Lively Tales About Dead Teams

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2002-2005 Great Lakes Storm

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2002-03 Great Lakes StormContinental Basketball Association (2002-2005)

Born: September 4, 2002 – CBA expansion franchise.
Died: 2005 – The Storm cease operations.

Arena: Birch Run Expo Center

Team Colors:

Owners: Greg Van Boxel, Joe Oesterling & Chris Webber

 

The Great Lakes Storm basketball team was a minor league outfit that played three seasons in the Continental Basketball Association from 2002 through 2005.  The Storm were based in the tiny village of Birch Run (pop. 1,555) in Saginaw County, Michigan.

Midway through the Storm’s second season in the 2003-04, former University of Michigan star and NBA All-Star Chris Webber became a part-owner of the team.  Webber’s former “Fab Five” teammate at Michigan, Jimmy King, played for the Storm that season too.

The Storm folded in 2005 after three seasons of play.

 

==Links==

Continental Basketball Association Media Guides

Continental Basketball Association Programs

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Written by andycrossley

September 1st, 2014 at 5:29 pm

1961-1968 Knoxville Knights

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1964-65 Knoxville Knights Program. Date unknownEastern Hockey League

Born: June 24, 1961 – The Jersey Larks relocate to Knoxville, TN.
Died: May 6, 1968 – The Knights cease operations.

Arena: Knoxville Civic Coliseum (4,992)

Team Colors: Red & White

Owner:

 

Knoxville’s first pro hockey team, the Knights, competed in the rough-and-tumble Eastern Hockey League from 1961 until financial problems torpedoed the franchise in 1968.

Key alumni include long-time NHL player and coach Pat Quinn (1963-64) and left wing Dennis Hextall (1966-67), who played 13 NHL seasons from 1967 to 1980.

 

==Links==

Eastern Hockey League Programs

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Written by andycrossley

August 31st, 2014 at 12:24 am

1964-65 New York Rovers

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John McMillan New York RoversEastern Hockey League

Born: May 28, 1964 – EHL expansion franchise.
Died: 1965 – The Rovers cease operations.

Arenas:

Team Colors: Red, White & Blue

Owner: Madison Square Garden Corp.

 

This 1964-65 New York Rangers farm club in the Eastern Hockey League was the last of several versions of the New York Rovers ice hockey team.  The original Rovers started out back in 1935 as a senior amateur club in the Eastern Amateur Hockey League and played until 1952.  The club traditionally played Sunday matinees at Madison Square Garden.  The Rovers were first revived as pro team out on Long Island in 1959, but changed their name to the Long Island Ducks after two seasons in 1961.

This final incarnation of the Rovers was born in May 1964, when Madison Square Garden Corp. signed on to operate the club.  The new Rovers would revive the old tradition of playing Sunday matinees at the Garden.  On dates when the Garden wasn’t available, the Rovers played at the New York State Expositon Grounds in Syracuse.

The Rovers finished the 1964-65 EHL season with a 25-39-8 record and did not make the playoffs.  The team folded after only one season and the Rovers name has not been revived since.

 

==Links==

Reactivated Rovers of Eastern Hockey League Play Sundays at Garden“, William N. Wallace, The New York Times, May 29, 1964

Eastern Hockey League Programs

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1959-1977 Greensboro Generals

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Greensboro GeneralsEastern Hockey League (1959-1973)
Southern Hockey League (1973-1977)

Born: Spring 1959 – EHL expansion franchise.
Died: January 4, 1977 – The Generals cease operations in midseason.

Arenas:

Team Colors: Green, Gold & White

Owners:

 

The Greensboro Generals were a long-running minor league outfit that was one of the first pro hockey teams to establish a following in the American South.  The Generals formed as an Eastern Hockey League expansion franchise in 1959, the same year that the city of Greensboro, North Carolina opened up the 7,000-seater Greensboro Coliseum.  To stock the team, the Greensboro backers acquired the struggling Troy (MI) Bruins of the Midwest-based International Hockey League and brought many of the ex-Bruins to Greensboro.  A crowd of 3,014 showed up at the Coliseum on November 11, 1959 for the Generals home debut, a 4-1 victory over the Washington Presidents.

From the team’s formation and through the 1960′s the Generals were operated by a group of civic leaders fronted by heating oil entrepreneur Carson Bain.  (Bain would also serve a term as Greensboro’s Mayor from 1967 to 1969).  In the spring of 1971, Bain and his partners sold the Generals to Tedd Munchak, owner of the Carolina Cougars of the American Basketball Association.  By this time, however, the EHL and minor league hockey in general was entering a period of decline and decay.  The EHL dissolved in the spring of 1973, splitting into two offshoots.  The Northeastern clubs formed the North American Hockey League and the Southeastern teams re-organized into the Southern Hockey League.

The Generals ran out of gas in the mid-1970′s.  The club’s final two seasons were marred by financial problems and a move to the smaller, cheaper Piedmont Arena.  On January 4, 1977, the Generals closed down in the middle of the 1976-77 campaign.  Three other SHL clubs folded the same week, and the league itself threw in the towel four weeks later on January 31, 1977.

The historic Greensboro Generals brand name was resuscitated in 1999 for a new East Coast Hockey League franchise that played five seasons at the Coliseum from 1999 through 2004.

 

==Greensboro Generals Games on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other
1960-61 1/4/1961 @ Clinton Comets ?? Program
1964-65 12/5/1964 vs. Jacksonville Rockets ?? Program
1975-76 10/11/1975 vs. Winston-Salem Polar Twins L 3-2 Program

 

==Links==

Eastern Hockey League Programs

Southern Hockey League Programs

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1967-1968 Detroit Cougars

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Detroit CougarsUnited Soccer Association (1967)
North American Soccer League (1968)

Born: 1967 – USA founding franchise.
Died: September 23, 1968 – The Cougars cease operations.

Stadiums:

Team Colors:

Owners: William Clay Ford, John Fetzer, Ozzie Olson, Max Fischer, John Anderson & Wendell Anderson

 

The Detroit Cougars were a well-financed but short-lived effort to bring pro soccer to Detroit in the late 1960′s.  The club was backed by Detroit Lions owner William Clay Ford, grandson of Henry Ford and largest single stockholder in the Ford Motor Co., and Detroit Tigers owner John Fetzer, among others.

The Cougars formed in 1967 as one of twelve founding members of the United Soccer Association (USA).  The USA was one of two U.S. pro leagues formed in 1967, the other being the rival National Professional Soccer League (NPSL).  In order to keep pace with the NPSL’s 1967 launch date, the USA elected to import entire European and South American clubs to compete under stage names during the 1967 season.  (The USA’s spring/summer schedule conveniently coincided with the offseason for Continental and South American leagues).

The 1967 Detroit Cougars were actually Glentoran F.C. of Northern Ireland.  The Cougars/Glentoran finished out of contention at 3-6-3.

Ian Thomson over at The Soccer Observer blog has a great piece on a 1967 riot at the University of Detroit Stadium between the Cougars and the visiting Houston Stars (actually Bangu of Brazil).

After the 1967 season, the USA and NPSL ended their competition and merged to form the 17-club North American Soccer League.  For the 1968 season, each franchise would assembled a roster in the conventional manner and the USA’s practice of importing foreign clubs was abandoned.

34-year old English forward Len Julians was tabbed as player-coach of the Cougars for the 1968 campaign.  The season was a disaster for the Cougars and Julians would resign in mid-August with the club mired in last place in the NASL’s Lakes Division.  Andre Nagy was hired to manage the final meaningless games as the Cougars finished 6-21-4.  Only the hapless Dallas Tornado (an historically awful 2-26-4 mark) were worse in the 17-team circuit.

At the box office the situation was just as grim.  Although the American Soccer History Archives has the Cougars average attendance at 4,266 in 1968, the Associated Press reported in September 1968 that Cougars fans numbered fewer than 1,500 per game.  Either way, it was a bad scene and the Cougar’s well-heeled backers pulled the plug on September 23, 1968.  Detroit was the first NASL club to fold after the 1968 and it began an exodus that saw the league shrink down to just five active clubs in 1969.

Pro soccer would return to Detroit a decade later with the formation of the NASL’s Detroit Express in 1978.

 

==Detroit Cougars Matches on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other
1968 7/20/1968 @ Baltimore Bays  L 3-1 Program Roster

 

==Links==

The Infamous 1967 Detroit Riot … On The Soccer Field“, Ian Thomson, The Soccer Observer, June 14, 2013

United Soccer Association Programs

North American Soccer League Media Guides

North American Soccer League Programs

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