Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Archive for the ‘Midseason Meltdowns’ tag

1961 Washington Tapers

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Washington TapersAmerican Basketball League (1961)

Born: 1961 – ABL founding franchise
Moved: December 31, 1961 (New York Tapers)

Arena: Washington Coliseum

Team Colors:

Owner: Paul Cohen

ABL Championships: None

 

Doomed entry in Abe Saperstein’s short-lived American Basketball League of the early 1960’s. The Tapers were owned by Paul Cohen, owner of the Technical Tape Company of New Rochelle, New York. Cohen was a millionaire business owner, basketball fan and sufferer from muscular dystrophy. It was Cohen who recruited Jerry Lewis to the cause of muscular dystrophy and helped inspire the comedian’s famous Labor Day telethons in support of the MDA. Cohen previously backed the New York Tuck Tapers (1959-1961) in the amateur National Industrial Basketball League. The Washington Tapers marked Cohen’s first foray into full professionalism in the basketball arena.

The biggest name on the Tapers was Gene Conley, a two-sport star who previously played Major League Baseball for the Milwaukee Braves and pro basketball for the Boston Celtics. Dan Swartz, a holdover from the NIBL, was the Tapers’ top scorer at 24.8 points per game in 1961-62.

The team was a bust in the nation’s capital. After just two months of play, the Tapers announced a midseason move to Long Island’s Commack Arena on New Year’s Eve, 1961, where they would become known as the New York Tapers. Following the 1961-62 season, Cohen moved the team again, this time to Philadelphia. The ABL folded on December 31st, 1962 midway through its second season, taking the Washington/New York/Philadelphia Tapers down with it.

 

Links

American Basketball League Media Guides

American Basketball League Programs

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1981-82 Cape Cod Buccaneers

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1981-82 Cape Cod Buccaneers ProgramAtlantic Coast Hockey League (1981-1982)

Born: 1981 – ACHL founding franchise
Folded: February 1, 1982

Arena: Cape Cod Coliseum (4,946)

Team Colors:

Owner: Vince McMahon

ACHL Championships: None

 

The Cape Cod Buccaneers were the first team sports venture for World Wrestling Entertainment impresario Vince McMahon back in the winter of 1981-82. McMahon held the lease on the Cape Cod Coliseum at the time, where he staged a number of wrestling promotions. He formed the Bucs in the summer of 1981 and entered the team in the newly formed Atlantic Coast Hockey League (ACHL). Three previous Cape pro hockey ventures – the Cubs, Codders and Freedoms – failed at the Coliseum during the previous decade.

In early 1982, the legendary Philadelphia Flyers enforcer Dave Schultz published a memoir, Hammer: Confessions of a Hockey Enforcer with Stan Fischler. Schultz held the NHL records for most penalty minutes in a season (1974-75) and in a career. Schultz’s book and the accompanying media campaign repudiated violence in hockey. In an effort to hype the book, Schultz struck a deal to suit up for the Cape Cod Buccaneers for a February 6th, 1982 ACHL contest against the Winston-Salem Thunderbirds at the Cape Cod Coliseum.

The Schultz appearance on the Cape never came to pass. ACHL franchises were dropping like flies. In late January 1982, the league put forward a plan to cancel the remained of the regular season and move directly to a hastily organized playoff tournament. The Buccaneers’ record stood at 17-21-1. Vince McMahon objected to the plan and folded the team on February 1st, 1982.

Pro hockey never returned to Cape Cod. The Coliseum closed its doors in 1984 and was converted to a warehouse.

 

Links

Streaker Sports has sells a retro Cape Cod Buccaneers t-shirt on their website here

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Written by Drew Crossley

January 4th, 2017 at 2:50 am

1983-1985 Dallas Americans

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Dallas AmericansAmerican Soccer League (1983)
United Soccer League (1984-1985)

Born: 1983 – ASL expansion franchise
Folded: June 26, 1985

Stadium: John Clark Stadium (14,224)

Team Colors: Red, White & Blue

Owners: Texas Professional Soccer, Inc. (Bill Spear, et al.)

ASL Championships: None
USL Championships: None

 

The Dallas Americans were a lower division U.S. pro soccer club active for parts of three seasons in the mid-1980’s. The Americans replaced the NASL’s Dallas Tornado (1967-1981) on the local soccer scene. The team played at John Clark Stadium in Plano.

Longtime Tornado star Bobby Moffatt was instrumental in founding the franchise and arranging its entry for its entry in the 2nd Division American Soccer League in February 1983. Ownership group Texas Professional Soccer, Inc. purchased the rights to the ASL’s long-dormant Golden Gate Gales franchise, which had last taken the field in 1980, and shifted it to northern Texas.

On the field, the Americans featured a number of former Tornado players on the roster, including Jeff Bourne, Neil Cohen, Billy Phillips and player-coach Wolfgang Rausch. After a hot start to the 1983 season, the American cooled off somewhat and finished with a 13-12 record. That was good enough for a semi-final playoff berth, where Dallas was eliminated by the Pennsylvania Stoners.

Following the 1983 season, the American Soccer League folded after more than a half century of operation. Several former ASL clubs, including the Americans, spearheaded the formation of a successor organization: the United Soccer League. The USL’s focus was on “Americanization” of the sport. League rules required that seven American players be on the field at all times. Dallas’ pre-season roster for the 1984 USL campaign included fourteen Americans and three foreign players.

The USL entered the spring/summer 1984 season with nine franchises and plans for a winter indoor season to follow. But the league began to collapse in the fall of 1984. The USL limped into the spring of 1985 with just four active teams: Dallas, El Paso, Fort Lauderdale and Tulsa. El Paso and Tulsa quickly ran out of  money and the USL shut its doors on June 26th, 1985, taking the Americans down with it.

 

In Memoriam

Striker Jeff Bourne (Americans ’83) died of ALS on July 31, 2014 at the age of 66.

 

Downloads

1983 Dallas Americans vs. U.S. Olympic Team exhibition game program

 

Links

American Soccer League Media Guides

American Soccer League Programs

United Soccer League Media Guides

United Soccer Leagues Programs

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1975-1977 Tidewater Sharks

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1975-76 Tidewater Sharks ProgramSouthern Hockey League (1975-1977)

Born: 1975 – SHL expansion franchise
Folded: January 7, 1977

Arena: Norfolk Scope

Team Colors:

Owner: Tidewater Professional Sports, Inc. (Richard Davis, et al.)

SHL Championships: None

 

The Tidewater Sharks were a short-lived franchise in the Southern Hockey League of the mid-1970’s. The SHL was the former Southern Division of the Eastern Hockey League, which seceded from that league in 1973.  The Sharks joined up as an expansion franchise two years later, taking advantage of vacant dates at the Norfolk Scope after the Virginia Wings of the American Hockey League left town in the spring of 1975.

Tidewater Professional Sports, Inc., a large consortium of local businessman headed by future Virginia Lt. Governor Richard Davis, operated the Sharks.  TPS, Inc. had operated the minor league baseball Tidewater Tides since 1963 but was unable to find similar support or stability for their minor league hockey efforts.

Midway through the Sharks’ second season in the winter of 1976-77 the Southern Hockey League began to unravel. The Greensboro Generals and Richmond Wildcats folded on January 3rd, 1977, reducing the SHL from 7 to 5 clubs. The Sharks folded four days later on January 7th, along with the Winston-Salem Polar Twins who closed up shop later the same day.  The league staggered along with 3 clubs for another couple of weeks before throwing in the towel at the end of January 1977.

 

==Links==

Southern Hockey League Programs

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Written by Drew Crossley

July 4th, 2016 at 4:46 pm

1975-1977 Albuquerque Chaparrals

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1975-76 Albuquerque Chaparrals ProgramSouthwest Hockey League (1975-1977)

Born: 1975 – SWHL founding franchise
Folded: January 25, 1977

Arena: Tingley Coliseum

Team Colors:

Owners: 

 

The Albuquerque Chaparrals were a senior amateur hockey team that skated for one-and-a-half chaotic seasons during the mid-1970’s.  The Chaparrals were founded by the controversial Las Vegas construction baron, casino owner and Nazi party enthusiast Ralph Englestad and his brother Richard in 1975.

The Engelstads launched the Southwest Hockey League from their headquarters in Las Vegas, where Ralph owned the Flamingo Capri Motel and Casino. The concept of the SWHL was that players would attend college or vocational school while competing in the league’s 72-game winter schedule. Since the players were amateur, they did not draw salaries.  Team owners were expected to provide room and board, pay for players’ tuition and books, and a small weekly expense stipend. SWHL franchises formed in Arizona, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota and Texas.

The Chaparrals finished in 2nd place in the SWHL with a 39-32-1 during their debut run in 1975-76. Following the season, the Engelstads sold the Chaparrals to E.W. McIntrye for a reported $100,000.

Financial troubles doomed the SWHL during its second season. Six teams started the season, but clubs in Bismarck and Minot swiftly went under.

Albuquerque had problems too. In December 1976, the team organized a promotion with a man named George Hartnett (identified by The Albuquerque Journal as “a hot air balloon promoter”). Hartnett would attempt to sell five thousand $1.00 tickets to a Chaps home date at the Tingley Coliseum on December 10, 1976. Gate receipts would pay for travel home for the Christmas holidays for the Chaps players, many of whom hailed from the Western provinces of Canada. The promotion flopped and General Manager Leo Zani declined to give any of the money raised to the players. Chaparrals coach Bob Gernander and 12 of his players resigned from the team in protest.

The team re-organized and soldiered on under new head coach Cal Swenson. But by the end of January 1977 the SWHL’s remaining four clubs decided to call it quits, cancelling the final 30 or so games of the 1976-77 season.

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