both outlined in dark brown). All these parts are contained by a circle filled in tan and outlined in dark brown on the primary logo.

The Bears' colors were burgundy, black, gold, and silver (though the team's primary colors are often referred to as "chocolate and white"), a reference to The Hershey Company and its products. The team's previous primary logo is a maroon bear, outlined in black, swatting a hockey puck centered below the Hershey Bears wordmark. The wordmark is a horizontal gradient using gold and burgundy outlined in black, with the Hershey part centered on a rectangular outline designed to resemble a Hershey's candy bar. The former tertiary or alternate logo consists of a bear's head in burgundy and black with the initials "HB."


Home uniforms

Road uniforms

Alternate uniforms

Special Event uniforms



Before their move to the Giant Center in 2002, the Hershey Bears wore simpler uniforms with the colors of chocolate brown and white. The previous logo used a silhouette of a skating bear with a hockey stick in brown centered in a white, ovular shield outlined in brown. In the advent of the 2007–2008 season, all of the teams of the American Hockey League unveiled newly designed Reebok EDGE uniforms, including the Hershey Bears. At this time, the Bears unveiled an updated version of the "old school" jerseys with the word BEARS written diagonally in black on a white home jersey and the word HERSHEY written in white on a maroon away jersey. Both jerseys featured black on both sides, the Washington Capitals logo on one shoulder and the classic "skating bear oval logo on the other shoulder.

The current home and road uniforms were unveiled before the 2009-2010 season. The home uniform includes a white jersey with alternating burgundy and black horizontal stripes and burgundy shoulders. The Bears' primary logo is centered on the front of the jersey. The shoulder logos include the Washington Capitals' logo and the "HB" secondary logo. The away jersey is burgundy with white shoulders and black horizontal stripes near the bottom of the sweater. The 2009-2010 3rd jersey featured the same color/striping pattern as the home jersey, but no logo was present on the main body of the jersey. Instead the word 'HERSHEY' was across the chest and the player's number was under the word Hershey.

The current third jersey is a throwback style jersey in chocolate brown, with white horizontal stripes. It has no shoulder patches, but features the historic "Skating Bear" logo with the word "HERSHEY" across the chest.

For the 2012-13 season, the Bears unveiled their present new simplified logo with the 2012-13 season

Retired numbers and Hall of Famers

Retired numbers

BearsBanner3.png BearsBanner8.png BearsBanner9.png BearsBanner16.png
Frank Mathers
Head coach
General manager
Mike Nykoluk
Arnie Kullman
Willie Marshall
Ralph Keller
Tim Tookey
Mitch Lamoureux

Hockey Hall of Famers

  • Frank Mathers (defenseman/coach, 1956–62; coach, 1962–73; general manager/president, 1973–91), enshrined 1992 (builder)
  • Ralph "Cooney" Weiland (coach, 1941–45), enshrined 1971 (player)

AHL Hall of Famers

Season-by-season record

President/GM Doug Yingst
Head Coach Mark French
Assistant Coach Troy Mann

Team Captains

Individual award winners

Les Cunningham Award (League MVP)

John B. Sollenberger Trophy (Leading point scorer)

(* = The award was known as the Carl Liscombe Trophy until 1954–55)

Willie Marshall Award (Leading Goal Scorer)

Dudley "Red" Garrett Memorial Award (Rookie of the Year)

Eddie Shore Award (Best Defensemen)

Aldege "Baz" Bastien Memorial Award (Best Goaltender)

Hap Holmes Memorial Award (Goalie(s) with lowest goals against avg)

Louis A. R. Pieri Memorial Award (Coach of the Year)

Fred T. Hunt Memorial Award (sportsmanship, determination and dedication to hockey)

Head coaches

Asterik denotes number of Calder Cups won


  1. Big third period leads Bears to win in 5,000th game. Hershey Bears. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved on 2007-08-05.

External links