Washington Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau – a legendary player and coach at the American Hockey League (AHL) level before joining the Capitals – has been selected as a member of the class of 2009 for the AHL Hall of Fame, the league announced today. The Class of 2009 will be honored as part of the festivities at the 2009 AHL All-Star Classic. The induction ceremony will take place as part of the AHL All-Star Classic Luncheon on Monday, Jan. 26, in Worcester, Mass.
“It's an absolute honor that I can’t describe,” Boudreau said before the Capitals’ morning skate on Monday in St. Paul, Minn. “The American league, with its history, it’s overwhelming that this could happen to me. When they phoned me last week and told me, I couldn’t hide my exuberance. I told them I would be there if I had to come from Alaska.
“To me, individually, it’s as high an honor as you can get,” he added. “The NHL is the NHL. But to be thought of like that by my peers, in a league that’s been in existence for more than 70 years, that’s pretty darn cool. If it wasn’t for that league, I’m nothing, both as a coach and as a player.”
Boudreau’s 799 career points and 483 career assists both rank 11th in AHL history, while his 316 goals are good for 14th place. Of the 72 players in AHL history with at least 500 career points, Boudreau ranks second with an average of 1.26 points per game. He played for seven AHL teams in his career, including a 116-point season with the Springfield Indians in 1987-88 when he led the AHL in scoring and became just the second player to post three 100-point seasons. He had more points than any other AHL player in the 1980s.
Boudreau spent eight full seasons as an AHL head coach, reaching the Calder Cup playoffs each year and compiling a career record of 340-216-56-43. In 2005-06, his first season with the Washington Capitals organization, he led the Hershey Bears to the Calder Cup championship. They returned to the Calder Cup final the following season and 15 games into the following season – a year and two days ago today – he was promoted to the Capitals.
Boudreau led Washington to the Southeast Division championship last year and was the 2007-08 Jack Adams Award winner as the NHL’s coach of the year.
Joining Boudreau in the AHL Hall of Fame class of 2009, as chosen by the league’s hall of fame selection committee, are Jimmy Anderson, Les Cunningham and Louis Pieri.
In a unique effort to make the rich tradition of the AHL available to the widest possible audience, the AHL Hall of Fame is housed online at www.ahlhalloffame.com
. Now in its 73rd season of play, the AHL continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 80 percent of today's NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and for the seventh year in a row, more than 6 million fans attended AHL games across North America in 2007-08.