Bears Induct 2019 Hall of Fame Class
On Sunday night, the Hershey Bears Hockey Club (HBHC) proudly inducted six new members into the HBHC Hall of Fame.
About the Inductees:
Don Biggs played for the Bears from 1987-90 and was a member of the 1988 Calder Cup team that won 50 games and set an AHL record by going 12-0 in the playoffs. A native of Mississauga, Ontario, Biggs posted 274 points (113 goals, 161 assists) in 219 games played with the Bears. He collected 79 points (38 goals, 41 assists) in the 1987-88 campaign, then added 16 more points in the playoffs. His 103 points in the 1988-89 regular season make him one of 12 different players with Hershey to score 100 or more points in a season, and he tallied 92 points the following year. Biggs would go on to win the AHL's Les Cunningham Award as league MVP in 1992-93 when he led all players in scoring with 138 points. Biggs finished his AHL career with 692 points in 598 games, good for 1.16 points per game. He was inducted into the AHL Hall of Fame in 2018.
Ross Fitzpatrick played for the Bears from 1984-90 and ranks No. 9 all-time in goals for Hershey with 186. A native of Penticton, British Columbia, Fitzpatrick was also a member of the 1988 record-setting Calder Cup team. Fitzpatrick led all playoff scorers in goals that year with 11. Earlier in his tenure with the Bears in 1985-86, the 6-foot, 194-pound forward finished third in the AHL with 50 goals, becoming one of just five Hershey players to score 50 goals in a season. He had 103 points in 1989-90, good for second in the AHL, and making him one of just 12 players in Hershey history to score 100 or more points in a season. He was named to the AHL Second All-Star Team in 1985-86 and 1989-90 and racked up 619 points in 554 career AHL games. Fitzpatrick currently serves as a scout with the Philadelphia Flyers.
Wally Kilrea played for the Bears from 1938-44 and ranks No. 14 all-time in Hershey assists with 230 and No. 18 all-time in Hershey points with 334. The native of Ottawa, Ontario, joined Hershey in 1938 after a 329-game NHL career that saw him win two Stanley Cups with Detroit. He played six seasons with the Bears, with his best year coming in 1942-43 when he tallied 99 points (31 goals, 68 assists), leading the AHL in assists and points. The 5-foot-7, 154-pound forward was named to the AHL First All-Star Team that year. His 99-point season made him Hershey’s first scoring champion and he was captain of the Bears from 1939-43. Kilrea passed away on Jul. 3, 1992 at the age of 83.
Frank Mario played for the Bears from 1941-42 and 1945-52 and ranks No. 8 all-time in Hershey assists with 281 and No. 10 all-time in Hershey points with 424. The native of Esterhazy, Saskatchewan, helped Hershey to the 1947 Calder Cup title, scoring 71 points (24 goals, 47 assists) in 64 regular-season games, and adding 18 points (five goals, 13 assists) in 11 playoff contests. The 5-foot-6, 165-pound forward served as captain of the Bears from 1950-52 and scored 50 or more points five times with Hershey. Mario's career included 53 games with the NHL's Boston Bruins. He passed away on Jun. 18, 1995 at the age of 74.
John Paddock coached the Bears from 1985-1989 and ranks No. 4 all-time in Hershey coaching wins. The native of Oak River, Manitoba compiled a career record of 181-122-17 with the Bears, helping Hershey to a pair of division titles. Paddock guided his 1987-88 Bears squad to 50 victories and an AHL record 12-0 in the playoffs en route to the 1988 Calder Cup title. He became the first Hershey coach with 50 wins in a year and earned the Louis A.R. Pieri Award as the AHL's outstanding coach that season. To this day, he remains the only Hershey coach with four seasons of 40 or more wins. A two-time Calder Cup winner as a player, Paddock won three Calder Cups as a coach, claiming titles in Maine in 1984 and Hartford in 2000 in addition to his championship in Hershey. A former NHL head coach with Winnipeg and Ottawa, Paddock collected a 590-438-98 record as an AHL head coach. His 82 playoff wins and 149 playoff games are league records. He was inducted in the AHL Hall of Fame in 2010. Paddock currently serves as VP, Hockey Operations & General Manager of the WHL's Regina Pats.
Steve Summers served as a beat writer for the Hershey Bears with The Patriot-News from 1976-93. Summers's work on the Bears earned him the AHL's 1976-1977 James Ellery Memorial Award for outstanding media coverage along with former Patriot-News staffer Bruce Whitman. Summers served in the U.S. Army from 1961-64, and following his discharge, enrolled at East Carolina University where he earned a Bachelor's degree in English in 1968. He joined the Lancaster Intelligencer-Journal later that year to cover a variety of sports, but he was most well-known for his hockey coverage. The Upper Allen Township resident died after a two-year battle with cancer at the age of 52 in 1993. Following Hershey's run to a perfect 12-0 record in the 1988 Calder Cup Finals, Summers wrote, "The episodes in life that last so many years in memory are often measured in fleeting moments as they happen." This phrase is still used by Summers' longtime friend, and NBC hockey broadcaster Mike Emrick each year during the Stanley Cup Finals. In honor of his memory, the Bears Plus/Minus Award given out annually is named after Summers and fellow beat writer John Travers.
The Bears wore specialty jerseys for their game against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms following the ceremony. The jerseys were auctioned off post-game with proceeds benefitting the CPIHL, York Polar Bears and Hershey Heroes.