Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Archive for the ‘AHL’ tag

December 10, 1959 – Springfield Indians vs. AHL All-Stars

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1959 AHL All-Star GameSpringfield Indians vs. American Hockey League All-Stars
December 10, 1959
Eastern States Coliseum
Attendance: ?

American Hockey League Programs

 

The American Hockey League had a fitful history with All-Star Games.  After a one-off exhibition in 1942, the league didn’t stage another such exhibition until 1954.  For the net six years, the game jumped around the calendar from October to as late as January, but always with the same format: the host club would face off against a squad of stars from the rest of the league.

In the winter of 1959-60, Eddie Shore’s Springfield Indians – mediocre at best for nearly a decade – were about to embark on a three-year dynasty as the finest team in the American League thanks to a farm club agreement with powerful New York Rangers.  They would finish first in the regular season and then claim the Calder Cup in 1960, 1961 and 1962.  This All-Star exhibition at the Big E Coliseum early in the 1959-60 campaign provided a taste of things to come for local hockey fans in the Western Massachusetts city.

Gump Worsley – slumming it in the AHL during a 15-game demotion from Springfield’s parent club, the New York Rangers – minded the nets for the Indians.  Worsley allowed a goal to Fred Glover of the Cleveland Barons at the 0:56 mark and another to Larry Wilson of the Buffalo Bisons (9:45) to spot the All-Stars a 2-0 lead less than 10 minutes in.  But then the future Hall-of-Famer settled down.  Worsley made 36 saves and limited the All-Stars to just one further tally.

At the other end of the ice, the All-Stars split the goaltending duties evenly between Hershey’s Bobby Perrault and Rochester’s Ed Chadwick.  Perrault let in a couple of Springfield goals in back end of the 1st period to know the game at 2-2 at the first intermission.  There the score still stood when Chadwick relieved him midway through the second period.  Chadwick would go on to win the Hap Holmes Award as the AHL’s stingiest goalie that winter, but this wasn’t his night.  The Indians peppered him for six goals in the exhibition’s final 30 minutes to run away with an 8-3 victory.   Bill Sweeney and Dennis Olson notched a pair each for the hosts.

This would turn out to be the last All-Star Game for the AHL for 35 years, until the league revived the format in January 1995.

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Written by andycrossley

July 26th, 2014 at 4:35 am

1981-1988 Fredericton Express

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Fredericton ExpressAmerican Hockey League (1981-1988)

Born: 1981 – AHL expansion franchise.
Died: June1988 – The Express relocate to Halifax, Noa Scotia.

Arena: Aitken Centre

Team Colors:

Owner:

 

The Fredericton Express was an American Hockey League team in the Canadian Maritime province of New Brunswick.  The club was founded as an expansion team in 1981 to serve as a farm club to the NHL’s Quebec Nordiques.  In 1982, the Vancouver Canucks entered a partnership with the Nordiques to jointly operate and provide prospects to the club, although Quebec continued in the lead role, including appointing the Fredericton President and the farm team’s Head Coach.

Fredericton ExpressStrains in the arrangement between the two NHL clubs came out in the open after the Canucks hired Brian Burke as Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations in 1987.  Burke visited Fredericton for the first time in October of that year.  The previous season the Express had the 2nd worst record in the AHL and the team’s top five scorers were all sent down by the Canucks.  Burke made clear to the local press that the Canucks were unhappy with the partnership and with Quebec’s track record in contributing worthy coaches and players to the farm club.

Despite the management turmoil, the Express had their finest season in 1987-88.  The team advanced to the Calder Cup championship series for the first and only time, where they were swept in four games by the Hershey Bears.  The losses to Hershey in the Finals series turned out to be the final games ever played by the Express.  The following month, Vancouver, as expected, bought out the final year of its agreement with Quebec.  The Canucks set up their own farm team at Milwaukee in the International League to replace Fredericton.  The Nordiques, meanwhile, moved the former Express franchise to Halifax, Nova Scotia in June of 1988, where team was re-branded as the Halifax Citadels prior to the 1988-89 season.

After a two-year absence, the AHL returned to Fredericton in 1990 with the arrival of the Fredericton Canadiens (1990-1999).

 

==Fredericton Express Games on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other
1982-83 1/11/1983 vs. Baltimore Skipjacks ?? Program
1984-85 1/26/1985 vs. Nova Scotia Oilers ?? Program
1986-87 3/19/1987 vs. Springfield Indians ?? Program
1986-87 3/29/1987 @ Maine Mariners ?? Program
1987-88 12/27/1987 @ Maine Mariners ?? Program
1987-88 3/6/1988 @ Binghamton Whalers Program
1987-88 4/24/1988 @ Maine Mariners ?? Program

 

==Links==

American Hockey League Media Guides

American Hockey League Programs

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Written by andycrossley

July 19th, 2014 at 2:59 am

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

 

==Links==

American Hockey League Media Guides

American Hockey League Programs

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Written by andycrossley

July 13th, 2014 at 2:09 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:

Owners:

 

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

 

==Links==

American Hockey League Media Guides

American Hockey League Programs

###

 

 

 

Written by andycrossley

July 5th, 2014 at 2:53 pm

2001-2006 Cleveland Barons

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American Hockey League (2001-2006)

Born: 2001 – The Kentucky Thoroughblades relocate to Cleveland, OH.
Died:January 9, 2006 – The AHL approves the Barons move to Worcester, MA.

Arena: Gund Arena

Team Colors:

Owner: San Jose Sharks

 

The 2001-2006 Cleveland Barons of the American Hockey League represented the second revival of the classic “Barons” hockey brand in Cleveland.  The original Barons played in the AHL from 1937 to 1973.  When the NHL’s woeful California Golden Seals franchise moved to Ohio to play in the old Richfield Coliseum in 1976, they reclaimed the historic Barons name.  But the club was a disaster and lasted just two seasons before financial insolvency forced the team to merge with the Minnesota North Stars in June 1978.  To this day, the NHL Cleveland Barons remain the last franchise from North American Big Four professional sports leagues (MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL) to go out of business.

Pro hockey returned to Cleveland in 1992 with the arrival of the Cleveland Lumberjacks of the minor International Hockey League.  The ‘Jacks enjoyed some good crowds in the mid-1990’s, but by the end of the decade the IHL was on the verge of collapse and Cleveland was one of the league’s trouble spots, drawing fewer than 3,000 fans per night at Gund Arena.

After the IHL and the Lumberjacks folded in the spring of 2001, the San Jose Sharks moved their Lexington, Kentucky AHL farm club to Gund Arena for the 2001-02 season.  The Sharks brought back the old Barons identity, but the farm club used San Jose’s modern colors of teal and black.

Perhaps the Lumberjacks’ struggles soured the market on minor league hockey or maybe northeast Ohio fans just couldn’t get excited about the far away San Jose Sharks.  The Barons also played very poorly, failing to make the Calder Cup playoffs in four of their five seasons.  Whatever the problem, the modern day Barons failed to spark much interest in Cleveland.  Through the club’s first four-and-a-half seasons at Gund Arena, attendance averaged only 3,716 per game according to The Silicon Valley Business Journal.   The Sharks reportedly lost several million dollars on the Barons over the years.  Midway through the 2005-06 season, San Jose management applied to the AHL to move the team to Worcester, Massachusetts for the 2006-07 season.  The move was approved on January 9, 2006 and the Barons finished out the season as a lame duck team.  The franchise lives on today as the Worcester Sharks.

 

==Links==

American Hockey League Media Guides

American Hockey League Programs

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Written by andycrossley

April 4th, 2014 at 3:32 am