The Western Hockey League was a minor league that operated from 1952 to 1974. The WHL traces its origins back to the Southern California Hockey League (1942-1944) and the Northwest International Hockey League (1943-44), which merged to form the amateur Pacific Coast Hockey League in 1944. The PCHL was initially an amateur league but became fully professional in 1948.
The PCHL gained a foothold in British Columbia as well and in 1952 changed its name to the Western Hockey League to better reflect it’s geographic reach. The Western League operated for 22 seasons, sometimes with as few as five active clubs and never with more than nine. Starting in the late 1960’s, the WHL began losing markets such as Los Angeles, Vancouver and the Bay Area to NHL expansion. In 1972, the big-budget World Hockey Association formed to challenge the NHL and began to drain away player talent and additional markets. The league called it a day when the NHL awarded provisional expansion franchises to two of its six remaining member cities (Denver and Seattle) in the spring of 1974. Ironically, neither of these planned NHL expansion clubs came to pass.
During the 1965-66 and 1967-68 season, the Western League played inter-league games against clubs from the East Coast-based American Hockey League. After the Western League folded in 1974, the Seattle Totems and Salt Lake Golden Eagles joined the minor Central Hockey League. The Denver Spurs and Phoenix Roadrunners upgraded to the World Hockey Association.
|Franchise||Years Active||Tagged Posts|
|Brandon/Regina Regals||1955-1957||Tagged Posts|
|Calgary Stampeders||1952-1963||Tagged Posts|
|California Seals||1966-1967||Tagged Posts|
|Denver Invaders||1963-1964||Tagged Posts|
|Denver Spurs||1968-1974||Tagged Posts|
|Edmonton Flyers||1952-1963||Tagged Posts|
|Los Angeles Blades||1961-1967||Tagged Posts|
|New Westminster Royals||1952-1959||Tagged Posts|
|Phoenix Roadrunners||1967-1974||Tagged Posts|
|Portland Buckaroos||1960-1974||Tagged Posts|
|Salt Lake Golden Eagles||1969-1974||Tagged Posts|
|San Diego Gulls||1966-1974||Tagged Posts|
|San Francisco Seals||1961-1966||Tagged Posts|
|Saskatoon Quakers||1952-1957 & 1958-1959||Tagged Posts|
|Saskatoon Regals*||1957-1958||Tagged Posts|
|Seattle Americans||1955-1958||Tagged Posts|
|Seattle Bombers||1952-1954||Tagged Posts|
|Seattle Totems||1958-1974||Tagged Posts|
|Spokane Comets||1960-1963||Tagged Posts|
|Spokane Spokes||1958-1960||Tagged Posts|
|St. Paul Saints*||1957-1958||Tagged Posts|
|Tacoma Rockets||1952-1953||Tagged Posts|
|Vancouver Canucks||1952-1970||Tagged Posts|
|Victoria Cougars||1952-1961||Tagged Posts|
|Victoria Maple Leafs||1964-1967||Tagged Posts|
|Winnipeg Warriors||1955-1961||Tagged Posts|
*The 1957-58 Saskatoon Regals/St. Paul Saints are the same team. They split time between the two cities, with a different name in each market. The experiment ended after a single season and the club settled in Saskatoon for the 1958-1959 season as the Saskatoon Quakers.