Lively Tales About Dead Teams

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1981-82 Cape Cod Buccaneers

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1981-82 Cape Cod Buccaneers ProgramAtlantic Coast Hockey League (1981-1982)

Born: 1981 – ACHL founding franchise
Folded: February 1, 1982

Arena: Cape Cod Coliseum (4,946)

Team Colors:

Owner: Vince McMahon

ACHL Championships: None

 

The Cape Cod Buccaneers were the first team sports venture for World Wrestling Entertainment impresario Vince McMahon back in the winter of 1981-82. McMahon held the lease on the Cape Cod Coliseum at the time, where he staged a number of wrestling promotions. He formed the Bucs in the summer of 1981 and entered the team in the newly formed Atlantic Coast Hockey League (ACHL). Three previous Cape pro hockey ventures – the Cubs, Codders and Freedoms – failed at the Coliseum during the previous decade.

In early 1982, the legendary Philadelphia Flyers enforcer Dave Schultz published a memoir, Hammer: Confessions of a Hockey Enforcer with Stan Fischler. Schultz held the NHL records for most penalty minutes in a season (1974-75) and in a career. Schultz’s book and the accompanying media campaign repudiated violence in hockey. In an effort to hype the book, Schultz struck a deal to suit up for the Cape Cod Buccaneers for a February 6th, 1982 ACHL contest against the Winston-Salem Thunderbirds at the Cape Cod Coliseum.

The Schultz appearance on the Cape never came to pass. ACHL franchises were dropping like flies. In late January 1982, the league put forward a plan to cancel the remained of the regular season and move directly to a hastily organized playoff tournament. The Buccaneers’ record stood at 17-21-1. Vince McMahon objected to the plan and folded the team on February 1st, 1982.

Pro hockey never returned to Cape Cod. The Coliseum closed its doors in 1984 and was converted to a warehouse.

 

Links

Streaker Sports has sells a retro Cape Cod Buccaneers t-shirt on their website here

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Written by Drew Crossley

January 4th, 2017 at 2:50 am

1974-1976 Cape Codders

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North American Hockey League (1974-1976)

Born: 1974 – Cape Cod Cubs re-brand as Cape Codders.
Died: February 13, 1976 – The Codders cease operations in midseason.

Arena: Cape Cod Coliseum (5,000)

Team Colors: Cranberry Red, Sandy White & Ocean Blue

Owner: William Harrison

 

Cape Cod is one of the top seaside destinations in the Northeast, a summer home to actors, musicians, authors and Kennedys.  During the winter offseason, though, it’s a sleepy place and tumbleweeds blow through the quiet Main Streets of Hyannis, Chatham and Provincetown.  But for a brief stretch in the 1970’s and early 1980’s, a string of promoters tried to make a go of professional hockey in Cape Cod.

The catalyst for these odd ventures was the construction of the Cape Cod Coliseum in 1972.  The Coliseum played host to same great concerts over the years, including The Grateful Dead, KISS, The Clash, Van Halen and others.  But arenas need anchor tenants to fill dates between concerts and thus the desire for pro hockey.  Four different teams tried to make a go of it at the Coliseum between 1972 and 1983, but none lasted more than two seasons: the Cubs, the Cape Codders, the Freedoms and the Buccaneers.

The Codders were the second effort and were owned by William Harrison, who also owned the financially-troubled Coliseum in the mid-1970’s.  In 1974, the Codders replaced the Cape Cod Cubs in the North American Hockey League, the brawl-crazy minor league organization that inspired the movie Slap Shot.  The Codders served as a farm club for both the Cleveland Crusaders and the New England Whalers of the World Hockey Association, which was a rival to the NHL during the 1970’s.

The Codders were continually plagued by money problems during their brief existence.  Midway through the Codders’ first season in 1974-75, William Harrison announced he was closing the Cape Cod Coliseum immediately, which would have left the club homeless.  But Harrison subsequently cobbled together some additional financing and kept the place open.  The Codders finished their first season 32-38-4 under Head Coach Larry Kish and made the Lockhart Cup playoffs, getting bounced in Round 1.

The problems continued into the Codders second season in the winter of 1975-76.  The team was briefly shuttered for a few days in December 1975 with both the franchise and the building on the verge of bankruptcy.  Local boosters scraped together enough funding to revive the team a few days later, but it was enough to see out the season.  The Codders staggered through another six weeks before running out of money again in mid-February 1976.  This time the NAHL terminated the franchise for good.  The Codders folded with 22 game remaining on their 1975-76 schedule.

The Coliseum muddled along for another eight years before closing in 1984 and becoming a warehouse for Christmas Tree Shops.

 

==Links==

North American Hockey League Media Guides

North American Hockey League Programs

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Written by AC

December 15th, 2013 at 8:21 pm

1978-1979 New Hampshire / Cape Cod Freedoms

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New Hampshire Freedoms HockeyNortheastern Hockey League (1978-1979)

Born: September 4, 1978 – NEHL founding franchise.
Died:  1979 – Freedoms relocate to Richmond, VA.

Arenas:

Team Colors: Red, White & Blue

Owner: Sandy Reiss

 

The Freedoms were a low-level minor league hockey club in the Northeastern Hockey League for one winter, which was split between the team’s original home in New Hampshire and the Cape Cod Coliseum in Massachusetts, where the team fled six weeks into the season.

The club was formed on Labor Day 1978, giving the organization just under two months to prepare for a late October debut.  The New Hampshire Freedoms planned to split home dates between two small rinks – Everett Arena in Concord and the JFK Coliseum in Manchester.

The Freedoms had affiliation agreements with the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens of the NHL, but most of the club’s players were first-year pros, recently out of American colleges.  Two exceptions were 35-year old player-coach John Cunniff and goaltenderCap Raeder.  Both were veterans of the New England Whalers of the World Hockey Association.  Cunniff led the Freedoms in scoring with 40 goals and 78 assists in 67 games.

The team drew poorly in New Hampshire.  In Concord, the Freedoms averaged 552 fans per game and the numbers were hardly better in Manchester at 665 on average.  On December 14, 1978, owner Sandy Reiss announced the team was departing immediately for the Cape Cod Coliseum to finish out the season as the Cape Cod Freedoms.

The Freedoms finished their only season 33-36-1.  Owner Sandy Reiss moved the club out of Cape Cod to Richmond, Virginia for the 1979-80 season, where the franchise became the Richmond Rifles in the re-named Eastern Hockey League in the fall of 1979.

Freedoms coach John Cunniff later became a Head Coach in the NHL with the Hartford Whalers (1982-83) and the New Jersey Devils (1989-1991).

 

==In Memoriam==

Former Freedoms player-coach John Cunniff died of cancer at age 57 on May 10, 2002.  He was inducted in to the United States Hockey Hall of Fame the following year.

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