The 2003 Calder Cup Playoffs of the American Hockey League began on April 9, 2003. Twenty teams, the top ten from each conference, qualified for the playoffs. The seventh-, eighth-, ninth-, and tenth-placed teams in each conference played best-of-3 series in the qualifying round. The four winners, in addition to the other twelve teams that qualified, played best-of-5 series for conference quarterfinals. The remaining 8 teams played best-of-7 series for conference semifinals and conference finals. The conference champions played a best-of-7 series for the Calder Cup. The Calder Cup Final ended on June 12, 2003 with the Houston Aeros defeating the Hamilton Bulldogs four games to three to win the first Calder Cup in team history.

Houston's Johan Holmqvist won the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy as AHL playoff MVP and also set a record for most minutes played by a goaltender in a single playoff with 1498. Jarret Stoll of the Hamilton Bulldogs set an AHL playoff record for the fastest goal from the start of a period by scoring 4 seconds into the 3rd period on May 22, 2003 against Binghamton. Hamilton's Michael Ryder ended the longest game in AHL history when he scored at 14:56 of the fourth overtime in Game 2 of the Calder Cup Final. However, this record was eclipsed during the 2008 Calder Cup Playoffs.

Playoff Seeds[edit | edit source]

After the 2002–03 AHL regular season, 20 teams qualified for the playoffs. The top ten teams from each conference qualified for the playoffs. The Hamilton Bulldogs were the Eastern Conference regular season champions as well as the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy winners with the best overall regular season record. The Grand Rapids Griffins were the Western Conference regular season champions. Division champions were automatically ranked 1-3.

Eastern Conference[edit | edit source]

  1. Hamilton Bulldogs - Canadian Division and Eastern Conference regular season champions; Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy winners, 110 points
  2. Providence Bruins - North Division champions, 104 points
  3. Binghamton Senators - East Division champions, 97 points
  4. Manchester Monarchs - 97 points
  5. Bridgeport Sound Tigers - 94 points
  6. Worcester IceCats - 88 points
  7. Hartford Wolf Pack - 86 points
  8. Portland Pirates - 85 points
  9. Manitoba Moose - 84 points
  10. Springfield Falcons - 76 points

Western Conference[edit | edit source]

  1. Grand Rapids Griffins - Central Division and Western Conference regular season champions, 106 points
  2. Houston Aeros - West Division champions, 104 points
  3. Norfolk Admirals - South Division champions, 91 points
  4. Chicago Wolves - 98 points
  5. Hershey Bears - 89 points
  6. San Antonio Rampage - 87 points
  7. Milwaukee Admirals - 85 points
  8. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins - 84 points
  9. Utah Grizzlies - 83 points
  10. Rochester Americans - 81 points

Bracket[edit | edit source]

  Eastern Conference Qualifier
                 
7 Hartford Wolf Pack 0
10 Springfield Falcons 2
  Eastern Conference Qualifier
                 
8 Portland Pirates 1
9 Manitoba Moose 2
  Western Conference Qualifier
                 
7 Milwaukee Admirals 2
10 Rochester Americans 1
  Western Conference Qualifier
                 
8 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 2
9 Utah Grizzlies 0
  Conference Quarterfinals Conference Semifinals Conference Finals Calder Cup Final
                                     
1  Hamilton 3     1  Hamilton 4  
8  Springfield 1     9  Manitoba 3  


2  Providence 1 Eastern Conference
7  Manitoba 3  
    1  Hamilton 4  
  3  Binghamton 1  
3  Binghamton 3  
6  Worcester 0  
4  Manchester 0   3  Binghamton 4
5  Bridgeport 3     5  Bridgeport 2  


  E1  Hamilton 3
(Pairings are re-seeded after the first round.)
  W2  Houston 4
1  Grand Rapids 3     1  Grand Rapids 4
8  Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 1     4  Chicago 0  
2  Houston 3
7  Milwaukee 0  
  1  Grand Rapids 3
  2  Houston 4  
3  Norfolk 3  
6  San Antonio 0   Western Conference
4  Chicago 3   2  Houston 4
5  Hershey 2     3  Norfolk 2  
  • During the first three rounds home ice is determined by seeding number, not position on the bracket. In the Finals the team with the better regular season record has home ice.

The top 6 teams in each conference receive byes to the Conference Quarterfinals. In each round, the highest remaining seed in each conference is matched against the lowest remaining seed. In the qualification round, all games are played at the arena of the higher seed. In each round the higher seed receives home ice advantage, meaning they receive the "extra" game on home-ice if the series reaches the maximum number of games. There is no set series format for each series after the Qualification Round due to arena scheduling conflicts and travel considerations.

Conference Qualifiers[edit | edit source]

Note 1: All times are in Eastern Time (UTC-4).
Note 2: Game times in italics signify games to be played only if necessary.
Note 3: Home team is listed first.

Eastern Conference[edit | edit source]

(7) Hartford Wolf Pack vs. (10) Springfield Falcons[edit | edit source]

Springfield won series 2 – 0


(8) Portland Pirates vs. (9) Manitoba Moose[edit | edit source]

Manitoba won series 2 – 1


Western Conference[edit | edit source]

(7) Milwaukee Admirals vs. (10) Rochester Americans[edit | edit source]

Milwaukee won series 2 – 1


(8) Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins vs. (9) Utah Grizzlies[edit | edit source]

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton won series 2 – 0


Conference Quarterfinals[edit | edit source]

Eastern Conference[edit | edit source]

(1) Hamilton Bulldogs vs. (10) Springfield Falcons[edit | edit source]

Hamilton won series 3 – 1


(2) Providence Bruins vs. (9) Manitoba Moose[edit | edit source]

Manitoba won series 3 – 1


(3) Binghamton Senators vs. (6) Worcester IceCats[edit | edit source]

Binghamton won series 3 – 0


(4) Manchester Monarchs vs. (5) Bridgeport Sound Tigers[edit | edit source]

Bridgeport won series 3 - 0


Western Conference[edit | edit source]

(1) Grand Rapids Griffins vs. (8) Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins[edit | edit source]

Grand Rapids won series 3 - 1


(2) Houston Aeros vs. (7) Milwaukee Admirals[edit | edit source]

Houston won series 3 - 0


(3) Norfolk Admirals vs. (6) San Antonio Rampage[edit | edit source]

Norfolk won series 3 - 0


(4) Chicago Wolves vs. (5) Hershey Bears[edit | edit source]

Chicago won series 3 - 2


Conference Semifinals[edit | edit source]

Eastern Conference[edit | edit source]

(1) Hamilton Bulldogs vs. (9) Manitoba Moose[edit | edit source]

Hamilton won series 4 - 3


(3) Binghamton Senators vs. (5) Bridgeport Sound Tigers[edit | edit source]

Binghamton won series 4 - 2


Western Conference[edit | edit source]

(1) Grand Rapids Griffins vs. (4) Chicago Wolves[edit | edit source]

Grand Rapids won series 4 - 0


(2) Houston Aeros vs. (3) Norfolk Admirals[edit | edit source]

Houston won series 4 - 2


Conference finals[edit | edit source]

Eastern Conference[edit | edit source]

(1) Hamilton Bulldogs vs. (3) Binghamton Senators[edit | edit source]

Hamilton won series 4 - 1


Western Conference[edit | edit source]

(1) Grand Rapids Griffins vs. (2) Houston Aeros[edit | edit source]

Houston won series 4 - 3


Calder Cup Final[edit | edit source]

(E1) Hamilton Bulldogs vs. (W2) Houston Aeros[edit | edit source]

Houston won series 4 - 3


See Also[edit | edit source]

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