HERSHEY, Pa. (WHTM) – The Hershey Bears are comprised of a talented squad this season as they cruise into the fourth game of the Eastern Conference Final Monday against the Rochester Americans. Looking back, these are the five most impactful players who ever represented the chocolate and white.
5. Tim Tookey
Tim Tookey got around the American Hockey League (AHL), spending time with five other teams besides the Bears during his tenure and playing some in the International Hockey League (IHL). Tookey started with the Bears in 1980 and stayed with the team until 1982. The forward came back in 1985 and stayed until 1987. Tookey eventually returned again in 1989 where he lasted until switching to his final AHL team, the Providence Bruins, in 1949.
Tookey is No. 2 for points with Hershey (693), No. 2 for assists (442) and No. 3 for goals (251).
During his career, Tookey was called up to the NHL on occasion to the Washington Capitals, Quebec Nordiques, Pittsburg Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers, and Los Angeles Kings.
4. Arnie Kullman
Forward Arnie Kullman comes in as the No. 3 Bear in points (693), No. 2 in goals (253) and games played (753). The exemplary player spent his entire AHL career with Hershey from 1948 to 1960, spending some time with the Boston Bruins before and during his tenure.
Kullman was a part of the second and third Bears Calder Cup championship teams in back-to-back seasons in 1958 and 1959.
3. Ralph Keller
Ralph Keller is a Bears defensive legend. Keller is the No. 1 Hershey defenseman in scoring (408) and No. 3 overall for games played (737).
Keller joined Hershey in the 1963-64 season where he stayed until the end of his playing career in 1974. After his time as a player, Keller went on to coach the Fort Wayne Komets in the IHL, a minor professional league that played from 1945 to 2001. The defenseman coached the Komets until 1977.
With the Bears, Keller hoisted the Calder Cup for the 1968-69 season and again in his final season in 1974.
2. Gordon “Red” Henry
The iconic Hershey goalie Gordon “Red” Henry holds the spot for No. 1 in Hershey goalie wins (226), No. 1 in goalie games (510), and No. 3 in shutouts (18). Henry was part of the Bears team that won the first Calder Cup in franchise history for the 1946-47 season.
Henry first spent time with the Bears during the 1944-45 season and stayed until the 1954-55 season. Throughout his tenure as a Bear, Henry was called up to the NHL to play for the Boston Bruins and spent some time in the Eastern Hockey League (EHL).
1. Mike Nykoluk
Forward Mike Nykoluk played for the Bears from 1958-1972 before becoming an assistant coach of the Philadelphia Flyers for the 1972-73 season. during his time on the ice for the Bears, Nykoluk secured the still-held record for most Hershey games (972), points (808), and assists (636).
Nykoluk helped lead the Bears to their 1958-59 and 1968-69 Calder Cup. The legendary Bear went on to spend time as an assistant coach with the New York Rangers after the Flyers and eventually landed a spot as head coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1981-1984.
These iconic players helped build the Hershey Bears into the playoff-caliber franchise it is today. The Bears last reached the Calder Cup finals in 2016 when they lost to the Lake Erie Monsters, last bringing home the cup in 2010. The 2023 squad is looking to make history again this season as they continue to compete in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Rochester Americans.