Lively Tales About Dead Teams

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1975-1977 Tidewater Sharks

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1975-76 Tidewater Sharks ProgramSouthern Hockey League (1975-1977)

Born: 1975 – SHL expansion franchise
Folded: January 7, 1977

Arena: Norfolk Scope

Team Colors:

Owner: Tidewater Professional Sports, Inc. (Richard Davis, et al.)

SHL Championships: None

 

The Tidewater Sharks were a short-lived franchise in the Southern Hockey League of the mid-1970’s. The SHL was the former Southern Division of the Eastern Hockey League, which seceded from that league in 1973.  The Sharks joined up as an expansion franchise two years later, taking advantage of vacant dates at the Norfolk Scope after the Virginia Wings of the American Hockey League left town in the spring of 1975.

Tidewater Professional Sports, Inc., a large consortium of local businessman headed by future Virginia Lt. Governor Richard Davis, operated the Sharks.  TPS, Inc. had operated the minor league baseball Tidewater Tides since 1963 but was unable to find similar support or stability for their minor league hockey efforts.

Midway through the Sharks’ second season in the winter of 1976-77 the Southern Hockey League began to unravel. The Greensboro Generals and Richmond Wildcats folded on January 3rd, 1977, reducing the SHL from 7 to 5 clubs. The Sharks folded four days later on January 7th, along with the Winston-Salem Polar Twins who closed up shop later the same day.  The league staggered along with 3 clubs for another couple of weeks before throwing in the towel at the end of January 1977.

 

==Links==

Southern Hockey League Programs

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Written by Drew Crossley

July 4th, 2016 at 4:46 pm

1973-1977 Winston-Salem Polar Twins

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Winston-Salem Polar Twins ProgramSouthern Hockey League (1973-1977)

Born: 1973 – SHL founding franchise.
Folded: January 7, 1977

Arena: Winston-Salem Memorial Coliseum (6,037)

Team Colors: Gold, Red & Blue

Owners:

 

The Winston-Salem Polar Twins were a rough-and-tumble mid-70’s minor league hockey outfit from deep in the heart of North Carolina tobacco country.  They had one of the great (or, at least, original) ice hockey names of all time and if you have a theory on the origin of this deeply weird name, please leave your explanation in the comments.

Originally owned by a group of 15 investors, the group suffered through a couple of tough seasons and by December 1975, the Polar Twins’ financial backers apparently dwindled to one guy named Ed Timmerman who couldn’t keep the club afloat.  Famed wrestling promoted Jim Crockett Jr. stepped in to take over the team and kept it going until January 1977.  The league’s championship trophy, the Crockett Cup, was named for Jim Jr.’s father, a long-time backer of the Charlotte Checkers minor league hockey team.

By January 1977, the Southern Hockey League was in dire straits, with several clubs dropping out midseason. Crockett declined to keep the Polar Twins going in light of the other SHL clubs dropping out of the league in early 1977 and folded the team on January 7, 1977.  Reduced to just three solvent teams, the rest of the Southern Hockey League closed its doors a few weeks later.

 

==Winston-Salem Polar Twins Programs on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other

1974-75

1974-75 2/25/1975 vs. Roanoke Valley Rebels ?? Program

1975-76

1975-76 10/11/1975 @ Greensboro Generals  W 3-2 Program

 

==Links==

Southern 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
Folded: January 4, 1977

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 Programs

 

==Links==

Eastern Hockey League Programs

Southern Hockey League Programs

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October 11, 1975 – Greensboro Generals vs. Winston-Salem Polar Twins

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1975-76 Greensboro GeneralsGreensboro Generals vs. Winston-Salem Polar Twins
October 11, 1975
Piedmont Arena
Attendance: 3,065

Southern Hockey League Programs
38 pages

 

Here’s a cool looking program from the Golden Era of goonism in bus league hockey, the stuff that inspired Slap Shot.  Look a little closer at this Opening Night program from the 1975-76 Greensboro Generals of the Southern Hockey League and you can see that the cover photo shows a pair of SHL linesmen wading into the middle of an on-ice scrum.

The original purchaser of this program kept meticulous game notes on the center scoresheet.  The visiting Winston-Salem Polar Twins (my favorite hockey name of all-time) won this game 3-2 before a crowd of 3,065 at Greensboro’s Piedmont Arena.  But the really interesting notes are his painstaking (and lengthy) recordings of the evening’s penalties.

Just 22 seconds into the game, Generals enforcer Alvin White and his Polar Twins adversary Wayne Spooner were sent to the box with matching 5-minute majors.  White wasn’t done – he picked up a second 5-minute major in the second period.  Later in the 1975-76 season, on the road in Winston-Salem on January 8th, White took a swipe at a Polar Twins’ fan with his stick and was brought up on charges of assault with a deadly weapon.  (He was found not guilty).

Alvin White’s career lasted only three seasons in the low-level minor leagues, which is something of a shame.  Had he lasted longer, he likely would be remembered as one of the legendary goons of the 1970’s.  During his final season in the winter of 1977-78 with the Kalamazoo (MI) Wings of the International Hockey League, White racked up an astounding 510 penalty minutes during the regular season.  In the playoffs, he truly applied himself, spending 91 minutes in the box in just six games.  Dave Schultz of the 1974-75 Philadelphia Flyers holds the all-time NHL record for penalty minutes in a season with 472.  White averaged 461 minutes per season for his career.

Alvin White’s career stats at hockeydb.com

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Written by AC

April 22nd, 2012 at 3:06 am

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