Photo credit: marlies.ca

The Hershey Bears have long been considered one of the elite teams of the American Hockey League. The Bears have won eleven Calder Cups and had eleven of its coaches and players inducted into the NHL or AHL halls of fame. With its rich history and fantastic arena, the Bears have routinely churned out top prospects and cultivated a huge following, leading the AHL in attendance for the past six seasons. But how do they compare to the rest of the world?

On Monday, Sports.ru blogger Viktor Mayorov tabulated the current average attendance numbers for every hockey team in Europe, which included leagues in Russia (KHL), Germany (DEL), Switzerland (NLA), Austria (EBEL), Sweden (Elitserien), and Finland (SM-Liiga).

The results are below the jump.

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During the third period of the AHL Showcase between the Hershey Bears and Norfolk Admirals, Caps fans broke into several “Fire Bettman” chants. It’s especially clear at the 4 second mark above.

Full disclosure: that noise at the 2 second mark is my ferret sneezing.

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Dmitry Orlov

Wheeee!!!!

While Dmitry Orlov is a defenseman who is known more for his offensive instincts, the 21-year-old Russian sure loves to hit too. Last season he crushed Blake Wheeler, Steve Downie, and Lars Eller all with devastating hip checks. And during Hershey’s second game of the season this year, he flipped a dude head over heels. Last night, during Teddy Bear Toss night at Giant Center, Orlov — apparently jealous of the fans — attempted to toss something over the boards too: Norfolk’s Jay Rosehill.

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The lockout is miserable, but at least we get NHL stars participating in silly AHL promotions. Check out Braden Holtby (front row, second to the left) and Dmitry Orlov (back row, dude wearing the hardhat) doing their best to raise money for the American Cancer Society by showing off new pink t-shirts and sticks. The “Pink The Rink” shirts will be available for purchase at the Bears game on Sunday behind section 117, and the pink sticks they use during warm-ups will be up for silent auction behind section 119.

That’s great and all, but where can I buy that hard-hat Dima’s wearing?

Photo credit: Hershey Bears Facebook page.

Whatever you think of Bruce Boudreau, he will forever be a part of DC hockey lore. He transformed the Washington Capitals into contenders, won the Jack Adams his first year behind the bench, and he invigorated a languid fan base. He had stories; amazing hockey stories. After talking with Caps radio man John Walton, I’m ready to share one of Bruce’s most legendary moments.

On December 26, 2006, Bruce Boudreaua few months after his first AHL championship and exactly a full year before he was permanently hired as head coach of the Washington Capitals — jumped onto a bus with the Hershey Bears for a 220-mile jaunt up I-95 to Bridgeport, Connecticut. The Bears had Christmas off and were forced to travel the day of the game. The drive usually takes about three and a half hours.

The team ran into post-holiday traffic, pushing their arrival time back a few hours. When the Bears finally arrived at the Arena at Harbor Yard, they had just 20 minutes before warm-ups. As each player grabbed his gear off the bus, they ran to the locker room. Boudreau, who always preferred the comfort of his track-suit on the bus, grabbed his only companion, a suit bag, and headed inside to the visiting team’s coaches’ office along with assistant Bob Woods and general manager Doug Yingst.

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Tomas Kundratek

Photo credit: Kyle Mace of Sweetest Hockey On Earth

November 1st marks the first day of Movember, an event where men across the globe grow mustaches to raise money to fight prostate cancer. Hockey players have been among the most avid supporters of the charity, raising thousands for research and awareness.

Almost the entire Hershey Bears team is participating this year, and some players are trying to one up each other. After Boyd Kane’s wife offered a signed team photo for any person donating $25 or more, Caps prospect Tomas Kundratek responded with his own overture.

No signed jersey or stick. Too rote. Instead, Kundratek is offering to take the fan who donates the most money out to dinner at the finest establishment in Hershey: Houlihan’s! If you’re nice, he might let you order an appetizer.

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Adam Oates Named Co-Coach of Hershey Bears

Photo credit: Kyle Mace of Sweetest Hockey On Earth

In a move both surprising and logical, the Capitals announced Sunday that Adam Oates would serve as co-coach of the AHL’s Hershey Bears with head coach Mark French for the duration of the lockout. Caps assistant coaches Calle Johansson, Tim Hunter, and Blaine Forsythe and goaltending coaches Dave Prior and Olie Kolzig will — in George McPhee’s words — “be involved at different times” and also help out with the Capitals’ ECHL affiliate, Reading Royals.

To adequately take on lockout-loaded teams like Oklahoma City Barons whose roster now features Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, and Justin Schultz, the Capitals have given their farm team the deepest coaching staff in AHL history.

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SHOE: Check Out the New Hershey Bears Jerseys

Click Here To View The New Logo and Jerseys

Our brotherblog Sweetest Hockey on Earth has great coverage of the Hershey Bears’ new logo, jerseys, and mascot. The new debut was made to celebrate the team’s 75th anniversary. We all think the new design is fantastic, and Coco’s six-pack abs are okay too.

Go read about it over at Sweetest Hockey on Earth.

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SHOE: Hershey Bears Lose Outdoor Classic

Photo credit: Kyle Mace

Photo credit: Kyle Mace

The Hershey Bears lost to the Adirondack Phantoms 4-3. The game was played at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, home of the Phillies, in front of the largest audience in AHL history.

Our sister blog, Sweetest Hockey on Earth, has comprehensive coverage of the game. There’s Brian Mills’ pre-game reminiscence of outdoor hockey, Kyle Mace’s magnificent photos from outdoor practice, the team picture, the pump-up video,  the recap of actual game, and a billion photos of the game.

NHL Network will broadcast the game at 4 PM on Saturday, so, ya know… spoilers.