HERSHEY, Pa. (WHTM) – It’s been 13 years since the Bears won the Calder Cup Championship and their organization has changed a lot in that time, all leading up to them hoisting the cup on Wednesday night in California.
The Bears have had five different coaches since Mark French led the team to their 11th Calder Cup. Mike Haviland, Troy Mann, Spencer Carbery and Scott Allen all coached until Todd Nelson took over in 2022.
Carbery was given the Louis A. R. Pieri Memorial Award for coach of the year in 2021.
Hershey lost in the first round the next three seasons following their last cup and then did not qualify in the 2013-14 season. The Bears made it to the second round in the 2014-15 season before falling to the Hartford Wolf Pack.
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The Bears made a strong cup run in the 2015-16 season before being swept by the Cleveland Monsters 4-0 in the finals. In the 2016-17 season they made it to the second round again, didn’t qualify in the 2017-18 season, and then reached the second round in 2018-19.
There were no playoffs in 2020-21 and when they were able to compete again the Bears lost in the first round in the 2021-22 season to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
The Bears’ records for the regular seasons since their 11th cup are as follows:
The Bears’ constant is that they have remained an affiliate of the Washington Capitals since 2005.
Since the 2010 cup run, the Bears have had stellar performers despite not taking home the big trophy.
The league MVP, the Les Cunningham Award, was given to former Bear Chris Bourque in 2016. Borque also was awarded the John B. Sollenberger trophy for being the leading point scorer in 2012 and 2016.
The Bears hosted their first AHL Outdoor Classic since their last cup, holding the event in 2013 at Hersheypark Stadium. Hershey lost to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. They hosted again in 2018 and fell to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
Their look changed ahead of the 2012-13 season when new home and away jerseys were revealed. Their current white jersey with chocolate and tan stripes and the Bear logo on the front started that year.
The Bears’ signature Teddy Bear Toss for charity has grown since their last cup. In 2018, they broke the world record for stuffed animals collected and after 2023’s event the new record sits at 67,309 bears.
The Bears have seen a lot of different milestones and alterations between their last cup in 2010 and hoisting the cup in California on Wednesday night, however their level of competitive hockey has not dwindled, proven by their success this season. They are the most successful AHL team because of the groundwork that was laid by being the oldest AHL team and due to their constant strive for greatness.