Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Archive for the ‘Atlantic Coast Hockey League’ Category

1981-82 Cape Cod Buccaneers

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1981-82 Cape Cod Buccaneers ProgramAtlantic Coast Hockey League (1981-1982)

Born: 1981 – ACHL founding franchise
Folded: February 1, 1982

Arena: Cape Cod Coliseum (4,946)

Team Colors:

Owner: Vince McMahon

ACHL Championships: None

 

The Cape Cod Buccaneers were the first team sports venture for World Wrestling Entertainment impresario Vince McMahon back in the winter of 1981-82. McMahon held the lease on the Cape Cod Coliseum at the time, where he staged a number of wrestling promotions. He formed the Bucs in the summer of 1981 and entered the team in the newly formed Atlantic Coast Hockey League (ACHL). Three previous Cape pro hockey ventures – the Cubs, Codders and Freedoms – failed at the Coliseum during the previous decade.

In early 1982, the legendary Philadelphia Flyers enforcer Dave Schultz published a memoir, Hammer: Confessions of a Hockey Enforcer with Stan Fischler. Schultz held the NHL records for most penalty minutes in a season (1974-75) and in a career. Schultz’s book and the accompanying media campaign repudiated violence in hockey. In an effort to hype the book, Schultz struck a deal to suit up for the Cape Cod Buccaneers for a February 6th, 1982 ACHL contest against the Winston-Salem Thunderbirds at the Cape Cod Coliseum.

The Schultz appearance on the Cape never came to pass. ACHL franchises were dropping like flies. In late January 1982, the league put forward a plan to cancel the remained of the regular season and move directly to a hastily organized playoff tournament. The Buccaneers’ record stood at 17-21-1. Vince McMahon objected to the plan and folded the team on February 1st, 1982.

Pro hockey never returned to Cape Cod. The Coliseum closed its doors in 1984 and was converted to a warehouse.

 

Links

Streaker Sports has sells a retro Cape Cod Buccaneers t-shirt on their website here

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Written by Drew Crossley

January 4th, 2017 at 2:50 am

1982-83 Virginia Raiders

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1982-83 Virginia Raiders ProgramAtlantic Coast Hockey League (1982-1983)

Born: 1982 – Re-branded from Salem Raiders
Folded: August 1983

Arena: Salem-Roanoke County Civic Center

Team Colors:

Owner: Henry Brabham

ACHL Championships: None

 

The Virginia Raiders were a lower-tier minor league hockey club out of Salem, Virginia. The franchise was formerly known as the Salem Raiders (1980-1982). They played just one season under the Virginia Raiders name before folding.

The Raiders finished 4th in the 6-team Atlantic Coast Hockey League with a 20-36-9 record during the winter of 1982-83. The eventual champion Carolina Thunderbirds swept the Raiders out of the playoffs in the first round.

Minor league journeyman Dave MacQueen led the Raiders in scoring with 42 goals and 36 assists during the 1982-83 campaign.

Henry Brabham, an oilman who owned several mid-Atlantic minor league hockey franchises during the 1980’s and 1990’s, operated the Raiders during their final season in Salem. He folded the Raiders in August 1983, citing $100,000 in losses during the 1982-83 season. Several months later, however, he purchased the ACHL’s struggling Nashville South Stars club and moved the franchise in mid-season back to the Salem Civic Center, renaming them the Virginia Lancers.

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Written by Drew Crossley

October 9th, 2016 at 8:54 pm

1982-1987 Erie Golden Blades

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Erie Golden Blades ProgramAtlantic Coast Hockey League (1982-1987)

Born: 1982
Folded: 1987

Arenas:

Team Colors:

Owners:

ACHL Champions: 1984

 

Text coming soon…

 

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Written by AC

October 4th, 2015 at 5:33 pm

1981-1993 Baltimore Skipjacks

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1983-84 Baltimore Skipjacks ProgramAtlantic Coast Hockey League (1981-1982)
American Hockey League (1982-1993)

Born: September 1981 – Baltimore Clippers re-branded as the Skipjacks.
Move Announced: March 26, 1993 (Portland Pirates)
Final Game as Skipjacks: April 30th, 1993

Arena: Baltimore Civic Center (10,200)

Team Colors:

Owners:

  • 1981-????: Baltimore Hockey Advocates
  • 1987-1993: Tom Ebright and Baltimore Hockey Advocates.

Calder Cup Championships: None

 

The Baltimore Skipjacks were a minor league hockey club that served as a farm team to the Boston Bruins (1982-1983), Pittsburgh Penguins (1982-1987) and Washington Capitals (1988-1993).  Prior to the Skipjacks, Baltimore had a long and checkered history with pro hockey.  Going back to the World War II era, all of Baltimore’s various minor league clubs were named the “Clippers”.

The Skipjacks’ finest seasons came during the mid-1980’s when they served as a Penguins’ farm club and were coached by Gene Ubriaco.  In 1983-84, the Skipjacks had the best regular season record in the American Hockey League (46-24-10).  The 1983-84 squad kept their core talent together for much of the season, thanks in part to Pittsburgh’s conscious effort to tank the NHL season and win the right to select Mario Lemieux in the 1984 NHL draft.  At one point, the 1983-84 Skipjacks set an AHL record by winning 16 games in a row, but they were bounced in the Calder Cup semis by the Rochester Americans.

Baltimore Skipjacks ProgramThe following season, Ubriaco’s charges went further, advancing to the 1985 Calder Cup finals.  The Skipjacks’ captain that season was Steve Carlson, a minor league warhorse who played one of the Hanson Brothers in Slap Shot.  The 1984-85 team also included notorious tough guys Marty McSorley and Bennett Wolf.  Rookie goaltender Jon Casey, on loan from the Minnesota North Stars, was outstanding with a 30-11-4 mark and a 2.63 GAA.   But in the Calder Cup finals, Baltimore ran into the Sherbooke Canadiens and a young Montreal goaltending prospect named Patrick Roy.  Sherbrooke beat the Skipjacks 4 games to 2 behind Roy’s heroics in net.

During their 12-year run in Baltimore the Skipjacks played second fiddle to the Baltimore Blast indoor soccer team, the ‘Jacks winter co-tenant at the Civic Center.  The Blast, whose original 1980-1992 run coincided closely with the Skipjacks’ lifespan, consistently outdrew the hockey team on a magnitude of about 3:1.

That meant that the Skipjacks consistently lost six figures a year.  After the 1986-87 season the Pittsburgh Penguins, who funded most of the club’s expenses, ran out of patience. They shifted their top farm club relationship to Muskegon of the IHL.  A businessman named Tom Ebright saved the team. He bought the club for $250,000 and operated the ‘Jacks as an independent club (without NHL affiliation) for the 1987-88 season.

Starting in 1988, the Skipjacks became the top farm club for the nearby Washington Capitals of the NHL.  With the switch, the Skipjacks dropped their black & yellow palate of the Penguins era in favor of a red, white & blue color scheme.  The Capitals era wasn’t particularly fruitful for Baltimore hockey fans. However, the ‘Jacks did help to produce two future NHL goaltending stars for Washington in Byron Dafoe and Olaf Kolzig.

Owner Tom Ebright lost an estimated $2.5 million on the Skipjacks over six years from 1987 to 1993.  In March of 1993 he threw in the towel and signed a deal to move the Skipjacks to Portland, Maine.  The Skipjacks became the Portland Pirates for the 1993-94 AHL season and continue to play under that identity today.

 

Baltimore Skipjacks Memorabilia

 

In Memoriam

Former Skipjacks owner Tom Ebright passed away in 1997.

 

Links

American Hockey League Media Guides

American Hockey League Programs

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1985-87 New York Slapshots & Troy Slapshots

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New York SlapshotsAtlantic Coast Hockey League (1985-1986)

Born: 1985 – ACHL expansion franchise
Folded: November 18, 1986

Arenas:

Team Colors:

Owner: Rudy Slucker

ACHL Championships: None

 

The New York Slapshots were a threadbare minor league hockey effort in the low-budget Atlantic Coast Hockey League (1981-1987).  The club debuted in the winter of 1985 with the intent of playing at the Phil Esposito Sports Center, a newly constructed 5,000-seat on Staten Island.  Slapshots owner Rudy Slucker hired former Philadelphia Flyers star Dave Schultz as the Slapshots’ first Head Coach and General Manager in September 1985.

The Slapshots immediately ran into problems when construction was delayed on the Esposito Center, leaving the team with no place to play.  They became a travel team, playing all of their games on the road. Late in the season the Slapshots found a temporary “home ice” in Virginia, where they finished out the 1985-86 season with a last place record of 21-38.

For the 1986-87 season, Slucker moved the team to Troy, New York and the Houston Field House at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.  Badly under-funded and with little fan or corporate support, the re-named Troy Slapshots lasted only six games into the 1986-87 season before the ACHL expelled the near-bankrupt team from the league on November 18, 1986 and merged the player roster with the league’s Mohawk Valley Comets franchise.

Albany writer Chuck Miller has an entertaining write-up of the Slapshots brief and bumpy 1986 ride in Troy here.

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