HERSHEY, Pa. (WHTM) – Former Hershey Bear Willie Marshall has passed away at the age of 91.
Marshall was one of the Bears and American Hockey League’s greatest players as the league’s all-time scorer.
“We mourn the loss of Willie Marshall, one of the Hershey Bears’ and the American Hockey League’s finest citizens,” said Hershey vice president of hockey operations Bryan Helmer. “Willie left an indelible mark on our franchise’s history. He was a champion, a leader, and a first-class person whose contributions to the league and game of hockey were immeasurable. Our thoughts are with Willie’s family and friends during this difficult time.”
Marshall played parts of seven seasons with the Hershey Bears from 1956 through 1963 and is the sixth all-time scorer in Bears’ history with 570 points, 226 goals, and 344 assists in 439 career games.
To this day Marshall remains the AHL’s all-time leader in:
- Games played with 1,205
- Goals with 523
- Assists with 852
- Points with 1,375
Marshall also ranks second all-time in the AHL with 119 playoff points over 112 playoff games.
Earning the AHL scoring title in the 1957-58 season with the Bears, Marshall finished with 104 points, 40 goals, 64 assists, and added 19 points, 10 goals, and 9 assists in 11 playoff games while the Bears would capture the 1958 Calder Cup title. Marshall also helped the Bears win the 1959 Calder Cup title, his third AHL Championship.
In 1999, Marshall had his number 16 retired by the Hershey Bears.
The AHL would honor Marshall in 2004 by creating the Willie Marshall Award, which is presented to the AHL player who scores the most goals in a season.
Marshall was inducted into the AHL Hall of Fame in 2006 and in 2012 became an inaugural member of the Hershey Bears Hockey Club Hall of Fame.
“At a time when there were only six teams in the National Hockey League, Willie Marshall was one of the greatest players not just in the AHL but in the entire sport of hockey,” said AHL President and Chief Executive Officer Scott Howson. “His contributions helped shape the AHL’s tradition of excellence that continues to this day. But more importantly, Willie was a devoted family man of character and faith; our deepest condolences go out to his son Will; his daughters Ann, Jane, and Joanne; and his entire family.”
In game six of the Calder Cup Eastern Conference Finals between Hershey and Rochester, two of his former teams, Rochester will hold a moment of silence in honor of Marshall.
The Bears will also hold a moment of silence in honor of Marshall when they play their next home game.