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Archive for the ‘Eastern Hockey League 1979’ Category

1980-1982 Salem Raiders

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Salem RaidersEastern Hockey League (1980-1981)
Atlantic Coast Hockey League (1981-1982)

Born: 1981 – The Utica Mohawks relocate to Salem, VA
Re-Branded: 1982 (Virginia Raiders)

Arena: Salem-Roanoke County Civic Center

Team Colors:


EHL Championships:
ACHL Championships: None


The Salem Raiders were a minor league hockey club that operated in the Shenandoah Valley region of Virginia in the early 1980’s. The Raiders played, at first, in the Eastern Hockey League and the roster consisted mostly of minor-league lifers. There were a few exceptions. Raiders Pierre Lagace and Bruce Greig both saw time in the World Hockey Association in the late 1970’s. Greig also had a cup of coffee with the NHL’s California Golden Seals. Raiders head coach Pat Kelly was the head man for the NHL’s Colorado Rockies in 1977 and 1978.

After the 1980-81 season, the EHL re-organized itself as the Atlantic Coast Hockey League. The ACHL endured a brutal debut season. Two of the league’s seven franchises folded during the first month of the season. A third, the Cape Cod Buccaneers owned by World Wrestling Foundation mogul Vince McMahon, withdrew after 39 games.  The four remaining clubs voted to cut short the 1981-82 regular season and move directly to the playoffs. Salem had the best record in the league at the time at 32-15. The Raiders lost to the Mohawk Valley Stars of Utica, New York in the championship series.

The team returned to the ACHL and the Salem Civic Center in the fall of 1982 with a new name (Virginia Raiders), new owner and new colors. The franchise eventually folded in August 1983.


In Memoriam

Bruce Greig (Raiders ’80-’82) died in a car accident in Nanton, Alberta on May 24, 2008 at age 55.

Robert Payne of Utica, New York, who owned the Raiders from their arrival in 1980 until February 1982, passed away on October 25, 2012 at the age of 98.



Eastern Hockey League Programs



Written by Drew Crossley

November 26th, 2017 at 3:45 pm

1979-1981 Hampton Aces

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Hampton AcesNortheastern Hockey League (1979)
Eastern Hockey League (1979-1981)

Born: January 1979 – The Jersey Aces relocate to Hampton, VA
Folded: Postseason 1981

Arena: Hampton Coliseum

Team Colors:

Owners: Mike Schmidt and Jim Humphrey

NEHL Championships: None
EHL Championships: None


The Hampton Aces were a low-level minor league hockey team in the Tidewater region of Virginia. The club started out as the Jersey Aces in Cherry Hill, New Jersey in the fall of 1978. Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Mike Schmidt was one of the team’s financial backers. After the team flopped in the Philly suburbs, Schmidt and his partner abruptly moved the club to Virginia midway through the club’s debut season.

The Aces played for the Northeastern Hockey League championship in the spring of 1979. They were defeated by the Erie Blades.

Prior to the club’s second season, the Northeastern Hockey League re-branded itself as the Eastern Hockey League. The league struggled to stay afloat with just six members. The Aces also struggled, finishing in last place in 1980 and again in 1981.

The Aces folded along with the rest of the EHL in the summer of 1981.


Hampton Aces Memorabilia


Aces Video



Eastern Hockey League Programs


Written by Drew Crossley

May 13th, 2017 at 2:46 am

1980 Syracuse Hornets

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Eastern Hockey League (1980)

Born: August 1980 – EHL expansion franchise.
Folded: November 11, 1980

Arena: State Fairgrounds Coliseum

Team Colors:

Owner: Gaetan Gagne

EHL Championships: None 


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.


Syracuse Hornets Shop

Hockey in Syracuse by Jim Mancuso



Eastern Hockey League Programs


1979-1981 Richmond Rifles

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Richmond RiflesEastern Hockey League (1979-1981)

Born: 1979 – The Cape Cod Freedoms relocate to Richmond, VA.
Folded: Postseason 1981

Arena: Richmond Coliseum (9,674)

Team Colors: Blue, Red & White

Owner: Sandy Reiss


The Richmond Rifles were a low-level minor league hockey outfit that played for two seasons at the Richmond Coliseum between 1979 and 1981.  The team served as a farm club for both the New York Rangers (1979-1981) and Winnipeg Jets (1980-1981) of the NHL.

The Rifles franchise originated in Concord, New Hampshire in 1978 as the New Hampshire Freedoms, but team owner Sandy Reiss lasted only a month in the Granite State before hauling his club south to the Cape Cod Coliseum.  During the 1979 offseason, Reiss moved again, hoping the third time would be the charm in Richmond.

The Rifles played for the championship of the Eastern Hockey League at the end of their second season in April 1980.  They lost to the Erie Blades in four games.  Both the Rifles and the rest of the EHL would go out of business shortly thereafter.


==Richmond Rifles Programs on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other


1979-80 11/10/1979  @ Baltimore Clippers  ?? Program



Eastern Hockey League Programs


Written by AC

October 4th, 2014 at 7:20 pm

1979-1981 Baltimore Clippers

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Baltimore ClippersEastern Hockey League (1979-1981)

Born: September 12, 1979 – EHL expansion franchise
Re-Branded: September 1981 (Baltimore Skipjacks)

Arena: Baltimore Civic Center (11,000)

Team Colors: Green, White & Yellow

Owners: Baltimore Hockey Advocates (James Watson, et. al) & Minnesota North Stars


The Baltimore Clippers name was a proud one in minor league hockey, used by several clubs operating in various different leagues from 1944 until 1977.  The longest tenured and most successful of these teams were the Clippers of the American Hockey League (1962-1975).  But the Clips fell on hard times in the mid-1970’s, shifting leagues and folding several times amidst the market upheaval caused by the NHL-WHA competition and the overall hard times for the  minor league hockey business in the 1970’s.

This 1979 incarnation – dubbed “The New Baltimore Clippers” on the program above right – was the final attempt to restore the Clippers name.  The Eastern Hockey League franchise was owned jointly by the Minnesota North Stars of the NHL and a group of 19 local investors and hockey boosters known as Baltimore Hockey Advocates.  The club served as a farm club for the North Stars and took their green, white & yellow color scheme from the parent club.

The Clippers’ top scorer during the 1979-80 season was Warren Young (53 goals, 53 assists).  Young later went on to have a 40-goal season with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the NHL in 1984-85.  Clippers Head Coach and General Manager Gene Ubriaco went on to coach the Penguins in the late 1980’s.

The Eastern Hockey League folded in July 1981.  Baltimore Hockey Advocates decided to keep the club going in the new Atlantic Coast Hockey League, but dropped the historic Clippers name in favor of a new identity: the Baltimore Skipjacks.


Baltimore Clippers Memorabilia




Eastern Hockey League Programs



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