Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Archive for the ‘Boston Garden’ tag

1972-1997 New England Whalers / Hartford Whalers

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1976-77 New England Whalers Media GuideWorld Hockey Association (1972-1979)
National Hockey League (1979-1997)

Born: November 1971 – WHA founding franchise
Moved: May 6, 1997 (Carolina Hurricanes)

Arenas:

Team Colors:

Owners:

  • 1972-: Howard Baldwin, John Colburn, Godfrey Wood & William Barnes’
  • 1988-1989: Donald Conrad, Richard Gordon, et al.
  • 1994-1997: Peter Karmanos, Thomas Thewes & Jim Rutherford

WHA Champions: 1973
Stanley Cup Championships: None

 

Text Coming Soon…

 

Whalers Shop

Whalers WHA Road Green Replica Jersey

Whalers WHA Home White Replica Jersey

Hartford Whalers Knit Beanie by Mitchell & Ness


Whalers WHA Logo Retro T-Shirt by Throwback Max

 

New England Whalers Memorabilia

 

Whalers Video

New England Whalers upset the Soviet Red Army team at the Hartford Civic Center. December 27, 1976.

 

In Memoriam

Defenseman Brad McCrimmon (Whalers ’93-’96) died on September 7, 2011 in the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl air disaster in Russia

Left wing Paul Cyr (Whalers ’90-’92) passed away from a heart attack on May 12, 2012 at age 48

 

Links

World Hockey Association Media Guides

World Hockey Association Programs

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1975 Boston Bolts

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Boston Bolts LacrosseNational Lacrosse League (1975)

Born: 1975 – The Toronto Tomahawks relocate to Boston, MA.
Folded: February 1976.

Arena: The Boston Garden (16,000)

Team Colors: Green & Gold

Owners: James Herscot, William H. Brine, Jr., Peter Brine.

 

The Boston Bolts lacrosse team played box (indoor) lacrosse for one season at the Boston Garden in the summer of 1975.  The Bolts were members of the short-lived National Lacrosse League (1974-1975).   The franchise started out as the Toronto Tomahawks in 1974. The club fared poorly at Maple Leaf Gardens and relocated to Boston prior to the NLL’s second and final season.

Lowell, Massachusetts businessman James Herscot was the front man for the new ownership group that brought the franchise in from Toronto.  Midway through the 1975 season, there was a management upheaval and Herscot was pushed out, replaced by brothers William and Peter Brine of the W.H. Brine sporting goods company, a prominent maker of lacrosse equipment.

The Bolts debut match at the Boston Garden on April 28, 1975 drew an announced crowd of 8,724 to watch the Bolts play the Long Island Tomahawks.  The sport of box lacrosse and its environs would have been unfamiliar to most of those  in attendance that night.  The teams played on a hardwood surface laid over an ice rink and surrounded by hockey board.  (Today the sport is played on synthetic carpet, just like indoor soccer and Arena Football).  The Bolts and the Tomahawks, delivered on the high scoring, hard-hitting action promised by NLL promoters.  But the Tomahawks spoiled the Bolts’ debut, hanging a 19-17 overtime loss on the Bostonians.

NLL teams planned an intense 56-game schedule (later scaled back to 48). The summer time games in the old Boston Garden were particularly grueling, since the building had no air conditioning.   The average NLL player earned about $10,000 during the 1975 season, according to this 1975 Sports Illustrated feature on the league.

Bolts captain Ivan “The Terrible” Thompson finished 4th in the league in scoring with 91 goals and 116 assists in 46 games.  Thompson earned First-Team NLL All-Star recognition in 1975.  Goaltender Ted Gernaey picked up Second Team honors.  The Bolts finished tied for 3rd place in the six-team NLL with a 22-24-2 record.  Their season ended with a 4 games to 3 loss to the Montreal Quebecois in the playoff semi-finals.

The Bolts ownership group dissolved sometime after the 1975 season ended.  The National Lacrosse League folded in February 1976, after financial troubles reduced the league to only three viable clubs in Maryland, Philadelphia and Quebec City.

The box lacrosse Bolts are not to be confused with the Boston Bolts professional soccer team, which played at Boston University’s Nickerson Field from 1988 to 1990 as a member of the American Soccer League.

 

In Memoriam

Former Bolts General Manager James Logan died of a heart attack on September 16, 2012.

 

Links

National Lacrosse League Media Guides

National Lacrosse League Programs

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Written by AC

February 1st, 2013 at 4:29 am

1971-1974 Boston Braves

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Boston Braves AHLAmerican Hockey League (1971-1974)

Founded: 1971 – AHL expansion franchise
Ceased Operations: 1974

Arenas: 

Team Colors:

Owners:

  • 1971-1973: Weston Adams
  • 1973-1974: Storer Broadcasting Company

Calder Cup Championships: None

 

My recent post on the Boston Bruins-New England Whalers hockey rivalry of the 1970’s inspired a couple of nostalgic comments about the third team in Boston’s hockey universe back in the early 1970’s: the Boston Braves.

Pro hockey grew so popular in Boston during the Big Bad Bruins era of the early 1970’s that the demand for tickets greatly exceeded what the Boston Garden could hold for NHL hockey.  Meanwhile, the B’s top farm club was half a country away at Oklahoma City in the Central Hockey League.  The Bruins’ ownership decided to kill two birds with one stone and applied for an expansion team in the East Coast-based American Hockey League.  The Boston Braves debuted in the autumn of 1971.

Massachusetts immediately went crazy for the Baby Bruins.  The Braves sold 6,500 season tickets.  The team broke the single game attendance record in the 35-year old AHL twice in their first eight home games.

“They’re a young crowd, the Braves’ fans,” Bruins and Braves publicity director Herb Ralby told The Nashua (NH) Telegraph in November 1971.  “They’re people who couldn’t get Bruins tickets.  They’re the Bruins fans of tomorrow…this is a hockey town.”

It helped that the Braves had a terrific team.  Seasoned NHL veterans Garry Peters and Doug Roberts both scored over 30 goals, as did prospect Don Tannahill.  Netminder Dan Bouchard was outstanding – the next fall he would join the expansion Atlanta Flames as their starting goaltender and go on to play 15 seasons in the NHL.

The Braves prospect who would go on to have the biggest impact in Boston was right winger Terry O’Reilly, the Bruins first round pick in the 1971 NHL amateur draft.  (O’Reilly is pictured on the cover of the December 1971 Braves program above).  O’Reilly played 60 games for the Braves in 1971-72 and then never played another game in the minor leagues.  From 1972 to 1985 he was one of Boston’s most popular athletes in a career spent entirely with the Bruins.  He later coach the Bruins from 1986 to 1989.

The Braves 41-21-14 record in 1971-72 was tied for best in the AHL, although they would lose in the 2nd round of the Calder Cup playoffs.  At the box office, the Braves averaged a remarkable 11,208 fans per game at the Boston Garden according to The Internet Hockey Database – nearly double the league’s second most popular team, the Hershey Bears.

And that, pretty much, was that.  One wonderful winter of hockey in Boston when the Bruins won the Stanley Cup and the Braves were nearly as popular.  We have a “One-Year Wonders” category here on FWiL.  Technically, it’s only for teams that exist for just a single season, so the Braves don’t meet the criteria.  But spiritually, this is where they belong.

The next fall, the big budget World Hockey Association began play, raiding the NHL (and the AHL, for that matter) for talent.  The New England Whalers set up shop at the Garden in October 1972 and now the city had three pro hockey teams.  The Braves were squeezed out of the Garden, eventually moving to Boston Arena (now known as Matthews Arena on the campus on Northeastern University).  During the 1972-73 season, Braves attendance crashed to 4,392 per game.  In 1973-74, the Braves’ final season, attendance fell all the way to 1,328 per game.  In just 24 months, the Braves went from selling the most tickets in the history of the AHL to having the worst attendance in the 12-team league.

The Braves went dormant in 1974, although the Bruins reportedly kept paying the AHL a small annual fee to keep their rights to revive the franchise well into the 1980’s.  They never did.

 

Boston Braves Memorabilia

 

Links

American Hockey League Media Guides

American Hockey League Programs

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Written by AC

November 11th, 2012 at 2:44 am

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