October 08, 2015

Jim Anderson

Springfield, Massachusetts has a long and deep hockey history, particularly concerning the American Hockey League. The Indians/Kings franchise had no great player than 16 year veteran Jimmy Anderson - the franchise's all-time leader in games, goals and points.

A native of Pembroke, Ontario, Anderson made an immediate impact, scoring 39 goals and winning the Dudley “Red” Garrett Award as the AHL’s outstanding rookie in 1954-55. 

Anderson would become one of the offensive leaders on the Indians’ record-setting clubs of the early 1960’s as Springfield became the only team in AHL history to capture three consecutive Calder Cup championships. 

Five consecutive times in the 1960s Anderson recorded 30 or mor goals, including in 1961 (43 goals) and 1964 (40 goals) when he led the entire AHL in goal scoring. During both the 1961 and 1962 Calder Cup championship runs Anderson led the entire league in post-season goal scoring, too.

Despite his dominance at the AHL level, Anderson never got a chance to play at the National Hockey League. The NHL was only a six team league back then and it was hard to crack a line up. Case in point - Jimmy Anderson.

That changed in 1967 when the NHL doubled in size with six new expansion teams. That included the Los Angeles Kings, who took over the Springfield franchise as it's farm affiliate. Finally, 37 year old Jimmy Anderson made his NHL debut, scoring 1 goal and 3 points in 7 games. 

Anderson continued playing in Springfield until 1970. He retired with 426 goals and 821 points in 943 career AHL games. 

Anderson turned to coaching in Springfield before a subsequent NHL expansion saw him return to the NHL. Anderson was the first coach in the history of the Washington Capitals. Unfortunately the Capitals were a horrendous expansion team. Anderson was relieved of his duties after just 54 games. He won only four.

Anderson would go on to become a scout for the Los Angeles Kings.

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