Lively Tales About Dead Teams

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

1993-1997 Arizona Sandsharks

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1994 Arizona SandsharksContinental Indoor Soccer League (1993-1995, 1997)

Born: August 3, 1992 – CISL founding franchise.
Died: December 23, 1997 – The CISL ceases operations.

Arena: America West Arena (15,505)

Team Colors: Red, Silver & Black

Owners:

 

The Arizona Sandsharks were an indoor soccer team that played four summertime seasons in the now-defunct Continental Indoor Soccer League during the mid-1990’s.

The ‘Sharks were originally formed by Phoenix sports mogul Jerry Colangelo in August 1992, to begin play with the CISL’s debut the following summer.  Colangelo owned the NBA’s Phoenix Suns in 1992 and would soon win the expansion rights to the Arizona Diamondbacks of Major League Baseball.  He was also one of the key backers of the 15,000-seat America West Arena that opened in Phoenix in 1992.  With the arrival of the Arena, Colangelo assembled a stable of second-tier sports franchises to fill the dates in the building, launching the Sandsharks, the Arizona Rattlers of the Arena Football League, and the Phoenix Smash of World Team Tennis within a 12-month period in 1992 and 1993.

The Sandsharks signed a number of indoor veterans.  While not household names to the casual sports fan or soccer mom, players like Wes Wade, Franklin McIntosh and Terry Woodberry were well-known to indoor diehards in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.  The Sandsharks also signed local product Mark Kerlin, who had played for the city’s previous indoor soccer teams the Phoenix Inferno and Phoenix Pride of the Major Indoor Soccer League back in the early 1980’s.

The Sandsharks never put together a strong side in the CISL.  In four years of operation, the team never  made the playoffs an finished in last place three times.  In 1995, Colangelo hired Ron Newman, the architect of the San Diego Sockers indoor dynasty of the 1980’s, to coach the team.  But Newman only got in one season of rebuilding work before Colangelo decided to dump the team.  New owners Kerri Dunne and Brian Weymouth stepped forward to keep the Sandsharks afloat, but the deal came together so late in the offseason, that the club sat out the 1996 campaign.   When the Sandsharks returned in 1997 (without Newman), they returned to their former ways and finished in last place with an 8-20 record.

The CISL folded amidst investor squabbling after the 1997 season.  Several ex-CISL franchises re-organized in 1998 as the Premier Soccer Alliance.  The Sandsharks were not among them, but a Phoenix-based entry called the Arizona Thunder joined the new league and played three more losing campaigns before folding in 2000.

 

==Key Players==

  • Ron Newman (Head Coach)

 

==Links==

Continental Indoor Soccer League Media Guides

Continental Indoor Soccer League Programs

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2001-2003 San Jose CyberRays

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2003 San Jose Cyberrays Media GuideWomen’s United Soccer Association (2001-2003)

Born: 2000 – WUSA founding franchise.
Died: September 15, 2003 – The WUSA ceases operations.

Stadium: Spartan Stadium (16,000)

Team Colors: Dark Purple, Light Purple, Orange & Black

Investor/Operators: John Hendricks & Amos Hostetter

 

In the relatively short history and small sample size of women’s professional team sports in North America, I’d hand the Weirdest Name prize to the Bay Area CyberRays of the Women’s United Soccer Association.  After their debut season, in the summer of 2001, the league seemed to realize it was an appallingly stupid name and they changed it … to the San Jose CyberRays.

But anyway, back to that first season.  The team was actually pretty damn good under the direction of former Stanford coach Ian Sawyers.  The big star was the 1999 U.S. World Cup hero Brandi Chastain, but the offense was powered by a pair of standout Brazilians: midfielder Sissi (10 assists) and forward Katia (7 goals).  Australian Julie Murray was the team’s leading scorer with 9 tallies.

CyberRays advanced to the 2001 Founders Cup final and won the first WUSA championship by defeating the Atlanta Beat on penalty kicks before 21,078 fans at Foxboro Stadium in Massachusetts on August 25, 2001.  Murray scored in regulation and converted the final PK to earn Player of the Match honors in her final pro match before retirement.

The CyberRays were unable to recapture their first season form and missed the WUSA playoffs in 2002 and 2003.  (Maybe it’s bad mojo to change your name, however slightly, immediately after winning the championship.)

The CyberRays were somewhat of an orphan club from inception.  The team was jointly “operated” in the centrally-owned WUSA cable TV barons Amos Hostetter and league founder John Hendricks.  Both men lived on the Eastern seaboard and were more actively engaged with the WUSA franchises they operated in their local communities – Hostetter with his Boston Breakers and Hendricks with the league’s flagship Washington Freedom franchise.  According to Sports Business Journal the pair were actively seeking to unload the CyberRays to local investors in 2003, but couldn’t find any takers.  One rumored scenario had the club moving to Los Angeles for the 2004 season under the management of Anschutz Entertainment Group, owners of the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer.  But instead the entire WUSA went out of business on September 15th, 2003, rendering the matter moot.

Women’s pro soccer returned to the Bay Area with the formation of FC Gold Pride of Women’s Professional Soccer in 2009.  Like the CyberRays, F.C. Gold Pride also won a league championship.  But they too were short-lived and folded after just two seasons.

 

==San Jose CyberRays Matches on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other
2001 4/14/2001 @ Washington Freedom L 1-0 Program
2001 6/10/2001 @ New York Power T 0-0 Program
2001 8/25/2001 Atlanta Beat W 4-2 (PK) Program
2002 6/29/2002 @ Boston Breakers T 1-1 Program
2002 8/10/2002 @ Boston Breakers L 1-0 Program
2003 5/3/2003 @ Atlanta Beat  W 1-0 Program
2003 5/17/2003 @ Atlanta Beat  L 1-0 Program
2003 6/22/2003 @ Washington Freedom T 2-2 Program
2003 8/2/2003 @ Washington Freedom L 5-0 Program

==Key Players==

 

==YouTube==

60-second radio spot promoting what turned out to be the final CyberRays game ever played, August 10, 2003.

 

==Links==

Women’s United Soccer Association Media Guides

Women’s United Soccer Association Programs

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June 22, 1984 – Chicago Sting vs. New York Cosmos

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Roberto Cabanas New York CosmosChicago Sting vs. New York Cosmos
June 22, 1984
Comiskey Park
Attendance: 11,458

North American Soccer League Programs

 

Sharp match program here from the final season of the North American Soccer League.  I’ve posted a bunch of programs on Fun While It Lasted from the NASL’s terrific rivalry between the Chicago Sting and the New York Cosmos.  Although the Cosmos are the proto-Super Club that everybody remembers today, the Sting typically got the better of the New Yorkers.  Especially in big games, including their only championship match meeting in Soccer Bowl ’81.

This was an exception.  Coming off a humiliating 5-0 home defeat to the Sting 13 days earlier at Giants Stadium in New Jersey, the Cosmos rebounded with a 2-1 victory on the road at Comiskey Park.  Stan Terlecki and Chico Borja scored for New York.  Pato Margetic potted the lone goal for the Sting.

That’s the Cosmos’ Roberto Cabanas on the cover of the day’s KICK Magazine program.  The lanky Paraguayan ran away with the NASL scoring title (25 goals, 16 assists) in 1983 and was named Most Valuable Player of the league.  But his production dropped off a cliff in 1984 and the Cosmos’ floundered along with him.  Perhaps the retirement of Giorgio Chinaglia following the 1983 season allowed opposing defenses to key their attention on Cabanas.  Indoor star Terlecki struggled to be a factor paired with Cabanas up top.  The Cabanas/Chinaglia tandem struck for 43 goals in 1983.  But Cabanas and Terlecki produced just 12 goals in 1984.

The Cosmos’ NASL era would end in three months later on September 15, 1984 with yet another huge match against the Sting.  Back in Chicago and needing a win on the season’s final day to make the playoffs – an utterly alien scenario for the Cosmos – the Sting broke them yet again with a 1-0 victory.  The Sting went on to win the NASL’s final title two weeks later.

 

==Downloads==

June 22, 1984 Chicago Sting Game Notes

June 22, 1984 New York Cosmos Game Notes

 

==Links==

Chicago Sting Home Page

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Written by andycrossley

September 2nd, 2014 at 2:08 am