American Hockey League (1994-2005)
Born: May 5, 1994 – The Springfield Indians relocate to Worcester, MA.
Died: 2005 – The IceCats relocate to Peoria, IL.
Arena: The Worcester Centrum
- 1994-2000: Roy Boe
- 2000-2004: St. Louis Blues
The Worcester IceCats were a minor league hockey team that operated for 11 seasons in central Massachusetts. The founder of the IceCats was Roy Boe. Boe was an active sports investor during the 1970’s, at one point controlling both the New York/New Jersey Nets basketball team and the NHL’s New York Islanders. Never especially rich by the standards of Major League sports owners, Boe was forced to sell both teams in 1978 and sat on the sidelines during the 1980’s before re-emerging to form the IceCats in the spring of 1994.
Boe and his partners purchased the Springfield (MA) Indians of the American Hockey League and received approval from the AHL to move to Worcester in May 1994. Due to the late start organizing the team, the IceCats were unable to secure an NHL parent club for the 1994-95 season and were forced to play as an independent team, cobbling together a team of free agents and leftovers. No surprise they finished in last place. As of 2014, the 1994-95 IceCats remain the last AHL to play an independent season.
In 1995 the IceCats signed an affiliation agreement with the St. Louis Blues. For the next 10 seasons from 1995 through the club’s demise in 2005 Worcester would serve as St. Louis’ top farm club. During the 2000-01 season, Roy Boe sold the IceCats to the Blues, who operated the team directly for the next three seasons. In November 2004, the Blues sold the IceCats to the owners of one of their other farm teams, the Peoria (IL) Rivermen. The new owners announced that the IceCats would move to Peoria for the 2005-06 season in order to upgrade the Rivermen from their lower-level league to the AHL. The ‘Cats played out their final season in Worcester as lame ducks and played their final home game on April 17, 2005 before a farewell crowd of 10,211.
The IceCats made the AHL’s Calder Cup playoffs eight times in ten seasons, but never advanced beyond the 2nd Round.
After one winter without hockey, the AHL returned to Worcester in 2006 with the formation of the Worcester Sharks, who are now in their eighth season. The franchise formerly known as the IceCats also remains active. After eight seasons in Peoria, the team relocated to Utica, New York in 2013 and is now known as the Utica Comets.
==Worcester IceCats Programs on Fun While It Lasted==
|1995-96||10/14/1995||@ Hershey Bears||??||Program|
|1995-96||11/24/1995||@ Saint John Flames||W 4-3 (OT)||Program|
|1995-96||3/24/1996||@ Hershey Bears||??||Program|
|1999-00||12/18/1999||@ Hershey Bears||??||Program|
|2001-02||3/17/2002||vs. Manchester Monarchs||W 4-1||Program|
IceCats founder Roy Boe passed away on June 7, 2009 at age 79. (New York Times obit here).
Late 1990’s home game against the Springfield Falcons in front of a big crowd at the Centrum.