News | 2/12/2014 2:26:39 PM | Rob Crean
Despite not having played for the Rochester Americans in more than four decades, the name Bobby Perreault still brings a smile and fond memories from longtime Amerks fans.
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The four-time Calder Cup winning goaltender, who won two of those championships with Rochester, is remembered for kissing his ring after big saves along with his tremendous play, which earned him induction into the American Hockey League Hall of Fame on Wednesday in a ceremony held in St. John’s, Newfoundland, as part of the AHL All-Star Classic festivities.
The AHL Hall of Fame Class of 2014 also featured two other individuals with ties to the Amerks. Al MacNeil, whose AHL success came behind the bench with the Nova Scotia Voyageurs, began his playing career by spending parts of four seasons in Rochester from 1956 to 1960. Bill Dineen, a successful player and coach in the AHL, skated in 70 games with the Amerks in 1961-62. John Slaney, who posted big numbers with several AHL clubs as one of the highest-scoring defensemen in league history, rounded out the 2014 Hall of Fame class.
During his American Hockey League career, Perreault won 229 total games with the Providence Reds, Hershey Bears and the Amerks, ranking him sixth all-time in career victories. His 37 career shutouts rank third in league history while his four Calder Cup championships are tied for the most ever by an AHL netminder.
Although he passed away in 1980 at the age of 49, Perreault is still highly regarded by those who played with him. In a taped message that was played at Wednesday’s ceremony, former Amerks player and coach Don Cherry, now a commentator on the CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada, shared his memory of his friend Perreault.
“I had more fun (with Perreault). You talk about having fun, this guy during the game would keep you laughing the whole time,” said Cherry, who played with Perreault in Rochester from 1965 to 1969. “He was a Calder Cup champion and you could depend on him. You’d give up a breakaway and he would always be there all the time.”
A native of Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Perreault first joined the Amerks in Rochester’s inaugural season of 1956-57 and helped the team reach the Calder Cup finals. He then joined the rival Hershey Bears, where he would play his next five seasons. Perreault would be named to the AHL’s Second All-Star Team in both 1957-58 and 1958-59 while leading the team to Calder Cup championships in both seasons.
Perreault made a brief return to Rochester in 1962-63 by appearing in 10 games, but would come back to the Flower City on a full-time basis from 1965-66 to 1968-69. During that stretch, he guided the Amerks to Calder Cup championships in 1966 and 1968. During the 1967-68 campaign, he led the AHL in wins (31), shutouts (six) and goals-against average (2.88).
“Bobby was an extremely aggressive goalie and he had a very fast catching glove. He was ‘Mr. Clutch,’” said fellow AHL Hall of Famer Willie Marshall, who played with Perreault in Hershey, in a recorded message about his old teammate.
“He was a great guy and I’m glad he’s in the Hall of Fame,” Cherry added.