Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Archive for the ‘Midseason Meltdowns’ tag

1977 Santa Barbara Condors

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Santa Barbara CondorsAmerican Soccer League (1977)

Born: 1977 – ASL expansion franchise.
Died: July 1977 – The Condors fold in midseason.

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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Written by andycrossley

April 8th, 2015 at 12:50 pm

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
Died: November 20, 1973 – The Golden Blades relocate to Cherry Hill, NJ.

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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Written by andycrossley

March 25th, 2015 at 2:25 am

1973-1977 Winston-Salem Polar Twins

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Winston-Salem Polar Twins ProgramSouthern Hockey League (1973-1977)

Born: 1973 – SHL founding franchise.
Died: January 7, 1977 – The Polar Twins shutdown in midseason.

Arena: Winston-Salem Memorial Coliseum (6,037)

Team Colors: Gold, Red & Blue

Owners:

 

The Winston-Salem Polar Twins were a rough-and-tumble mid-70’s minor league hockey outfit from deep in the heart of North Carolina tobacco country.  They had one of the great (or, at least, original) ice hockey names of all time and if you have a theory on the origin of this deeply weird name, please leave your explanation in the comments.

Originally owned by a group of 15 investors, the group suffered through a couple of tough seasons and by December 1975, the Polar Twins’ financial backers apparently dwindled to one guy named Ed Timmerman who couldn’t keep the club afloat.  Famed wrestling promoted Jim Crockett Jr. stepped in to take over the team and kept it going until January 1977.  The league’s championship trophy, the Crockett Cup, was named for Jim Jr.’s father, a long-time backer of the Charlotte Checkers minor league hockey team.

By January 1977, the Southern Hockey League was in dire straits, with several clubs dropping out midseason. Crockett declined to keep the Polar Twins going in light of the other SHL clubs dropping out of the league in early 1977 and folded the team on January 7, 1977.  Reduced to just three solvent teams, the rest of the Southern Hockey League closed its doors a few weeks later.

 

==Winston-Salem Polar Twins Programs on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other

1974-75

1974-75 2/25/1975 vs. Roanoke Valley Rebels ?? Program

1975-76

1975-76 10/11/1975 @ Greensboro Generals  W 3-2 Program

 

==Links==

Southern Hockey League Programs

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1980 Syracuse Hornets

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Eastern Hockey League (1980)

Born: August 1980 – EHL expansion franchise.
Died: November 11, 1980 – The Hornets fold in midseason.

Arena: State Fairgrounds Coliseum

Team Colors:

Owner: Gaetan Gagne

 

The Syracuse Hornets were an ill-fated minor league hockey team that lasted just 10 games in the fall of 1980 before going out of business.  The club, owned by local contractor Gaetan Gagne, joined the Eastern Hockey League as an expansion franchise in the summer of 1980.  The Hornets replaced the departing Syracuse Firebirds (1979-1980) of the higher-level American Hockey League.  But the Hornets did not take over the Firebirds’ old lease at the Onondaga County War Memorial, the longtime home of pro hockey in Syracuse.  Instead the Hornets would play at the smaller, cheaper State Fairgrounds Coliseum.

The Hornets were unable to secure a parent club affiliation with an NHL team.  This left Head Coach and General Manager Bill Horton, a former Syracuse Blazers player, to compile an independent roster of castoffs and tryout camp wanna-bes.  Even at the relatively low level of competition in the EHL, the Hornets were desperately outclassed.  They went o-9-1 in the first ten games of the season, yielding an obscene 99 goals.

The Hornets’ financial situation was equally desperate.  The team sold fewer than 100 season tickets and crowds at the Coliseum numbered in the hundreds.  In early November, the team ran out of funds and did not appear for road games in Baltimore and Salem, Virginia.  A last ditch effort to move the Hornets to Utica fell through and the Hornets closed their doors on November 11, 1980.  The team played only 10 of 72 scheduled games and folded without ever celebrating a win.

 

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1959-1977 Greensboro Generals

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Greensboro GeneralsEastern Hockey League (1959-1973)
Southern Hockey League (1973-1977)

Born: Spring 1959 – EHL expansion franchise.
Died: January 4, 1977 – The Generals cease operations in midseason.

Arenas:

Team Colors: Green, Gold & White

Owners:

 

The Greensboro Generals were a long-running minor league outfit that was one of the first pro hockey teams to establish a following in the American South.  The Generals formed as an Eastern Hockey League expansion franchise in 1959, the same year that the city of Greensboro, North Carolina opened up the 7,000-seater Greensboro Coliseum.  To stock the team, the Greensboro backers acquired the struggling Troy (MI) Bruins of the Midwest-based International Hockey League and brought many of the ex-Bruins to Greensboro.  A crowd of 3,014 showed up at the Coliseum on November 11, 1959 for the Generals home debut, a 4-1 victory over the Washington Presidents.

From the team’s formation and through the 1960’s the Generals were operated by a group of civic leaders fronted by heating oil entrepreneur Carson Bain.  (Bain would also serve a term as Greensboro’s Mayor from 1967 to 1969).  In the spring of 1971, Bain and his partners sold the Generals to Tedd Munchak, owner of the Carolina Cougars of the American Basketball Association.  By this time, however, the EHL and minor league hockey in general was entering a period of decline and decay.  The EHL dissolved in the spring of 1973, splitting into two offshoots.  The Northeastern clubs formed the North American Hockey League and the Southeastern teams re-organized into the Southern Hockey League.

The Generals ran out of gas in the mid-1970’s.  The club’s final two seasons were marred by financial problems and a move to the smaller, cheaper Piedmont Arena.  On January 4, 1977, the Generals closed down in the middle of the 1976-77 campaign.  Three other SHL clubs folded the same week, and the league itself threw in the towel four weeks later on January 31, 1977.

The historic Greensboro Generals brand name was resuscitated in 1999 for a new East Coast Hockey League franchise that played five seasons at the Coliseum from 1999 through 2004.

 

==Greensboro Generals Games on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other

1960-61

1960-61 1/4/1961 @ Clinton Comets ?? Program

1964-65

1964-65 12/5/1964 vs. Jacksonville Rockets ?? Program

1975-76

1975-76 10/11/1975 vs. Winston-Salem Polar Twins L 3-2 Program

 

==Links==

Eastern Hockey League Programs

Southern Hockey League Programs

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