OHL Alumni Classics: Bill Sweeney

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bill sweeney guelph biltmores ahl hall of fameBill Sweeney was posthumously inducted into the American Hockey League Hall of Fame this year. The Hall started in 2006 and currently Sweeney is in tight company with just 21 other members.

Sweeney played in the predecessor to the Ontario Hockey League, the OHA, for four seasons from 1953-54 to 1956-57, all with the Guelph Biltmores. The Biltmores, of course, became the present day Kitchener Rangers not long after Bill’s graduation. In his final season with the Biltmores, Sweeney scored 49 goals and added 57 assists for 106 points in just 52 games to lead the league in scoring. His additional 19 goals and 26 points in 10 playoff games helped the Biltmores to the OHA Championship and a berth in the Memorial Cup.

Sweeney’s NHL career consisted of just four games with the New York Rangers in 1959-60. Other than those four games and 16 played between the WHL and CPHL in 1967-68, Bill spent his entire pro career in the AHL.

Bill won the Red Garrett Award in 1957-58 as the AHL’s rookie of the year with the Providence Reds. Three times Sweeney won the Sollenberger Trophy as the AHL’s scoring champion, all as a member of the Springfield Indians. Three times, with Springfield, he was part of Calder Cup winning teams as AHL playoff champs. In 1996, he was inducted into the Springfield Hockey Hall of Fame.

Sweeney still sits 10th on the all-time AHL career points list with 804 points over 12 seasons – at least two seasons less than any of the top 9. His three consecutive 100+ points seasons from 1960-61 to 1962-63 leave him still tied for the most consecutive 100+ point seasons. He is also tied with Peter White for the most times as scoring leader with 3. Although most of his AHL career was spent with Springfield, he played a season with the Buffalo Bisons, Rochester Americans and, as mentioned, his rookie season with Providence.

Bill Sweeney died in 1991 at just 54 years of age.

Check out Bill Sweeney’s bio at the official AHL Hall Of Fame website.

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