Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Archive for the ‘Midseason Meltdowns’ tag

1990-1992 Saskatchewan Storm

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Saskatchewan StormWorld Basketball League (1990-1992)

Born: 1990 – WBL expansion franchise.
Died: August 1, 1992 – The WBL folds in midseason.

Arena: Saskatchewan Place (7,865)

Team Colors: Purple & Gold

Owners: World Basketball League & ?

 

The Saskatchewan Storm were a minor league basketball team that competed in the World Basketball League from 1990 until the league’s midseason demise in 1992.  The WBL played an exciting, fast-breaking style of ball, thanks to a rule that limited eligibility to player 6′ 5″ and under (later raised to 6′ 7″ in the league’s final season.)

The WBL had a handful of clubs scattered thousands of miles apart across North America.  The league was organized as a sort of modified single-entity structure, with a group of Youngstown, Ohio businessmen serving as general partners and owning 60% of most franchises. But the heart of the league was in Canada, where teams like the Storm, the Calgary 88’s and the Winnipeg Thunder drew strong crowds.  Saskatchewan led the WBL in attendance in 1990 with an announced average of 4,193 fans per game.

During the Storm’s third season in 1992, the WBL began to experience severe distress. With the centralized general partnership structure, even those franchises with partial local ownership relied on the Ohio league office to fund a significant portion of local expenses. Suddenly the flow of money stopped. The league ran up six figure debts to the Canadian franchises.  League founder and front man Mickey Monus was nowhere to be found. The WBL abruptly shuttered its two Florida franchises a few weeks into the season in June 1992. At the league All-Star Game in July, league officials handed a check for $48,000 to the host Hamilton Skyhawks. It bounced.

Eventually it came out that Mickey Monus funded the WBL for years with funds embezzled from the Youngstown-based Phar-Mor discount pharmacy chain.  In addition, many of the WBL’s sponsors and advertisers were Phar-Mor suppliers whose arms were twisted to support Monus’ basketball hobby. With Monus on the run and about to be incarcerated, the WBL collapsed like the proverbial house of cards.  The league folded in midseason on August 1, 1992.  The night before, the Saskatchewan Storm were stranded in Dayton, Ohio when no one could come up with the money to fly them home from what turned out to be their final game.

The WBL’s relatively successful Canadian franchises banded together to start a new Canada-only league in 1993 called the National Basketball League. Saskatoon had a franchise in the NBL, but with new ownership and a new identity – the “Saskatoon Slam” – to distance themselves from the scorched earth left behind by the WBL. The NBL lasted a year-and-a-half before closing down midway through the 1994 season.

 

==Saskatchewan Storm Programs on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other

1992

1992 6/16/1992 @ Calgary 88's L 120-114 Program

 

==YouTube==

Saskatchewan Storm vs. Calgary 88’s at the Saddledome in Calgary. Summer 1991.

 

==Downloads & Links==

2012 interview with former WBL Director of Public Relations Jimmy Oldham

Justia case summary: United States of America vs. Michael I. Monus

 

==Links==

World Basketball League Media Guides

World Basketball League Programs

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Written by andycrossley

May 4th, 2015 at 1:06 am

1992-1993 Hamilton Skyhawks

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1992 Hamilton SkyhawksWorld Basketball League (1992)
National Basketball League (1993)

Born: 1991 – WBL expansion franchise.
Died: 1993 – The Skyhawks relocate to Edmonton in midseason.

Arena: Copps Coliseum

Team Colors:

Owners:

 

The Hamilton Skyhawks were an Ontario-based minor league basketball team that played for parts of two seasons in the early 1990’s, failing to complete either campaign.

The Skyhawks’ first go around was in the World Basketball League, a circuit which only allowed players 6′ 5″ or shorter.  The WBL featured four franchises in Canada, all of which had some semblance of a following.  The league’s U.S.-based teams were considerably less popular and the whole enterprise fell apart  in July 1992 when it was revealed that the league’s primary patron was funding operations with embezzled money.  The WBL folded in midseason on August 1, 1992.

The group of four Canadian franchises decided to form a new Canada-only league and re-group in 1993.  Well, sort of.  Skyhawks founder Ron Foxcroft was dubious and bailed out of the new effort, dubbed the “National Basketball League“.  But new owners took over the team and kept the Skyhawks going in Hamilton.  The NBL debuted in the spring of 1993.

The new Skyhawks ownership group ran out of momentum as the season wore on.  The Skyhawks qualified for the 1993 NBL playoffs with a 24-22, but abruptly moved to Edmonton just before the playoffs got underway.  Playing as the “Edmonton Skyhawks”, the team lost in the semi-finals to the Cape Breton Breakers.  The team was never heard from again, in either Hamilton or Edmonton.

The rest of the NBL went out of business a year later, midway through the 1994 season.

 

==Downloads & Links==

2012 interview with former WBL Director of Public Relations Jimmy Oldham

 

==Links==

World Basketball League Media Guides

World Basketball League Programs

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1988-1992 Calgary 88’s

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1992 Calgary 88's Media GuideWorld Basketball League (1988-1992)

Born: 1987 – WBL founding franchise.
Folded: August 1, 1992.

Arena: Olympic Saddledome (9,800)

Team Colors: Red & Black

Owner: Jon Havelock

 

The Calgary 88’s were a minor pro basketball league that competed in all five seasons of the short-lived World Basketball League (1988-1992).  The WBL was restricted to player 6′ 5″ and under and featured an odd geographic mix of teams scattered from southern Florida to Western Canada.

True to is name, the World Basketball League also imported touring teams from Europe and the Soviet Union (who were not subject to the height restriction rules) to compete against the North American franchises.  These games counted in the league’s regular season standings.  Without exception the European teams were terrible and these contests basically amounted to a guaranteed win.

The 88’s were one of the WBL’s best teams, both on the court and at the box office.  They appeared in the league championship series in back-to-back seasons in 1989 and 1990, but lost to the Youngstown Pride on both occasions.

In August 1992 the World Basketball League folded in midseason after an embezzlement scandal involving the Youngstown Pride’s owner consumed the entire league. The 88’s went under with the rest of the league.

 

==Calgary 88’s Games on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other

1988

1988 7/30/1988 @ Fresno Flames ?? Program

1989

1989 8/27/1989 Las Vegas Silver Streaks W 122-115 Program
1989 8/28/1989 Las Vegas Silver Streaks L 116-115 Program
1989 8/29/1989 Las Vegas Silver Streaks W 120-115 Program
1989 8/30/1989 @ Youngstown Pride L 107-98 Program
1989 9/1/1989 @ Youngstown Pride L 118-116 Program

1991

1991 6/4/1991 vs. Memphis Rockers ?? Program

1992

1992 6/3/1992 vs. Jacksonville Stingrays ?? Program
1992 6/16/1992 vs. Saskatchewan Storm W 120-114 Program
1992 6/19/1992 vs. Youngstown Pride ?? Program

 

==YouTube==

Calgary 88’s vs. Saskatchewan Storm at the Saddledome. Summer 1991.

 

==Downloads & Links==

2012 interview with former WBL Director of Public Relations Jimmy Oldham

Justia case summary: United States of America vs. Michael I. Monus

1992 Newsweek Mickey Monus Profile
1992 Business Week Profile of Mickey Monus

 

==Links==

World Basketball League Media Guides

World Basketball League Programs

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Written by andycrossley

May 2nd, 2015 at 2:22 pm

1977 Santa Barbara Condors

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Santa Barbara CondorsAmerican Soccer League (1977)

Born: 1977 – ASL expansion franchise.
Folded: July 1977.

Stadium: Valley Stadium

Team Colors:

Owner:

 

The Santa Barbara Condors were a financially bereft 2nd division American soccer club that folded after playing just a dozen games in the summer of 1977.  During their brief run, the Condors played home games at Valley Stadium, a high school field in Goleta, California.

Former Liverpool captain Ron Yeats was the Condors’ player-coach.  The owners stopped paying the team almost immediately and bailed on the club.  On July 1, 1977, after playing without pay for nearly two months, Condors players went out on strike, refusing to play a pair of weekend games against the Los Angeles Skyhawks.

American Soccer League officials were unable to find new investors for the club and the Condors folded with a 4-4-4 record.  The remaining 12 games on the club’s regular season scheduled were cancelled. Midseason failures were not unusual in the ASL and the Condors were one of numerous 2nd division clubs in the States who were unable to complete their schedules during the 1970’s.

 

==Links==

American Soccer League Media Guides

American Soccer League Programs

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1973 New York Golden Blades

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New York Golden BladesWorld Hockey Association (1973)

Born: May 30, 1973- Re-branded from New York Raiders
Moved: November 20, 1973 (Jersey Knights)

Arena: Madison Square Garden

Team Colors:

Owner: Ralf Brent, Lee Matison & Lawrence Stern

 

The New York Golden Blades lasted for just 24 games and marked the grim conclusion to the World Hockey Association’s hopes to plant its flag in New York.  The WHA, a 1970’s rival to the NHL, originally hoped to place its New York Raiders franchise in the brand new Nassau Coliseum on Long Island in 1972.  But the senior circuit blocked the WHA from Nassau by hastily awarding the New York Islanders expansion club to Long Island.  The Raiders wound up in Manhattan, getting pushed around by the New York Rangers at the Madison Square Garden.  The team’s original investors bailed and the league had to take over the Raiders two months into the WHA’s 1972-73 maiden season.

The league found a new buyer in the spring of 1973 with a consortium led by Ralf Brent.  Brent’s group took over the club and immediately changed the name from Raiders to “Golden Blades”.  The team, in fact, would wear white skates with gold colored blades.  The Golden Blades scored an early coup in the summer of 1973, signing the league’s reigning scoring champion Andre Lacroix away from the similarly troubled Philadelphia Blazers club.  Then things went south in a hurry.

The new owners were still saddled with the Raiders’ old lousy dates and expensive lease at the Garden.  And they turned out not to have any real money.  Brent & Co. missed their very first payroll in October 1973.  (At least the Raiders’ owners made two payrolls before evaporating the previous winter).  The WHA took over player payroll, but Brent and his partners were still responsible for funding the remaining operations of the Blades.  By November 1973 they were on the verge of eviction from Madison Square Garden.  The league stepped in on November 20th and seized the franchise.  The Golden Blades were swiftly shipped off to tiny 5,000 Cherry Hill Arena on the outskirts of Philadelphia and finished out the 1973-74 season as the “Jersey Knights”.

The WHA never returned to New York.  The league folded in 1979 following a merger that saw four of its teams join the NHL.

 

==Links==

World Hockey Association Media Guides

World Hockey Association Programs

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