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1994-1996 Minnesota Moose

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1995-96 Minnesota MooseInternational Hockey League (1994-1996)

Born: December 16, 1993 – IHL expansion franchise.
Died: 1996 – The Moose relocate to Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Arenas:

Team Colors: Dark Purple, Forest Green & Black

Owners: Kevin MacLean & Roger Sturgeon

 

The Minnesota Moose were a high-caliber minor league hockey team that played two seasons in the Twin Cities shortly after the departure of the NHL’s Minnesota North Stars for Dallas in 1993.  The Moose played out of the Saint Paul Civic Center, but also played 14 dates at the Target Center in Minneapolis during their second and final season.

The Moose’ debut game in St. Paul on October 7, 1994 – a 2-1 loss to the Milwaukee Admirals – attracted 11,652 fans.  Attendance dropped off quickly and the Moose finished the year ranked 12th in the 17-team International Hockey League with average crowds of 6,787 – a somewhat disconcerting result for an expansion team in what should have been its honeymoon phase.  On the plus side, the team’s fun, eye-catching logo was a big hit.  The Hockey News named the Minnesota Moose logo as the best in all of minor league hockey in February 1995 and the team would later claim an eye-popping $1.3 million in souvenir sales during their inaugural season.

Minnesota Moose IHLOn the ice, the Moose squeaked into the 1995 Turner Cup playoffs with  34-35-12 record.  They were swiftly dispatched by the eventual champion Denver Grizzlies in a three-game sweep in the first round.  Center Stephane Morin led the IHL in scoring with 38 goals and 71 assists.  The team’s big name was Minnesota native Dave Christian, a 14-year NHL veteran and member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey “Miracle On Ice” squad.  Christian finished second on the team in scoring with a 38-42-80 line.

In 1995 the City of St. Paul launched a courtship to persuade the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets to relocate to Minnesota.  The prospect of the NHL returning to the Twin Cities further eroded interest in the Moose.  Ultimately the Jets moved to Arizona instead, but the experience seemed to sap the enthusiasm of Moose ownership.  A few days after the Jets’ move to Phoenix was revealed in December 1995, the Moose announced a sale and relocation of their own – to Winnipeg, of all places, to replace the Jets at Winnipeg Arena.

The Moose played out their second and final season in Minnesota as lame ducks.  They missed the playoffs with a 30-45-7 record.

The franchise flourished in Winnipeg, lasting 15 seasons at the Manitoba Moose.  The team was displaced by the NHL (and the Jets!) once again in 2011 when the Atlanta Thrashers moved to Winnipeg to become a revival of the Winnipeg Jets.  The hockey franchise that started out as the Minnesota Moose in 1995 to Newfoundland and plays on today as the St. John’s IceCaps of the American Hockey League.

 

==Minnesota Moose Games on Fun While It Lasted==

Date Opponent Score Program Other
10/5/1995  @ Los Angeles Ice Dogs ?? Program

 

==Links==

International Hockey League Media Guides

International Hockey League Programs

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Written by andycrossley

September 16th, 2014 at 3:10 am

1996-2004 Dallas Burn

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Dallas BurnMajor League Soccer (1996-2004)

Born: June 6, 1995 – MLS founding franchise.
Died:
August 2004 – Re-branded as FC Dallas.

Stadiums:

Team Colors: Red, Black & Green

Investor/Operator:

  • 1996-2002: Major League Soccer
  • 2003-2004: Hunt Sports Group (Lamar Hunt)

 

Not truly a defunct franchise, but rather an abandoned brand identity from the early years of Major League Soccer.  The Dallas Burn were one of 10 founding franchises for MLS in 1996.  The club plays on today as “FC Dallas” following a 2004 brand re-boot that preceded the opening of the team’s soccer-specific stadium, Pizza Hut Park, in 2005.

Dallas’ greatest accomplished during the Burn era (1996-2004) was to capture the U.S. Open Cup in 1997.  The Burn defeated defending Open Cups champs D.C. United on penalty kicks on October 29, 1997 at Carroll Stadium in Indianapolis.  In MLS play, the Burn qualified for the playoffs in each of their first seven seasons, but were knocked out in the opening round five times.  The Burn’s deepest playoff runs came in 1997 and 1999 under Head Coach Dave Dir, when they reached the MLS Cup semi-finals.

Off the field, the Burn were considered a weak point for MLS as the young league’s financial losses accumulated in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.  At the end of MLS’ sixth season in 2001, the Burn were one of two franchises still owned directly by the league, along with the Tampa Bay Mutiny.  According to the Sports Business Journal, the Burn lost about $3M per year at this time and Dallas’ continued survival in the league depended on the willingness of other MLS team owners (still facing the substantial deficits of their own clubs) to continue underwriting the red ink.

When word got out that MLS was looking at contracting the 12-team league in late 2001, fans and media speculated that the Burn were a likely vicitim.  When the axe came down in January 2002, however, MLS chose to drop its two Florida franchises instead.

The franchise’s salvation and bottoming out happened more or less simultaneously in 2003.  After seven years as a ward of the league, Hunt Sports Group stepped to operate the team.  HSG, which already owned MLS’ Columbus Crew and Kansas City Wizards clubs, was headed by longtime soccer patron Lamar Hunt.  Hunt previously owned (and lost many millions on) the Dallas Tornado of the North American Soccer League from 1967 until 1981.  While the Hunts’ arrival gave the Burn a stable future, one of their first moves was to pull the team out of the Cotton Bowl and play the 2003 season at Dragon Stadium, a suburban high school stadium with artificial turf and no beer sales.  The move, intended to be temporary while the Burn worked on plans for a proper soccer stadium in Frisco, Texas, did not play well with fans generally and, specifically, helped to crater the club’s Hispanic fan base.

After one season at Dragon Stadium, and with the 2005 opening of Pizza Hut Park in Frisco on the horizon, the Burn pulled an about face and moved back to the Cotton Bowl for one final campaign in 2004.  Two-thirds of the way through the 2004 season, Hunt Sports Group announced the re-branding of the club as “FC Dallas” to coincide with the opening of Pizza Hut Park the following spring.

 

==Dallas Burn Games on Fun While It Lasted==

Year Date Opponent Score Program Other
2002 5/4/2002 @ MetroStars W 2-1 Program Game Notes
2004 6/5/2004 @ MetroStars W 2-0 Program Game Guide
2004 8/15/2004 @ MetroStars W 1-0 Program Game Notes

 

==Key Players==

  • Leonel Alvarez
  • Jason Kreis
  • Oscar Pareja
  • Hugo Sanchez

 

==In Memoriam==

Long-time Burn/FC Dallas midfielder and broadcaster Bobby Rhine died of a heart attach on September 5, 2011 at age 35.

 

==YouTube==

Highlights of the Burn’s 1997 U.S. Open Cup final victory over D.C. United. October 29, 1997.

 

Burn at Los Angeles Galaxy, June 4th, 1998.  Dallas 8-1 loss remains the record holder for most lopsided defeat in MLS history:

 

==Links==

Major League Soccer Media Guides

Major League Soccer Programs

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Written by andycrossley

September 14th, 2014 at 2:25 pm

2001 Baton Rouge Blue Marlins

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Baton Rouge Blue MarlinsAll-American Association (2001)

Born: 2001 – All-American Association founding franchise.
Died: Postseason 2001 – The Blue Marlins cease operations.

Stadium: Pete Goldsby Park

Team Colors:

Owner:

 

The Baton Rouge Blue Marlins were a deeply obscure independent pro baseball team that played in the doomed All-American Association during the summer of 2001.  Both the ball club and the league itself  folded at the end of one season.

The All-American Association was a six-team loop with teams in Albany (GA), Montgomery (AL), Winchester (TN) and Fort Worth and Tyler (TX) besides the Baton Rouge club.  The Blue Marlins did manage to win the first and only championship of the league in 2001, defeating the Albany Alligators.

The Blue Marlins were a flop at the box office, drawing just 16,616 fans for 36 home dates at Pete Goldsby Park.

Following the 2001 season, the All-American Association split apart, with two teams folding and the Texas clubs joining the independent Central League.  Baton Rouge and Montgomery joined the new Southeastern League, with Baton Rouge changing its name to the River Bats prior to the 2002 season.

30-year old pitcher Rick Greene, who made one appearance for the Cincinnati Reds in 1999, was the only Blue Marlins player to ever appear in the Major Leagues.

 

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Written by andycrossley

September 10th, 2014 at 1:46 pm

1979-1981 Baltimore Clippers

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Baltimore ClippersEastern Hockey League (1979-1981)

Born: September 12, 1979 – EHL expansion franchise.
Died: September 1981 – Re-branded as the 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.

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Written by andycrossley

September 9th, 2014 at 1:32 am

1993-2001 Sacramento Knights

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Sacramento KnightsContinental Indoor Soccer League (1993-1997)
Premier Soccer Alliance (1998)
World Indoor Soccer League (1999-2001)

Born: 1992 – CISL founding franchise.
Died: 2001 – The Knights cease operations

Arena: ARCO Arena (10,630)

Team Colors: Black, Silver, Orange & Blue

Owners:

 

The Sacramento Knights were an indoor soccer team that played for nearly a decade under the management of successive ownership groups of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings franchise.  The basic details of this club are mostly indistinguishable from hundreds of other defunct teams here on FWIL – team forms, muddles along in obscurity for several years and then is quietly euthanized.  So before running through those mundane details, I’ll just tell you the strangest thing in the Knights file:

Ex-Knights General Manager Hubert Rotteveel, once a member of UCLA’s 1985 national champion soccer team, became a bank robber after the demise of the Knights.  And not a great one.  On June 30, 2010, a bike helmet and spandex-clad Rotteveel robbed two Sacramento area banks with a BB gun.  He was caught cycling away from the second bank when the dye pack in his loot exploded in front of a patrol car.  Rotteveel, by most accounts a well-liked and respected executive during his soccer years, is eligible for release in 2014, but still faces additional fraud charges related his former real estate business.

Sacramento KnightsANYWAY … What happened to the Knights?  Original owner Jim Thomas purchased the club as a founding member of the Continental Indoor Soccer League in September 1992, a few months after he acquired control of the Kings.  The CISL, which existed from 1993 until 1997, initially attracted a number of NBA ownership groups besides Thomas and the Kings, but enthusiasm for the league and the sport of indoor soccer declined in the mid-1990’s.  NBA owners began to look to the new WNBA to fill summer dates in their arenas instead.  In addition to the Knights, the Sacramento Kings ownership also operated the WNBA’s Sacramento Monarchs during the summer months. Coincidentally or not, the debut season of the WNBA in 1997 also proved to be the final year for the CISL, which folded in December 1997.

The Knights did play on, however, joining several other CISL refuges in pair of lower-profile successor leagues starting in 1998.

When Thomas sold controlling interest in the Kings to Maloof Sports & Entertainment in 1999, the Knights were thrown in with the deal.  The Maloofs operated the Knights for three more seasons through 2001 before folding the team.

The Knights won the championship of the World Indoor Soccer League (WISL) in 1999.  They also appeared in the championship series – but lost – for the CISL in 1995 and the Premier Soccer Alliance in 1998.

 

==In Memoriam==

Former Knights Head Coach Keith Weller (1994-1997) died of cancer on November 12, 2004 at age 58.

 

==Links==

Continental Indoor Soccer League Media Guides

Continental Indoor Soccer League Programs

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Written by andycrossley

September 7th, 2014 at 2:21 am