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1980 Syracuse Hornets

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Eastern Hockey League (1980)

Born: August 1980 – EHL expansion franchise.
Died: November 11, 1980 – The Hornets fold in midseason.

Arena: State Fairgrounds Coliseum

Team Colors:

Owner: Gaetan Gagne

 

The Syracuse Hornets were an ill-fated minor league hockey team that lasted just 10 games in the fall of 1980 before going out of business.  The club, owned by local contractor Gaetan Gagne, joined the Eastern Hockey League as an expansion franchise in the summer of 1980.  The Hornets replaced the departing Syracuse Firebirds (1979-1980) of the higher-level American Hockey League.  But the Hornets did not take over the Firebirds’ old lease at the Onondaga County War Memorial, the longtime home of pro hockey in Syracuse.  Instead the Hornets would play at the smaller, cheaper State Fairgrounds Coliseum.

The Hornets were unable to secure a parent club affiliation with an NHL team.  This left Head Coach and General Manager Bill Horton, a former Syracuse Blazers player, to compile an independent roster of castoffs and tryout camp wanna-bes.  Even at the relatively low level of competition in the EHL, the Hornets were desperately outclassed.  They went o-9-1 in the first ten games of the season, yielding an obscene 99 goals.

The Hornets’ financial situation was equally desperate.  The team sold fewer than 100 season tickets and crowds at the Coliseum numbered in the hundreds.  In early November, the team ran out of funds and did not appear for road games in Baltimore and Salem, Virginia.  A last ditch effort to move the Hornets to Utica fell through and the Hornets closed their doors on November 11, 1980.  The team played only 10 of 72 scheduled games and folded without ever celebrating a win.

 

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1979-1981 Richmond Rifles

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Richmond RiflesEastern Hockey League (1979-1981)

Born: 1979 – The Cape Cod Freedoms relocate to Richmond, VA.
Folded: Postseason 1981

Arena: Richmond Coliseum (9,674)

Team Colors: Blue, Red & White

Owner: Sandy Reiss

 

The Richmond Rifles were a low-level minor league hockey outfit that played for two seasons at the Richmond Coliseum between 1979 and 1981.  The team served as a farm club for both the New York Rangers (1979-1981) and Winnipeg Jets (1980-1981) of the NHL.

The Rifles franchise originated in Concord, New Hampshire in 1978 as the New Hampshire Freedoms, but team owner Sandy Reiss lasted only a month in the Granite State before hauling his club south to the Cape Cod Coliseum.  During the 1979 offseason, Reiss moved again, hoping the third time would be the charm in Richmond.

The Rifles played for the championship of the Eastern Hockey League at the end of their second season in April 1980.  They lost to the Erie Blades in four games.  Both the Rifles and the rest of the EHL would go out of business shortly thereafter.

 

==Richmond Rifles Programs on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other

1979-80

1979-80 11/10/1979  @ Baltimore Clippers  ?? Program

 

==Links==

Eastern Hockey League Programs

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Written by AC

October 4th, 2014 at 7:20 pm

1979-1981 Baltimore Clippers

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Baltimore ClippersEastern Hockey League (1979-1981)

Born: September 12, 1979 – EHL expansion franchise
Re-Branded: September 1981 (Baltimore Skipjacks)

Arena: Baltimore Civic Center (11,000)

Team Colors: Green, White & Yellow

Owners: Baltimore Hockey Advocates (James Watson, et. al) & Minnesota North Stars

 

The Baltimore Clippers name was a proud one in minor league hockey, used by several clubs operating in various different leagues from 1944 until 1977.  The longest tenured and most successful of these teams were the Clippers of the American Hockey League (1962-1975).  But the Clips fell on hard times in the mid-1970’s, shifting leagues and folding several times amidst the market upheaval caused by the NHL-WHA competition and the overall hard times for the  minor league hockey business in the 1970’s.

This 1979 incarnation – dubbed “The New Baltimore Clippers” on the program above right – was the final attempt to restore the Clippers name.  The Eastern Hockey League franchise was owned jointly by the Minnesota North Stars of the NHL and a group of 19 local investors and hockey boosters known as Baltimore Hockey Advocates.  The club served as a farm club for the North Stars and took their green, white & yellow color scheme from the parent club.

The Clippers’ top scorer during the 1979-80 season was Warren Young (53 goals, 53 assists).  Young later went on to have a 40-goal season with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the NHL in 1984-85.  Clippers Head Coach and General Manager Gene Ubriaco went on to coach the Penguins in the late 1980’s.

The Eastern Hockey League folded in July 1981.  Baltimore Hockey Advocates decided to keep the club going in the new Atlantic Coast Hockey League, but dropped the historic Clippers name in favor of a new identity: the Baltimore Skipjacks.

 

==Baltimore Clippers Games on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other
1979-80 11/10/1979  vs. Richmond Rifles  ?? Program

 

==Links==

Eastern Hockey League Programs

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