Thirteen years following his enshrinement into the prestigious Rochester Americans’ Hall of Fame, original team founder Sam Toth can now find his name among other iconic figures in Rochester sports history with his induction into Frontier Field’s Walk of Fame.
Toth, along with 11 other individuals, two teams and one charitable organization, become the newest members to grace the Walk of Fame as the Class of 2011. The Walk of Fame is dedicated to those individuals who have shaped the landscape for Rochester’s local sports scene, making it what it is today.
The group was honored during a pregame ceremony prior to the Rochester Red Wings’ International League baseball contest against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees on Sunday, August 21st at Frontier Field.
A 1998 Amerks Hall of Fame inductee, Toth was instrumental in bringing the Rochester Americans franchise to town for its inaugural American Hockey League season in 1956-57.
After the fall of the city’s first professional hockey team, the Rochester Cardinals, in 1935, Toth and fellow Rochesterian and Hall of Famer Ed House combined efforts with Frank Selke and Conn Smythe of the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs to bring the Amerks to the Flower City. Rochester was then granted an AHL franchise, using the “Americans” as a pseudonym, following the cease of operations of the Pittsburgh Hornets, who remained dormant until the 1961-62 season when the league announced plans for expansion.
Toth, a lifelong resident of Rochester, is still considered today to be the “Father” of one of the greatest professional hockey franchises in sports. In addition to being one of the founding members of the organization in 1955, he served in almost every capacity with the Amerks – owner, statesman, off-ice official and even a linseman during games. Toth also played a vital role in jumpstarting youth hockey in the Rochester area.
With the honors, Toth becomes the 16th member of the Amerks family to receive a brick in the Walk of Fame, joining past Amerk greats such as former team captain and Rochester native Rory Fitzpatrick (Class of 2010), the 1964-68 Amerk teams (Class of 2006); Jim Hofford, Don Stevens and Hans Tanner (Class of 2003); Dick Gamble (Class of 2000); Don Ch