Lively Tales About Dead Teams

1974-2000 Kalamazoo Wings & Michigan K-Wings

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Kalamazoo Wings ProgramInternational Hockey League (1974-2000)

Born: October 17, 1973 – IHL expansion franchise.
Folded: April 2000

Arena: Wings Stadium (5,113)

Team Colors:

  • ????-1988: Red, White & Blue
  • 1988-2000: Green, Gold, Black & White

Owner: R.T. Parfet & Martha Parfet

Turner Cup Champions: 1979 & 1980


The Kalamazoo Wings / Michigan K-Wings were a minor league hockey institution in southwestern Michigan nearly 30 seasons.  Founder Ray Parfet (usually known as “Ted” or “R.T.”) owned the original Wings franchise for its entire run from 1974 until 2000.  Parfet was the chairman and chief executive of the Upjohn Company, the pharmaceutical giant that was one of Kalamazoo’s largest employers for decades.

When Parfet founded the club in 1973, the International Hockey League was a small Upper Midwest bus league.  The minor league baseball and hockey boom of the late 1980’s transformed the IHL, as NBA owners and other big money investors bought up and relocated small market clubs.  By the mid-1990’s, long-time IHL cities like Flint, Muskegon and Toledo were wiped off the map and the IHL became an air travel league with outposts stretching from San Francisco to Houston to Orlando.  Parfet was one of the only old guard small-market Midwesterners with the financial resources to continue in the modern IHL.  In May 1995, Parfet changed the name of the team to the Michigan K-Wings, acquiescing to IHL officials who felt “Kalamazoo” sounded too small-time for the league’s new image.

At the end of the 1999-2000 season, the NHL’s Dallas Stars elected not to renew their long-time affiliation with Kalamazoo and Parfet decided to fold the team in April 2000.  The move likely inevitable even without Dallas’ pullout.  The IHL’s big city ambitions had failed and the organization was collapsing upon itself.  The league would fold one year in later in May 2001.

Three months after the IHL K-Wings went out of business in April 2000, the Madison Kodiaks of the smaller United Hockey League moved to town. Parfet gave permission for the new team to revive the “Kalamazoo Wings” name.  Two years later, Parfet bought the new UHL Wings club himself.  Although Parfet passed away in 2006 at age 84, this modern-day version of the Kalamazoo Wings continues to play today in the ECHL.




==Kalamazoo Wings / K-Wings Programs on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other


1974-75 3/14/1975 @ Port Huron Flags L 5-2 Program


1984-85 12/17/1984 @ Salt Lake Golden Eagles ?? Program


1994-95 10/18/1994 @ Peoria Rivermen L 3-1 Program


1997-98 4/18/1998 @ Detroit Vipers ?? Program



Michigan K-Wings vs. Cleveland Lumberjacks at Wings Stadium. February 7, 1997.



International Hockey League Media Guides

International Hockey League Programs


Written by andycrossley

August 31st, 2015 at 3:36 am

1988-1989 Ottawa Intrepid

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John Vidovich Ottawa IntrepidCanadian Soccer League (1988-1989)

Born: 1988 – Re-branded from Ottawa Pioneers.
Folded: Postseason 1989

Stadium: Terry Fox Stadium

Team Colors:

Owner: Ottawa Professional Soccer Society (Robert Wilson, President)


Ottawa Intrepid was a community-owned pro soccer club that competed for two seasons in the Canadian Soccer League in the late 1980’s.  Intrepid played in tiny Terry Fox Stadium, with a seating capacity of around 2,000.  The franchise was previously known as the Ottawa Pioneers during the Canadian Soccer League’s debut season in 1987.

Intrepid disbanded following the 1989 season. The CSL closed down after six seasons of play in 1992.


==Ottawa Intrepid Programs on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other


1989 5/28/1989 vs. Vancouver 86ers ?? Program
1989 6/7/1989 @ Winnipeg Fury ?? Program



Canadian Soccer League Media Guides

Canadian Soccer League Programs



Written by andycrossley

August 29th, 2015 at 2:54 pm

July 11, 1975 – Philadelphia Atoms vs. San Antonio Thunder


Pele New York CosmosPhiladelphia Atoms vs. San Antonio Thunder
July 11, 1975
Veterans Stadium
Attendance: 4,012

North American Soccer League Programs
54 Pages


1975 was the year that Pele came to New York, signing the ground-breaking 3-year, $7 million deal with the New York Cosmos that changed the trajectory of soccer in America. 1975 was also the year that the eight-year old North American Soccer League introduced KICK Magazine, the stylish national magazine format that virtually all NASL clubs would use as their matchday programs until the league’s demise in 1984.

No player graced the cover of KICK more often than the King of Football over the years.  This July 1975 edition (above right) marked Pele’s first KICK cover appearance, syndicated in cities across the league after his landmark signing on June 3rd, 1975. In this case a lightly attended contest at Philly’s Veterans Stadium between the Philadelphia Atoms and an expansion side from San Antonio.

The Atoms arguably enjoyed a brief, low-key run as the NASL’s model club after coming into the league as an expansion franchise in 1973.  The Atoms won the NASL championship that first year, led the league in attendance, and seemed to have developed an American-born star in goalkeeper Bob Rigby.  Rigby and the Atoms appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated in September 1973. It was the first time the NASL had earned the cover of the nation’s top sports weekly.

Whatever claim to flagship franchise status the Atoms may have held came to a definitive end when the Cosmos signed Pele two months into the 1975 season. The Atoms on-field fortunes were in decline and box office at The Vet was down around 40% from 1974.  As luck would have it, the Atoms were due to host the Cosmos on June 10, 1975, just a few days after Pele signed.  As Philly soccer historian Steve Holroyd noted, the Atoms drew a season high 20,124 to The Vet “for the privilege of seeing Pele in street clothes!

It was a last hurrah.  Founding owner Tom McCloskey bailed on the Atoms a few months later and the team fell into the hands of Mexican club owners from Guadalajara who presided over a final grim campaign in 1976.  By 1977 the Atoms were out of business. The Cosmos, meanwhile, opened Giants Stadium that summer and would win Soccer Bowl ’77 in Pele’s final pro campaign, playing to crowds of over 70,000 by season’s end.



==Pele & Kick Magazine==



San Antonio Thunder Home Page


Written by andycrossley

August 24th, 2015 at 2:12 am

1984 Houston Shamrocks

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Women's American Basketball Association GuideWomen’s American Basketball Association (1984)

Born: 1984 – WABA founding franchise.
Folded: December 1984

Arena: University of St. Thomas

Team Colors: Kelly Green & White

Owner: Vic Bonner


The Houston Shamrocks were an obscure women’s pro basketball team that played for just two months in the doomed Women’s American Basketball Association in the autumn of 1984. The league was an attempt to capitalize on the spotlight on women’s basketball afforded by the 1984 Los Angeles summer Olympics. But the WABA was poorly organized and desperately under-financed.  Although the USA won the gold medal in women’s basketball, only two members of the American team, Lea Henry and Pam McGee, signed to play in the WABA that fall.

The league was a shambles from the start, with franchises dropping out left and right and checks bouncing higher than the WABA’s official Spalding game balls.  The entire thing came crashing down in early December 1984 after less than two months of play.

The Shamrocks were the weakest entry in the 6-team circuit.  The big name attached to the team was Head Coach Elvin Hayes, the future NBA Hall-of-Famer who retired from the Houston Rockets after the 1983-84 season.  The Shamrocks also managed to sign Lea Henry, one of the few 1984 U.S. Olympians who agreed to play in the league.

When the league folded in December, the Shamrocks languished in last place with a 3-14 record.



1984 Houston Shamrocks Schedule



Women’s American Basketball Association Programs


1977-1981 Salem Senators


Salem Senators ProgramNorthwest League (1977-1981)

Born: 1977 – Northwest League expansion franchise
Affiliation Change: 1982 (Salem Angels)




The Salem Senators were an independent franchise (i.e. no Major League parent club) in the short-season Class A Northwest League.  The Senators were a brand revival of Salem’s earlier Senators team, which played in the city from 1940 until 1960. Stockton, California businessman Carl Thompson founded the team in 1977.  Thompson and his wife Noreen owned several low-level minor league clubs in California and the Pacific Northwest during the 1970’s, typically running the clubs as independents, which allowed Thompson to appoint himself field manager.

The Thompsons’ operation was a ramshackle effort to put it mildly.  The Sens’ shared a Little League field during their first season. Carl Thompson threatened to cancel a 1977 game over a dispute with the local Parrish Little League over who would pay $75 for liability insurance at Holland Youth Park. The game only proceeded after Northwest League Commissioner Bob Richmond forked over the seventy-five bucks himself.  The Sens’ rarely drew more than a couple hundred fans a night.

Carl Thompson ran out of money midway through the Sens’ second season in the summer of 1978.  He released a number of players, including the Northwest League batting leader, and made noises about folding the team mid-summer. He was soon forced to sell by the Northwest League. A local group led by mobile home dealer Ben Yates stepped up and backstopped the Sens through the end of the season.

The Sens muddled along as an independent operation for five seasons through the summer of 1981. In 1982 the California Angels became Salem’s parent club and re-branded the ball club as the Salem Angels.

Only two Senators players ever advanced to the Major Leagues.  Catcher Darryl Cias (Sens ’78) had a cup of coffee with the Oakland A’s in 1983. Infielder Sap Randall (Sens ’81) got into four games for the White Sox in 1988.

Improbably, the franchise that Carl Thompson entered into the Northwest League in 1977 remains in Salem to this day.  After numerous subsequent affiliation changes and re-brands, the team is known today as the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes.



Northwest League Programs


Written by andycrossley

August 23rd, 2015 at 3:20 am