Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Archive for the ‘American Hockey League’ Category

1990-1997 Binghamton Rangers

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Don BiggsAmerican Hockey League (1990-1997)

Born: 1990 – Affiliation change from Binghamton Whalers
Moved: June 8, 1997 (Hartford Wolfpack)

Arena: Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena

Team Colors:

Owners: Bob Carr, Jim McCoy and Tom Mitchell

Calder Cup Championships: None

 

The Binghamton Rangers were the top farm club of the New York Rangers for seven seasons during the 1990’s.

The 1992-93 Binghamton squad re-wrote the American Hockey League record books. Journeyman center Don Biggs (pictured top right) had the greatest offensive season in AHL history with 54 goals and 84 assists. His 138 point campaign still stands as the league record nearly a quarter century on. Despite his amazing scoring pace, Biggs never earned a call-up to New York. His NHL career was limited to 11 games with the Philadelpia Flyers during the 1989-90 season. Biggs’ greatest claim to fame was  to serve as Patrick Swayze’s skating double in the 1986 hockey flick Youngblood.

Led by Biggs, the 1992-93 Rangers posted the best regular season the AHL had ever seen with a 57-13-10 record. With 124 points, the Rangers finished a whopping 37 points ahead of the 2nd place Rochester Americans in the AHL’s Southern Division. But Rochester shocked Binghamton in the Calder Cup playoff quarterfinals, bouncing the B-Rangers in seven games. Binghamton’s regular season record held up for 17 years until the 2009-10 Hershey Bears eclipsed it with 60 regular season wins.

In 1997 the New York Rangers purchased the AHL franchise from local ownership and moved the club to Hartford, Connecticut. Binghamton hockey fans were saddled with a far inferior product for the next five winters as the B.C. Icemen of the lowel-level United Hockey League moved in to Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena. But the AHL returned in 2002 with the formation of the Binghamton Senators. The B-Sens would finally win the city’s first Calder Cup championship in 2011.

 

Binghamton Rangers Memorabilia

 

Binghamton Rangers Video

January 4, 1996 international exhibition contest against Yaroslavl Torpedo of Russia at Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena.

 

Links

American Hockey League Media Guides

American Hockey League Programs

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1971-1976 Richmond Robins

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1973 Richmond Robins ProgramAmerican Hockey League (1971-1976)

Born: April 1971 – The Quebec Aces relocate to Richmond, VA
Folded: June 21, 1976

Arena: Richmond Coliseum

Team Colors:

Owners: 

Calder Cup Championships: None

 

The Richmond Robins were the top farm club of the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers during the early and mid-1970’s. The Robins endured five straight losing seasons, even as the Broad Street Bullies-era Flyers won back-to-back Stanley Cups.

Richmond fans took an early interest in the team upon its arrival in 1971. The Robins drew 225,059 fans for 38 dates at the Richmond Coliseum during the winter of 1971-72. But attendance drop consistently in the years that followed. Two seasons later, season attendance was down nearly a third to 159,738.

At the end of the Robins’ fifth season, the club made it to the Calder Cup semi-finals, despite another losing regular season. After the playoffs the team embarked on a “Save The Robins” campaign with a goal of 3,000 season ticket deposits of $100 each. When the deadline arrived on June 21, 1976, the team had secured fewer than 1,000 commitments. Team founder E. Claiborne Robins pulled the plug, citing more than $1 million in financial losses over the Robin’s five-year run.

 

Richmond Robins Memorabilia

 

Links

American Hockey League Media Guides

American Hockey League Programs

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Written by Drew Crossley

January 21st, 2017 at 8:29 pm

1972-1992 New Haven Nighthawks

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New Haven Nighthawks ProgramAmerican Hockey League (1972-1992)

Born: 1972
Re-Branded:
1992 (New Haven Senators)

Arena: New Haven Coliseum (8,765)

Team Colors:

Owners:

Calder Cup Championships: None

 

The New Haven Nighthawks were the first (and by the far the finest) of four minor hockey franchises to make their home in the New Haven Veterans Memorial Coliseum.  The Coliseum, opened in 1972, was a capstone of the massive urban renewal investments in New Haven during the long Mayoral regime of Richard C. Lee (1954-1970).  The 11,000-seat building was a ghastly concrete and steel edifice with a novel design element: a four-story steel parking garage balanced atop the arena’s roof.

The Nighthawks joined the American Hockey League as an expansion club in 1972 and would be the anchor tenant of the building for the next twenty years.  The Nighthawks first appearance in New Haven was an exhibition contest against their NHL parent club, the Minnesota North Stars, on September 27th, 1972. The crowd of 8,114 was the largest that would ever watch a Nighthawks game at the Coliseum.

The Nighthawks’ finest years came during the 1970’s. The Coliseum was still new and the team served as a farm club for NHL teams with local Connecticut fan appeal, including the New York Islanders (1972-73) and New York Rangers (1977-1981).  In a five-season stretch between 1975 and 1979, the Nighthawks made three Calder Cup finals appearances, losing all three times.

The Nighthawks’ fortunes declined in the 1980’s.  The Rangers affiliation ended in 1981, replaced by the Los Angeles Kings who bought the team outright from local ownership in 1983.  The steel parking garage on the Coliseum roof began to rust and corrode. In 1980 a piece concrete fell from the garage and struck Coliseum Executive Director Anthony Tavares as he walked on the sidewalk below.  By the middle of the decade, more than half of the 2,400 parking spots on the roof were cordoned off as unsafe. Inside the arena, enormous curtains draped off the thousands of Coliseum seats that went unsold for Nighthawks games.

In the spring of 1987, the Los Angeles Kings issued an ultimatum to the Nighthawks local advisory board: sell 1,300 season tickets for the 1987-88 season or lose the team.  Joel Schiavone, the team’s former owner and still chairman of the advisory board, ascended to the Coliseum roof and camped out for a week in a plywood shack with a telephone and a portable toilet.  Schiavone’s Save the Team stunt worked and bought the Nighthawks another five seasons in New Haven, even as public officials openly discussed plans for tearing down and re-developing the Coliseum.

In the spring of 1989, despite a 4th place regular season finish, the Nighthawks caught fire in the playoffs and  made it to the Calder Cup finals.  The Adirondack Red Wings defeated the Nighthawks in five games.  It was the Nighthawks’ fourth and final championship series appearance. The club never managed to hoist the Calder Cup.

In 1992, the NHL’s newest expansion franchise, the Ottawa Senators, became the new parent club of the Nighthawks. The Senators compelled New Haven’s new owner, Peter Shipman, to re-brand the team as the New Haven Senators for the 1992-93 season. With the demise of the beloved Nighthawks, fan interest crashed through the floor the next winter.  The former Nighthawks franchise left town for Prince Edward Island, Canada in the summer of 1993.

The AHL returned to New Haven and the Coliseum with the Beast of New Haven franchise. That club lasted just two seasons and was quickly replaced by the New Haven Knights of the lower-level United Hockey League.  The Knights folded up shop in 2002 and the Coliseum closed down later that year.  The hulking carcass of the Coliseum remained downtown for five more years as parts of the building were plucked away and city fathers debated who would pay for the final demolition. After years of inertia, the remaining structure of the Coliseum was imploded in January 2007.

 

New Haven Nighthawks Memorabilia

 

Links

American Hockey League Media Guides

American Hockey League Programs

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Written by AC

October 25th, 2015 at 10:06 pm

Maine Mariners vs. New Haven Nighthawks. May 15, 1978

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Guy Delparte Maine MarinersMaine Mariners vs. New Haven Nighthawks
Calder Cup Finals, Game 5
May 15, 1978
Cumberland County Civic Center
Attendance: 6,966

American Hockey League Programs

 

Great old game day program from the 5th and deciding game of the 1978 Calder Cup Finals, the championship of the American Hockey League.  The Maine Mariners were a new franchise in the AHL in 1977 and they enjoyed a charmed first season at Portland’s new $8 million Cumberland County Civic Center.  The Philadelphia Flyers’ farm club finished with the best record in the AHL during the regular season (43-28-9) and regularly jammed the Civic Center with big crowds.

After dropping Game One of the Finals to the New Haven Nighthawks at home on May 5th, the Mariners reeled off three straight to earn the chance to clinch at home in Game Five. A record crowd of 6,966 filled the Civic Center.  Tied 4-4 late, Maine right wing Tom Gorence tipped a slap shot by Norm Barnes over the head of New Haven goaltender Doug Soetaert with 5:27 remaining to seal the cup for the locals.

Maine’s rookie goaltender Pete Peeters, a late-season promotion from Milwaukee of the International League, backstopped the Mariners for all five games of the Finals series.  Peeters later became an NHL regular with the Flyers in 1980 and won the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top goaltender as a member of the Boston Bruins in 1983.

Maine and New Haven would meet again the following spring in a Calder Cup Finals rematch.  The Mariners swept the Nighthawks in four straight in 1979 to repeat as AHL champions.

Minor league journeyman Guy Delparte is pictured on the cover of the evening’s SCORE game program.

 

==Links==

New Haven Nighthawks Home Page

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Written by AC

October 25th, 2015 at 8:01 pm

1996-2011 Manitoba Moose

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Manitoba Moose Media GuideInternational Hockey League (1996-2001)
American Hockey League (2001-2011)

Born: 1996 – The Minnesota Moose relocate to Winnipeg, MB
Moved: June 10, 2011 (St. John’s IceCaps)

Arenas:

Team Colors: Purple, Green & Black

Owners: Mark Chipman, Kevin MacLean, et al.

Turner Cup Champions (IHL): None
Calder Cup Champions (AHL): None

 

Text Body

 

==Manitoba Moose Programs on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other

1998-99

1998-99 3/28/1999 @ Detroit Vipers L 3-2 (SO) Program

2000-01

2000-01 1/31/2001 vs. Chicago Wolves L 3-0 Program

2008-09

2008-09 4/11/2009 @ Lake Erie Monsters W 4-1 Program

 

==YouTube==

2009 Manitoba Moose Calder Cup Playoffs pump video.

 

==Links==

International Hockey League Media Guides

International Hockey League Programs

American Hockey League Media Guides

American Hockey League Programs

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