Lively Tales About Dead Teams

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



American Hockey League Media Guides

American Hockey League Programs


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.



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



Beauce Jaros Home

Maine Nordiques Home



Written by andycrossley

July 13th, 2014 at 12:28 pm

December 3, 1985 – Wichita Wings vs. St. Louis Steamers

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Wichita Wings vs. St. Louis Steamers. December 3, 1985Wichita Wings vs. St. Louis Steamers
December 3, 1985
Kansas Coliseum
Attendance: ?

Major Indoor Soccer League Programs


The early/mid 1980′s clashes between the Wichita Wings and the St. Louis Steamers made for one of the best rivalries during the golden era of indoor soccer.  Both teams were popular and drew large crowds at the time, which fueled the competition.

I chose to post this game because 1.) someone posted a great-looking 46-minute edit of the St. Louis local broadcast on YouTube and 2.) we had the game program here in the archives, courtesy of Wings historian and occasional FWiL contributor Michael Romalis.  That’s the late Slobo Ilijevski of the Steamers on the cover (above right), one of the all-time greats of the indoor game.

Oh yeah – this game also featured one of the greatest goals in MISL history.  A ludicrous, ill-conceived length-of-the-floor sprint by Wichita goalkeeper Jan Olesen.  The seldom-used Dane, who would play only 16 games in the Major Indoor Soccer League, beat three St. Louis defenders and nutmegged Slobo to open the scoring in the 2nd quarter and send the Kansas Coliseum crowd into a frenzy.   There’s a separate highlight clip of Olesen’s rampage in the video section below.

The Wings held on for a 4-3 victory.



Jan Olesen’s end-to-end golazo…


St. Louis Steamers local broadcast.  46-minute edit:



Written by andycrossley

July 5th, 2014 at 5:19 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:



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



American Hockey League Media Guides

American Hockey League Programs





Written by andycrossley

July 5th, 2014 at 2:53 pm

1985-1990 Sumter Braves

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South Atlantic League ProgramsSouth Atlantic League (1985-1990)

Born: 1985
Died: 1991 – The Braves relocate to Macon, GA.

Stadium: Riley Park

Team Colors:

Owner: Atlanta Braves


The Sumter Braves were the Class A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves in the South Atlantic League during the late 1980′s.  It was a flush era for the Braves farm system and many of the future stars of Atlanta’s National League dynasty of the 1990′s came through Sumter on their way up the ladder.

Hall-of-Famer Tom Glavine went 9-6 in 26 starts for Sumter as a 19-year old in 1985.  Ron Gant and Mark Lemke split time at 2nd Base for that 1985 club.  Lemke returned in 1986 and belted 18 home runs, tops on the club.  Future All-Star David Justice, then 20 years old, add 10 homers and 61 RBIs.

Ryan Klesko and Mark Wohlers arrived in 1989.  Both returned to Sumter in 1990 as well and both would become key contributors to Atlanta’s 1995 World Series championship team.

Attendance was notably weak in Sumter throughout the Braves era.  The team rarely sold more than 200 season tickets and average crowds were well below 500 per night.  Following the 1990 season, the Braves pulled out and moved their Sally League farm club to Macon, Georgia.  Sumter got a new team, the Sumter Flyers, in the South Atlantic League for the 1991 season.  The Flyers served the Montreal Expos, but they last only one season before leaving town as well.


==In Memoriam==

Former Sumter Braves General Manager (1987-1990) Ed Holtz died of an aortic aneurysm on October 6th, 1995.  He was 65 years old.



South Atlantic League Programs


Written by andycrossley

July 4th, 2014 at 8:58 pm