Just For Fun

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Doggy's picture

I don't remember the exact details but it would have been mid-late 70s at Nassau Coliseum to see the Isles play.  A buddy of mine and I met up on the Island last season and hit up a CBJ v Isles game there.  It was good memories...everything except the CBJ getting beaten.

The Islanders practice facility was about a five minute bike ride from my house at a county park and I lifeguarded there in the mid-late 80s and I would sometimes run into some of the guys.

This word you keep saying...I don't think it means what you think it means.

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CBJMatt's picture

First game I would've seen in person was a Chill game back at the old Fairgrounds Coliseum. Went with my dad, who is the one who got me into hockey to begin with, dozens of times. First game would've probably been their first season in 1991-92. I had been watching tape delay games on SportsChannel with my dad before then though.

We had OSU hockey season tickets for awhile as well, starting a year or two before the Schottenstein Center opened at the old ice rink on campus. First NHL game in person wasn't until we saw a Tampa Bay Lightning game at the (then) Thunder Dome. Followed it up with games in Chicago and Detroit in the years after, and before the Jackets existed.

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Doggy's picture

OWSH45, and of course the Seals moved to Cleveland and became the Barons (loved their red sweaters with the outline of Ohio and the "C" inside it)!  That's pretty cool.

Sharks were just slightly more successful than the Seals.  Were they also the Golden Seals?  I only learned the story of how the Sharks came full circle form the Seals and the crazy expansion draft they had for the team.  I am not sure how I did not know abut it (maybe it wa while I was living in Japan).  Its really a Wild story (no pun intended) and never heard of such a thing!

This word you keep saying...I don't think it means what you think it means.

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OWSH45's picture

You want the full history lesson? Here we go. The reason the NHL originally expanded was because the Pacific Hockey League was threatening to go major league. San Francisco wasn't one of the original expansion cities, Vancouver was. But money problems killed that franchise and the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Hockey League was brought in, with almost all of it's roster in tact, at nearly the last minute. Maybe halfway through their first season, attendance at the Cow Palace was so bad, the team moved across the Bay to Oakland and, during the off season, the name was changed to the California Seals. A year later, Charlie Finley (owner of the Oakland Athletics) bought the team, charged the colors to match the Athletics' colors and rebranded the team the California Golden Seals. Finley, as with the Athletics, refused to spend money on such things as scouting, promotion, decent salaries, etc, further deteriorating the team until he sold it to the league. Which, in turn, sold it to Mel Swig. Too late to save the team, but Swig sold it to the Gund brothers of Cleveland. Who moved the team to Cleveland as the Barons. But playing at Richland Coliseum meant poor attendance and... Nope, technically, the Barons didn't fold. The Gunds made a deal with the league. The Minnesota North Stars were on the verge of folding. So, half of the Barons roster were "merged" with the North Stars (who wound up moving to Dallas and dropping "North" from their name) while the Gunds were "awarded an expansion team" in San Jose into which the other half of the Barons roster was "merged". So, in a way, the San Francisco/California (Golden) Seals still exist within two current franchises.

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Doggy's picture

So I will add what I believe is true to your history...

  1. Together, Swig and the Gunds moved the team to Cleveland at the Gunds suggestion (it was difficult getting the NHL to agree to the relocation).  And yes they played in the Richfield Coliseum. The Gunds eventually bought Swig out as he continued to miss payroll, etc.
  2. After a couple of poor years the Gunds paid for a study to determine how long it would take to build up a fanbase for NHL hockey and produce an economically sustainable franchise in Cleveland.  The projected time line was too long so they sought the merger with Minnesota becoming partners in the ownership group there.
  3. First the Gunds got the expansion team in San Jose (started play in 1991) and then the North Stars moved to Dallas (1993).  That expansion was crazy with MN getting half the roster, San Jose getting the other half of the roster and then an expansion draft for both teams to fill out their rosters.
  4. For anyone interested, there is a good book called High Sticks and Hattricks, the story of professional hockey in Cleveland.  The author starts with the teams that preceded the AHL Barons (of the early 1900s), goes up through the 1940s when the Barons owner turned down an offer from the NHL to join the Original Six and become #7, through Nick Miletti's failed attempts to secure an NHL expansion franchise, the WHA Crusaders and NHL Barons and then the Lumberjacks.  Leaves you considering a lot of "what ifs".

This word you keep saying...I don't think it means what you think it means.

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OWSH45's picture

You were able to fill in some details I never knew. Remember, all this happened in the pre-cable tv (much less pre-internet) age. Once the move to Cleveland was announced, what little coverage of the team given by the San Francisco Chronicle and Oakland Tribune (the sole media giving the Seals any attention in the Bay Area) completely stopped. Which began my era (more or less a decade) of following the NHL via box scores in the back of the sports section and the odd televised game.

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Frosty's picture

I grew up in a Cleveland suburb.  Although Cleveland had a short-lived NHL team (Cleveland Barons...became the Minnesota North Stars) when I was really young, I never got to see a game.  My first live hockey game was an OSU hockey game at the old rink next to St. John's.  A kid that lived on my floor in the dorms at OSU played for the team, so we'd go and support him.  If I remember correctly, he led the conference in penalty minutes for 2 straight years!  I also checked out a half dozen or so Columbus Chill games in the 90's as well.

I was a Penguins fan growing up.  My parents were from western PA, so my dad influenced me to be a Steelers and Penguins fan.  I never traveled to see one of their games, although I wish I did to say I saw Super Mario & Jagr in their prime.  But in 1997, my then-girlfriend & I went to Chicago to experience St. Patrick's Day in Chicago since we heard it was a lot of fun.  While we were there, the Blackhawks had a home game, so I convinced her to go to a game with me.  I wasn't a fan, I just wanted to go to my first NHL game.  The Blackhawks were playing the NY Islanders.  Because it was St. Patty's Day weekend, the fan giveaway was a green Blackhawks hat.  It must've been a premonition because Tony Amonte scored a hat trick that day.  Thousands of green Blackhawks hats were thrown to the ice, including ours of course!  It was an awesome experience.  

I had forgot what year that game was, I knew it was the late 90's, and before the Jackets existed.  So I googled "Tony Amonte hat trick", and there was a You Tube clip!

https://youtu.be/kw9S9BTS4xg

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OWSH45's picture

Very cool. And since they've become the Gypsy Raiders, I can even forgive you for being a Steelers fan. :))

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Q's picture

Thanks OWSH for the trip down memory lane...and thanks to a couple of you for the history lesson!

My first time to attend a NHL hockey game was in the early 60s at the old Olympia Stadium on W. Grand River Ave in Detroit.The first two games I saw were against the Rangers and the Bruins.  It was the Gordie Howe era so both were easy wins for the Red Wings. 

Q

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Q's picture

PS -- I was also a season ticket holder at that old rickety barn OSU used to call its home rink in the 1980s and early 90s. The Buckeyes had some really good hockey teams in that era, and the worst seats were only about eight rows off the ice.

Q

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Gutterwaste's picture

Wheeling Thunderbirds (now Nailers) of the ECHL, early 90s. Thunderbirds were WAY cooler than the Nailers and it was a blast in the sports palace known as the Wheeling Civic Center

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Doggy's picture

Not even remotely my first experience but the first for some friends of mine...

I took them to the Jacks (or was it Barons) playoff game held at the Strongsville rink.  The Gund was not available and the team had home ice advantage so the game was moved to Strongsville.  They built out the stands to hold like 2500 people.  We lost but...that little place was ROCKING!  Kind of a once in a lifetime experience.

This word you keep saying...I don't think it means what you think it means.

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qbert381's picture

I just saw this forum - I grew up pretty much the only Hockey fan in our family - no NHL team where I grew up (Syracuse, NY) but I loved watching the NHL... My first hockey game was actually an AHL game with the Syracuse Crunch in the 90's. 

“Because it’s not worth winning if you can’t win big!”

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OWSH45's picture

If memory serves (Not a good bet these days), the Crunch iced some pretty good teams in the 90's.

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qbert381's picture

The Crunch were fun... They came to Syracuse my 8th grade year in 94 I believe. And they played in the War Memorial which held like less than 10,000 people and was sold out almost all the time for their first 4-5 years. Lot of fun... I think, it was 96 that they made the Calder and lost to Rochester (all New York final). That was a blast. 

Then I came out to Columbus -  and went to the opening game here - fell in love and Syracuse became affiliated with Columbus which was kind of cool.

“Because it’s not worth winning if you can’t win big!”

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qbert381's picture

Haha - I totally remembered that incorrectly - Just looked it up. Syracuse played Rochester who made the Calder in 96 and beat Portland. Funny how our brains do that :-p

“Because it’s not worth winning if you can’t win big!”

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bluejacketsfanwpsl's picture

So yeah...I'll play.

I lived across Coldwater Road from the Allen County Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne for a year after college.  I dated a girl who was into hockey and started going to Komets games.  Their rivals were teh Indianapolis Checkers and the Muskegon Lumberjacks (who moved to Cleveland).

First NHL game was at the Aud in StL c1993.

It's the best game to see live.

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