Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Archive for the ‘CHL 1963-1984’ tag

1958-1975 Seattle Totems

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Seattle TotemsWestern Hockey League (1958-1974)
Central Hockey League (1974-1975)

Born: 1958 – The Seattle Americans are re-branded as the Seattle Totems.
Died:
1975 – The Totems cease operations.

Arenas:

Team Colors:

Owners:

 

 

 

==Seattle Totems Games on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other
1964-65 12/25/1964 @ Portland Buckaroos L 2-0 Program
1965-66 3/3/1966 vs. Rochester Americans W 8-5 Program
1966-67 1/4/1967 @ San Diego Gulls L 3-0 Program
1966-67 1/7/1967 @ San Diego Gulls W 4-2 Program
1967-68 1/16/1968 @ Phoenix Roadrunners L 5-1 Program
1967-68 1/18/1968 @ Phoenix Roadrunners L 1-0 Program
1969-70 12/25/1969 vs. Salt Lake Golden Eagles W 8-3 Program
1969-70 1/23/1970 @ Vancouver Canucks L 3-0 Program
1969-70 2/10/1970 vs. Denver Spurs T 2-2 Program
1969-70 2/14/1970 vs. Phoenix Roadrunners L 7-0 Program
1970-71 10/10/1970 vs. Salt Lake Golden Eagles W 4-1 Program
1970-71 10/20/1970 vs. Denver Spurs T 4-4 Program
1970-71 10/30/1970 vs. Phoenix Roadrunners L 6-4 Program
1970-71 11/20/1970 vs. Phoenix Roadrunners W 8-3 Program
1970-71 11/28/1970 vs. Salt Lake Golden Eagles W 6-2 Program
1970-71 1/29/1971 vs. Portland Buckaroos L 7-5 Program
1970-71 2/4/1971 vs. Denver Spurs T 4-4 Program
1970-71 2/12/1971 vs. Salt Lake Golden Eagles W 4-3 Program
1970-71 2/25/1971 vs. Phoenix Roadrunners L 4-1 Program
1970-71 3/27/1971 vs. San Diego Gulls W 4-3 Program
1973-74 10/12/1973  @ Portland Buckaroos W 4-3 Program
1973-74 11/28/1973 @ Portland Buckaroos L 6-3 Program
1973-74 2/17/1974 @ Portland Buckaroos L 3-2 Program

 

==In Memoriam== 

Defenseman John Hanna (1968-1972) passed away on November 20, 2005 at age 70.

 

==Links==

SeattleTotems.org – An outstanding Totems history site with lots of memorabilia

Western Hockey League Programs

Central Hockey League Media Guides

Central Hockey League Programs

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1967-1979 Phoenix Roadrunners

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Sandy HuculWestern Hockey League (1967-1974)
World Hockey Association (1974-1977)
Central Hockey League (1977)
Pacific Hockey League (1977-1979)

Born: May 16, 1967 – The Victoria Maple Leafs relocate to Phoenix, AZ.
Died: June 22, 1979 – The Roadrunners cease operations.

Arena: Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum

Team Colors:

Owners:

 

 

 

==Phoenix Roadrunners Games on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other
1967-68 1/16 1968 vs. Seattle Totems ?? Program
1969-70 11/7/1969 @ Salt Lake Golden Eagles T 3-3 Program
1969-70 2/14/1970 @ Seattle Totems ?? Program
1970-71 10/30/1970 @ Seattle Totems ?? Program
1970-71 11/20/1970 @ Seattle Totems ?? Program
1970-71 2/25/1971 @ Seattle Totems ?? Program
1972-73 3/17/1973 @ Portland Buckaroos ?? Program
1973-74 2/27/1974 @ Portland Buckaroos ?? Program
1974-75 10/16/1974 vs. San Diego Mariners ?? Program
1974-75 10/28/1974 @ Toronto Toros ?? Program
1974-75 10/30/1974 @ Winnipeg Jets ?? Program
1974-75 11/2/1974 @ Houston Aeros ?? Program
1974-75 12/4/1974 vs. San Diego Mariners ?? Program
1974-75 12/28/1974 vs. Cleveland Crusaders W 3-2 (OT) Program
1974-75 3/22/1975 vs. Vancouver Blazers ?? Program
1974-75 3/23/1975 vs. Indianapolis Racers ?? Program
1975-76 10/26/1975 @ Edmonton Oilers ?? Program
1975-76 1/2/1976 @ Toronto Toros ?? Program
1976-77 10/26/1976 @ Quebec Nordiques Program
1976-77 1/12/1977 vs. Houston Aeros ?? Program
1976-77 2/19/1977 @ Indianapolis Racers ?? Program
1977-78 12/7/1977 vs. Fort Worth Texans ?? Program
1977-78 12/9/1977 vs. Fort Worth Texans ?? Program
1978-79 12/15/1978 vs. Los Angeles Blades ?? Program
1978-79 1/10/1979 vs. San Diego Hawks ?? Program
1978-79 1/12/1979 vs. San Diego Hawks ?? Program
1978-79 1/18/1979 vs. Spokane Flyers ?? Program
1978-79 1/19/1979 vs. Spokane Flyers ?? Program
1978-79 1/25/1979 vs. Tucson Rustlers ?? Program
1978-79 1/27/1979 vs. Tucson Rustlers ?? Program
1978-79  2/1/1979 vs. Tucson Rustlers ?? Program
1978-79 1/30/1979 vs. Cincinnati Stingers (WHA) W 5-3 Program
1978-79 2/3/1979 vs. Cincinnati Stingers (WHA) ?? Program
1978-79 2/14/1979 vs. San Diego Hawks ?? Program
1978-79 2/16/1979 vs. San Diego Hawks ?? Program
1978-79 3/1/1979 vs. Tucson Rustlers ?? Program
1978-79 3/3/1979 vs. Spokane Flyers ?? Program
1978-79 3/7/1979 vs. San Diego Hawks ?? Program
1978-79 3/9/1979 vs. Tucson Rustlers ?? Program
1978-79 3/22/1979 vs. Spokane Flyers ?? Program
1978-79 3/24/1979 vs. Tucson Rustlers ?? Program
1978-79 3/29/1979 vs. San Diego Hawks ?? Program
1978-79 3/31/1979 vs. Spokane Flyers ?? Program

 

==Key Players==

 

==Links==

Pacific Hockey League Programs

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1976-1981 Birmingham Bulls

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Birmingham BullsWorld Hockey Association (1976-1979)
Central Hockey League (1979-1981)

Born: 1976 – The Toronto Toros relocate to Birmingham, AL.
Died: February 23, 1981 – The Bulls cease operations in midseason.

Arena: Birmingham Jefferson Civic Center

Team Colors:

Owners:

 

The Birmingham Bulls of the World Hockey Association were one of the first major pro hockey teams to make their home in the Deep South, sharing that distinction with the slightly older Atlanta Flames of the National Hockey League.

The Bulls franchise had a fascinating history dating back to the formation of the WHA in 1972.  Originally they were the Ottawa Nationals, but the team foundered in Canada’s capital city and moved to Toronto in 1973 with a dynamic new owner in charge, 34-year John Bassett, Jr.  Bassett’s father, John Bassett, Sr., was a Toronto media mogul who owned the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League and was a former partner in the ownership of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs during the 1960’s when the team won four Stanley Cups.  The elder Bassett was forced out of the Maple Leafs in 1971 following a bitter power struggle with his partners Harold Ballard and Stafford Smythe.  (Smythe would die within a matter of weeks).

Harold Ballard’s consolidation of control over the Maple Leafs in the early 1970’s launched an era of pitch black despair for the city’s passionate hockey fans.  He failed to take seriously the arrival of the WHA in 1972 and the leafs roster was raided mercilessly by the upstart league as a result.  He then promptly went to prison on fraud charges.  While the Maple Leafs sank and Ballard fought his legal battles, the younger John Bassett moved Ottawa’s WHA club to Toronto and set up shop at Varsity Arena.  Now a second generation of Bassetts would do battle with Harold Ballard.

Birmingham BullsIn their first season in the winter of 1973-74, the Toros were a popular draw.  But in 1974, Bassett moved the Toros into Maple Leaf Gardens.  Ballard, who controlled the Gardens, was in the process of re-asserting himself after his release from prison.  The Leafs owner carried a special hatred of the WHA, who he blamed for plundering his roster and driving up salaries in an inter-league bidding war.  When the Toros made their Gardens debut in 1974, Ballard dimmed the lights for their opening game.

Ballard’s control of the building lease ultimately made life impossible for the Toros in Toronto.  So Bassett moved the team all the way to Birmingham, Alabama, of all places, for the 1976-77 WHA season.  Actually, the move wasn’t quite as strange as it seemed.  Bassett had previous pro sports experience in the American South, having owned the popular Memphis Southmen of the World Football League in 1974 and 1975.  In Birmingham, the hockey team would retain the Toros old colors and logo, but switched to the more Anglicized “Bulls” nickname.

The Bulls were not especially good in Birmingham.  They never had a winning record and made the playoffs only once in three WHA seasons.  But they always had a fascinating cast of characters.  Future Hall-of-Famer Frank Mahovlich moved south with the team from Toronto, as did 1972 Summit Series hero Paul Henderson (who many feel should be in the Hall).  But what the Bulls would truly become known for was Bassett’s maverick youth movement:  The “Baby Bulls”.

In the late 1970’s both the NHL and the WHA observed a minimum age of 20 years old to be eligible for the pro draft.  Bassett thought it was ridiculous to restrict player movement after the age of consent and also saw an opportunity for a competitive advantage over the NHL.  In 1977, he signed 18-year old Ken Linseman from the Kingston Canadians junior hockey team.  The WHA attempted to invalidate the signing, but Bassett won in federal court.  Linseman signed and scored 38 goals as a rookie during the 1977-78 season.

Gaston Gingras Birmingham BullsThe next summer, Bassett raided the juniors in earnest, signing seven more 18-year olds, including Gaston Gingras, Michel Goulet, Craig Hartsburg, Rob Ramage, Pat Riggin and Rick Vaive.  Birmingham finished dead last in the WHA in 1979-79, but the league still saw fit to name Bulls coach John Brophy as its coach-of-the-year for molding a group of teenagers into a reasonably competitive squad.

At the end of the 1978-79 hockey season, the on-again/off-again merger between the WHA and the NHL finally came together.  The WHA’s three Canadian franchises plus the New England Whalers were allowed to pay $6 million each to join the NHL.  The WHA’s remaining two clubs – the Bulls and the Cincinnati Stingers – were dropped.  Both decided to re-organize and join the minor Central Hockey League.

Head Coach John Brophy continued with the CHL edition of the Birmingham Bulls, which retained the team logo and colors of the WHA franchise.  But John Bassett stepped back from majority ownership, which would ultimately cripple the Bulls’ viability.  Magic City Sports, headed by Frank Falkenburg, were the new majority owners of the now minor league Bulls.  Ironically, the Bulls became a farm club of the Atlanta Flames – the NHL’s own struggling Deep South franchise.  The Flames would move to Calgary after the Bulls first season in the CHL but the clubs would maintain a long-distance relationship – briefly.

Midway through the 1980-81 CHL season, Magic City Sports ran out of money.  They asked Calgary for a bailout to get them through the season, but the parent club declined.   The Bulls were forced to fold in midseason on February 23, 1981.  Owner Frank Falkenburg publicly criticized the Flames, both for failing to prop up the club and for allegedly sending lousy players to Birmingham, resulting in a losing team and declining attendance.

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Michel Goulet and Rob Ramage were the last active members of the original Birmingham Bulls.  Both players retired in 1994 after long NHL careers.

Birmingham saw several other minor league teams come and go over the next couple of decades.  The longest lasting of them was a nostalgic 1992 revival of the Birmingham Bulls brand new by the East Coast Hockey League.  The ECHL Bulls lasted nine seasons from 1992-2001.

John Bassett went back to football and founded the Tampa Bay Bandits of the United States Football League in 1983.  In the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary Small Potatoes: Who Killed the USFL? Bassett is presented as the league’s white knight owner, battling Donald Trump for the soul of the springtime football league.  Bassett’s struggle with Trump was hampered by his diagnosis with brain cancer in 1985.  He succumbed to the disease on May 15, 1986.

 

==Birmingham Bulls Games on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other
1976-77 10/14/1976 vs. Cincinnati Stingers T 7-7 Program
1977-78 11/5/1977 vs. Quebec Nordiques W 5-4 (OT) Program
1978-79 1/19/1979 @ Edmonton Oilers L 11-3 Program
1978-79 3/23/1979 vs. Cincinnati Stingers W 2-1 Program
1978-79 4/8/1979 @ Edmonton Oilers L 5-4 Program

 

==In Memoriam==

Bulls owner John Bassett died of brain cancer on May 15, 1986 at age 47.

 

 

==Links==

World Hockey Association Media Guides

World Hockey Association Programs

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April 28, 1979 – Dallas Black Hawks vs. Salt Lake Golden Eagles

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Dallas Black Hawks vs. Salt Lake Golden Eagles
Adams Cup Finals. Game Four
April 28, 1979
State Fair Coliseum
Attendance: 5,858

Central Hockey League Programs
52 pages

 

5,858 Texans, the largest crowd of the season, packed into Dallas’ State Fair Coliseum for Game Four of the 1979 Adams Cup finals to determine the champions of the Central Hockey League.

The host Dallas Black Hawks were chasing their fourth Adams Cup.  Although they continued to use the traditional Chicago Blackhawks logo (see game program upper right), their decade-long run as a farm club for the Chicago NHL franchise had ended the previous year.  Dallas was a farm team for the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks in 1978-79.  Their opponents, the Salt Lake Golden Eagles, were a St. Louis Blues affiliate.

Knotted 2-2 at the second intermission, Dallas routed the Golden Eagles with four goals in the final stanza for a 6-2 victory and a commanding 3 games to 1 series lead.  Rob Flockhart and Dave Gardner led the way with two goals each.  The series moved back to Salt Lake three night later, where the Black Hawks closed out the series with a 6-4 victory in Game 5.

After the game, the victors got a little rowdy back at Salt Lake City’s International Dunes Hotel, hurling furniture off the building’s 7th floor balcony.  Both of Dallas goaltenders, Curt Ridley and Ed Walsh got arrested.  Ridley was the league’s MVP of the playoffs.  But the hoteliers were nothing if not indulgent of the marauders from Texas:

“At least they opened the windows before they threw the chairs out,”a hotel spokesman told the local press.

 

==Links==

Dallas Black Hawks Home Page

 

==Additional Sources==

“Salt Lakes Bids Dallas Hearty Adieu”, United Press International,Galveston (TX) Daily News, May 3, 1979.

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Written by andycrossley

January 22nd, 2014 at 3:14 pm

1982-1984 Colorado Flames

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Central Hockey League (1982-1984)

Born: July 1982 – CHL expansion franchise.
Died: May 1984 – The CHL ceases operations.

Arena: McNichols Arena

Team Colors:

Owner: Douglas Spedding

 

Denver lost its NHL hockey team when the Colorado Rockies were sold and shipped east to become the New Jersey Devils in May of 1982.  Two months later, Denver car dealer Douglas Spedding stepped into the pro hockey void, entering the Colorado Flames expansion team into the Central Hockey League (1963-1984).  The Flames would serve as a farm club for the NHL’s Calgary Flames and play at McNichols Arena, the same building just abandoned by the Rockies.

Calgary had a strong farm system at the time.  Although the Flames lasted only two seasons in Denver, the club played a role in developing two future NHL All-Stars for Calgary in defenseman Al MacInnis and goaltender Mike Vernon.  MacInnis was Calgary’s 1st round selection in the 1981 NHL entry draft and Vernon was the team’s 3rd round pick in the same draft.  In 1989, five years after the demise of the Colorado Flames, Calgary won its first and only Stanley Cup.  MacInnis and Vernon were both All-Stars that season, and MacInnis won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player of the postseason after becoming the first defenseman ever to lead the NHL in playoff scoring.

During the Colorado Flames’ second season in the winter of 1983-84, the Central Hockey League began to collapse around the team.  League membership was down to just five teams.  The Montana Magic nearly folded during the season, and the Tulsa Oilers went bankrupt and had to play most of the season as an ownerless barnstorming team (amazingly, the Oilers won the title anyway).  The CHL folded in May of 1984.  Spedding made a few noises about applying for membership to the International Hockey League, which took in the two other solvent CHL clubs, the Indianapolis Checkers and the Salt Lake Golden Eagles.  But nothing came of those talks and the Flames ended up going out of business.

Perhaps this was because Doug Spedding had found a new plaything by this time.  In April 1984, as the CHL was coming apart, Spedding purchased the Denver Gold of the spring season United States Football League for $10 million.  As with the Flames, the auto dealer’s timing was terrible.  Just four months after he bought the Gold, a faction of USFL owners led byDonald Trump pushed through a plan to move to a fall season in 1986, which would pit the league head-to-head with the NFL.   This spelled doom for the Gold, who were one of the USFL’s most popular franchises prior to this move, but had no hope competing against the Denver Broncos in the fall.  Gold fans saw the writing on the wall and abandoned the team and Spedding lost millions operating the Gold for a year-and-a-half before the USFL folded in early 1986.

 

==Key Players==

  • Al MacInnis
  • Mike Vernon

 

 

==Links==

Central Hockey League Media Guides

Central Hockey League Programs

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Written by andycrossley

November 2nd, 2013 at 5:53 pm