When the American Hockey League’s All-Star roster was announced, the Hershey Bears were well-represented, and for good reason. Keith Aucoin and Chris Bourque had been all but locked in for the game as the first and second leading scorers in the league, respectively.
But in December, there was one unexpected player named to the roster that brought the Bears’ All-Star representation to three players: captain Boyd Kane. Not only is he participating in the event for the first time, Kane was also extended the extra honor of being named captain of the Eastern Conference team for the All-Star Classic on January 29-30 in Atlantic City.
Kane may not be the most conventional choice to lead an All-Star team — he’s an understated player that doesn’t score a lot of goals — but captains were selected by the league president “in recognition of their outstanding service and leadership to the AHL,” according to a league statement.
“I was very honored to be picked [as a captain] this year,” Kane said of his selection. A true veteran, Kane has played the second-most AHL games among active players (834) and has won the Calder Cup three times, twice as the captain of the winning team (Philadelphia in 2005, and Hershey in 2006).
He may not be the typical “finesse player” All-Star like Aucoin or Bourque, but he certainly fits those “captain” criteria. Kane is a player who does the little things that makes a good team that much more successful. He’s gritty, he blocks shots, he hits hard, and he gets into the occasional fight if he deems it necessary. He does all the thankless, tough jobs that fans sometimes take for granted.
Those qualities are why Bears coach Mark French chose Kane as his captain earlier this season. “I don’t know if there’s one guy who despises losing as much as Boyd does, which is a good trait in professional sports,” French said. “He certainly has the respect of his room.”
As for Kane, he’s just excited for his first All-Star experience this weekend, especially with some of his teammates by his side.
“I’m really looking forward to this week, first time going into an all-star game,” Kane said. “It’s going to be lots of fun, and it’s going to be even better to be able to go with Bourque and Coiner there, too.”
Erika Schnure is a Contributor to District Sports Page. She is the founder and writer for Ravings of a Rink Rebel, and contributes to The Fourth Period and Red Light District Hockey. She is also the NHL Southeast Division beat writer for Hockey Primetime.