Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Western Hockey League (1952-1974)

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The Western Hockey League was a minor league that operated from 1952 to 1974.  The WHL traces its origins back to the Southern California Hockey League (1942-1944) and the Northwest International Hockey League (1943-44), which merged to form the amateur Pacific Coast Hockey League in 1944.  The PCHL was initially an amateur league but became fully professional in 1948.

The PCHL gained a foothold in British Columbia as well and in 1952 changed its name to the Western Hockey League to better reflect it’s geographic reach.  The Western League operated for 22 seasons, sometimes with as few as five active clubs and never with more than nine.  Starting in the late 1960’s, the WHL began losing markets such as Los Angeles, Vancouver and the Bay Area to NHL expansion.  In 1972, the big-budget World Hockey Association formed to challenge the NHL and began to drain away player talent and additional markets.  The league called it a day when the NHL awarded provisional expansion franchises to two of its six remaining member cities (Denver and Seattle) in the spring of 1974.  Ironically, neither of these planned NHL expansion clubs came to pass.

During the 1965-66 and 1967-68 season, the Western League played inter-league games against clubs from the East Coast-based American Hockey League.  After the Western League folded in 1974, the Seattle Totems and Salt Lake Golden Eagles joined the minor Central Hockey League.  The Denver Spurs and Phoenix Roadrunners upgraded to the World Hockey Association.


==Franchise List==

Franchise Years Active Tagged Posts
Brandon/Regina Regals 1955-1957 Tagged Posts
Calgary Stampeders 1952-1963 Tagged Posts
California Seals 1966-1967 Tagged Posts
Denver Invaders 1963-1964 Tagged Posts
Denver Spurs 1968-1974 Tagged Posts
Edmonton Flyers 1952-1963 Tagged Posts
Los Angeles Blades 1961-1967 Tagged Posts
New Westminster Royals 1952-1959 Tagged Posts
Phoenix Roadrunners 1967-1974 Tagged Posts
Portland Buckaroos 1960-1974 Tagged Posts
Salt Lake Golden Eagles 1969-1974 Tagged Posts
San Diego Gulls 1966-1974  Tagged Posts
San Francisco Seals 1961-1966 Tagged Posts
Saskatoon Quakers 1952-1957 & 1958-1959 Tagged Posts
Saskatoon Regals* 1957-1958 Tagged Posts
Seattle Americans 1955-1958 Tagged Posts
Seattle Bombers 1952-1954 Tagged Posts
Seattle Totems 1958-1974 Tagged Posts
Spokane Comets 1960-1963 Tagged Posts
Spokane Spokes 1958-1960 Tagged Posts
St. Paul Saints* 1957-1958 Tagged Posts
Tacoma Rockets 1952-1953 Tagged Posts
Vancouver Canucks 1952-1970 Tagged Posts
Victoria Cougars 1952-1961 Tagged Posts
Victoria Maple Leafs 1964-1967 Tagged Posts
Winnipeg Warriors 1955-1961 Tagged Posts

*The 1957-58 Saskatoon Regals/St. Paul Saints are the same team.  They split time between the two cities, with a different name in each market.  The experiment ended after a single season and the club settled in Saskatoon for the 1958-1959 season as the Saskatoon Quakers.

Written by AC

April 24th, 2012 at 2:07 pm

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