Macgregor Kilpatrick will long be remembered as one of the American Hockey League’s most respected and influential executives. Possessing a wealth of knowledge and experience, Kilpatrick was an invaluable resource throughout his 27-year association with the AHL.
Kilpatrick was an avid athlete growing up and was an All-American soccer player at the United States Naval Academy, as well as a top-rated cadet. He served in the Pacific during World War II and was awarded the Navy’s highest commendation, the Navy Cross, for his valor and heroism in combat.
After the war, Kilpatrick earned a degree from Yale Law School and settled in the New Haven, Conn., area, forming his own law firm and becoming a probate court judge. His entrepreneurism and marketing savvy got him involved in the promotion of a new product called Silly Putty, now an American toy classic.
Sports always remained a passion of Kilpatrick’s, and he became affiliated with the American Hockey League in 1970 when, as the chairman of Sports Associates, he was approved as an owner of a new AHL franchise in New Haven that would begin play in 1972. In their first seven seasons as members of the American Hockey League, the New Haven Nighthawks made three trips to the Calder Cup Finals.
Kilpatrick would later serve the league as senior vice president and general counsel. He was selected as the recipient of the James C. Hendy Memorial Award in 1975-76 as the executive who made the most outstanding contributions to the league.
To honor Kilpatrick’s commitment and dedication to the AHL, the Board of Governors created the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy in the summer of 1997. Since then, the trophy has been awarded annually to the AHL team which finishes the regular season with the best overall record.
Kilpatrick passed away in August 1997 at the age of 81.