Lively Tales About Dead Teams

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1981-1988 Fredericton Express

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Fredericton ExpressAmerican Hockey League (1981-1988)

Born: 1981 – AHL expansion franchise.
Died: June1988 – The Express relocate to Halifax, Noa Scotia.

Arena: Aitken Centre

Team Colors:

Owner:

 

The Fredericton Express was an American Hockey League team in the Canadian Maritime province of New Brunswick.  The club was founded as an expansion team in 1981 to serve as a farm club to the NHL’s Quebec Nordiques.  In 1982, the Vancouver Canucks entered a partnership with the Nordiques to jointly operate and provide prospects to the club, although Quebec continued in the lead role, including appointing the Fredericton President and the farm team’s Head Coach.

Fredericton ExpressStrains in the arrangement between the two NHL clubs came out in the open after the Canucks hired Brian Burke as Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations in 1987.  Burke visited Fredericton for the first time in October of that year.  The previous season the Express had the 2nd worst record in the AHL and the team’s top five scorers were all sent down by the Canucks.  Burke made clear to the local press that the Canucks were unhappy with the partnership and with Quebec’s track record in contributing worthy coaches and players to the farm club.

Despite the management turmoil, the Express had their finest season in 1987-88.  The team advanced to the Calder Cup championship series for the first and only time, where they were swept in four games by the Hershey Bears.  The losses to Hershey in the Finals series turned out to be the final games ever played by the Express.  The following month, Vancouver, as expected, bought out the final year of its agreement with Quebec.  The Canucks set up their own farm team at Milwaukee in the International League to replace Fredericton.  The Nordiques, meanwhile, moved the former Express franchise to Halifax, Nova Scotia in June of 1988, where team was re-branded as the Halifax Citadels prior to the 1988-89 season.

After a two-year absence, the AHL returned to Fredericton in 1990 with the arrival of the Fredericton Canadiens (1990-1999).

 

==Fredericton Express Games on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other
1982-83 1/11/1983 vs. Baltimore Skipjacks ?? Program
1984-85 1/26/1985 vs. Nova Scotia Oilers ?? Program
1986-87 3/19/1987 vs. Springfield Indians ?? Program
1986-87 3/29/1987 @ Maine Mariners ?? Program
1987-88 12/27/1987 @ Maine Mariners ?? Program
1987-88 3/6/1988 @ Binghamton Whalers Program
1987-88 4/24/1988 @ Maine Mariners ?? Program

 

==Links==

American Hockey League Media Guides

American Hockey League Programs

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Written by andycrossley

July 19th, 2014 at 2:59 am

1971-1974 Cincinnati Swords

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Cincinnati SwordsAmerican Hockey League (1971-1974)

Born: 1971 – AHL expansion franchise.
Died: June 1974 – The Swords cease operations.

Arena: Cincinnati Gardens

Team Colors:

Owner: Buffalo Sabres

 

Popular but short-lived minor league hockey team that played at the Cincinnati Gardens from the fall of 1971 through the spring of 1974.  The Cincinnati Swords were formed as an American Hockey League farm club of the NHL’s expansion Buffalo Sabres franchise (hence the name).

The team was outstanding, posting winning records in all three seasons of play.  The Swords ran away from the rest of the AHL in their second season, posting a dominant 54-17-5 record and defeating the Nova Scotia Voyageurs in the Calder Cup finals.

Following the 1973-74 season, the Swords closed down to make way for the expansion Cincinnati Stingers of the World Hockey Association, due to arrive in the Queen City in the fall of 1975.  The Sabres signed an affiliation with the AHL’s Hershey Bears to replace Cincinnati in their farm system.

 

==Cincinnati Swords Games on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other
1971-72  4/23/1972 vs. Baltimore Clippers W 4-1 Program
1973-74 4/9/1974 @ Hershey Bears L 1-0 Program

 

==Links==

American Hockey League Media Guides

American Hockey League Programs

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Written by andycrossley

July 13th, 2014 at 2:09 pm

October 19, 1975 – Beauce Jaros vs. Maine Nordiques

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Jocelyn Hardy Beauce JarosBeauce Jaros vs. Maine Nordiques
October 19, 1975
Palais Des Sports
Attendance: ?

North American Hockey League Programs
4 Pages

 

First off, let’s take a moment to marvel at the astonishing coiffure on Beauce Jaros player-coach Jocelyn “Joe” Hardy on the cover of this October 1975 game program from the deeply violent North American Hockey League.  The presumably natural topiary draped over Hardy’s temples rivals any of the artificial creations modeled by Phil Spector during his mid-Seventies Wall of Kelp Phase.

The Jaros, who played in the tiny Palais Des Sports in the city of Saint-Georges Quebec, were expansionists in the winter of 1975-76.  Five games into the season, when this contest was played against the visiting Maine Nordiques, there was little to indicate that Joe Hardy was on his way to one of the greatest offensive campaigns in history of hockey.

The Beauce coach/captain was a 30-year old Quebecois center who played 273 games in the National Hockey League and its rival, the World Hockey Association (WHA), between 1969 and 1975.  Although a solid scorer throughout his career, Hardy had never been notched more than 28 goals in a single campaign.  The previous winter, in his final season at the Major League level, Hardy’s skills seemed to be in decline, at least on paper.  He scored just 5 goals in 61 games split between three WHA clubs.

Through the first four games of the 1975-76 season, Hardy was off to a solid  start in Beauce with 1 goal and two assists, but it was nothing to notify The Hockey News about.  Then he exploded.  Over the next 68 games, Hardy scored 59 times and tallied a mind-blowing 146 assists.  His 148 assists and 208 total points on the season were both all-time pro hockey records.  The NAHL, of course, named Hardy the Most Valuable Player of the 1975-76 season.  More impressive, The Hockey News recognized Hardy as its Minor League Player-of-the-Year, breaking from a habit of only recognizing players in the American and Central leagues, which served the NHL.  (The NAHL was the top minor  league circuit of the rebel WHA).

Jocelyn Hardy became the first player to score 200 points in a pro season.  Wayne Gretzky would become the 2nd, accomplishing the feat four times in the NHL between 1982 and 1986.  To this day, Hardy and Gretzky remain the only professional players to score 200 points in the pros at any level.

 

==Downloads==

October 19, 1975 Beauce Jaros vs. Maine Nordiques Game Program

 

==Links==

Beauce Jaros Home

Maine Nordiques Home

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Written by andycrossley

July 13th, 2014 at 12:28 pm

1980-1990 Binghamton Whalers

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AHL ProgramsAmerican Hockey League (1980-1990)

Born: May 1980 – Broome Dusters are re-branded as the Binghamton Whalers.
Died: 1990 – The Whalers are re-branded as the Binghamton Rangers.

Arena: Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena

Team Colors:

Owners:

 

The Binghamton Whalers were a long-running club in the minor league hockey hotbed of Binghamton, New York.  As of 2014, only seven cities in North America have hosted more American Hockey League games than Binghamton, according to local AHL beat writer Matt Weinstein.

Binghamton WhalersThe Baby Whalers came on the scene in 1980 when the NHL’s Hartford Whalers acquired Binghamton’s previous AHL club, the Broome Dusters, and re-branded the team.  (The Baby Whalers logo was a clever re-purposing of Hartford’s NHL logo, which formed a “B” when rotated 90 degrees counter-clockwise.

Hartford owned and operated the Baby Whalers directly for the team’s first five seasons in the AHL.  This included the club’s finest campaign during the winter of 1981-82.  Under Head Coach Larry Kish, the Whalers won the AHL’s South Division with a 46-28-6 record.  They advanced all the way to the 1982 Calder Cup finals, where they lost to the league’s best team in the regular season, the New Brunswick Hawks, four games to one.

During the 1989-90 season, the Baby Whalers were historically awful.  Their 11-60-9 record offered the worst winning percentage in AHL history at the time.  Following that campaign, Binghamton’s long-time affiliation with the Hartford Whalers came to an end and the club became the top farm team for the New York Rangers.  The team was re-branded as the Binghamton Rangers for the 1990-91 AHL season.  The former Baby Whalers franchise later shifted to Hartford in 1997  - ironically to replace the departed Whalers of the NHL – and continues to play on today as the Hartford Wolf Pack.

 

==Binghamton Whalers Games on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other
1980-81 10/10/1980 @ Rochester Americans ?? Program
1980-81 10/15/1980 @ Adirondack Red Wings ?? Program
1982-83 1/11/1983 @ St. Catharine's Saints W 6-5 (OT) Program
1985-86 1/15/1986 @ Hershey Bears ?? Program
1987-88 3/6/1988 vs. Fredericton Express ?? Program
1989-90 11/11/1989 vs. Utica Devils ?? Program
1989-90 2/28/1990 vs. Utica Devils L 7-4 Program

 

==Links==

American Hockey League Media Guides

American Hockey League Programs

###

 

 

 

Written by andycrossley

July 5th, 2014 at 2:53 pm

1955-1964 Philadelphia Ramblers

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Philadelphia Ramblers EHLEastern Hockey League (1955-1964)

Born: September 6, 1955 – EHL expansion franchise.
Died: August 1964- The Ramblers cease operations.

Arena: Philadelphia Arena

Team Colors:

Owner: Bud Dudley

 

The Philadelphia Ramblers were a minor league hockey outfit that played nine seasons in the Eastern Hockey League from 1955 until 1964.  The “Ramblers” name was a revival of a previous Philly minor league club that competed in the American Hockey League from 1935 to 1941.  Both incarnations of the Ramblers played at the old Philadelphia Arena at 4530 Market Street.

The Ramblers were never especially good.  They advanced beyond the 1st round of the playoffs only once in nine seasons.  During the club’s second campaign in the winter of 1956-57, the Ramblers advanced to the EHL Championship Series, where they lost to the Charlotte Checkers 4 games to 3.

During the summer of 1964, the Ramblers franchise was revoked and replaced by a new club – the Jersey Devils – in nearby Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

Ramblers owner and President Bud Dudley was also the founder and promoter of the Liberty Bowl college football bowl game, which started out in Philadelphia in 1959.  Dudley later moved the game to Memphis, Tennessee in 1965, where it continues to this day.   Dudley was the Executive Director of the Liberty Bowl until his retirement in 1994.  He passed away in 2008 at age 88.

 

==Philadelphia Ramblers Games on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other
1956-57 11/13/1956 vs. New Haven Blades ?? Program
1958-59 11/18/1958 vs. Clinton Comets ?? Program
1959-60 2/12/1960  vs. Washington Presidents ??  Program
1960-61 2/22/1961 vs. Johnstown Jets ?? Program
1960-61 2/25/1961 vs. Charlotte Checkers ?? Program

 

==Links==

Eastern Hockey League Programs

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Written by andycrossley

June 29th, 2014 at 2:06 pm