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1978-1982 Oklahoma City Stars

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1979-80 Oklahoma City Stars ProgramCentral Hockey League (1978-1982)

Born: 1978
Folded: Spring 1982

Arena: Myriad Convention Center

Team Colors:

Owners:

 

The Oklahoma City Stars hockey team was a minor league affiliate of the NHL’s Minnesota North Stars (1978-1981) and Calgary Flames (1981-1982) for four seasons.  The team replaced the once-popular Oklahoma City Blazers (1965-1977)  on the local hockey scene after the Blazers went dark a year earlier.  Both the Blazers and the Stars competed in the Central Hockey League (1963-1984).

Oklahoma City Stars ProgramThe best player to come out of Oklahoma City during the Stars era was undrafted free agent Dino Ciccarelli.  The 19-year old Ontario native signed with the North Stars in September 1979 after getting ignored in the NHL entry draft.  He made his pro debut in Oklahoma City late in the 1979-80 CHL season.  Ciccarelli spent most of the 1980-81 campaign in Oklahoma, scoring 32 goals in 48 games.  By springtime he was in the NHL, scoring 14 playoff goals as a key member of Minnesota’s Stanley Cup finalist squad in 1981.  Ciccarelli went on to play 19 seasons in the NHL and his 608 career goals are the most ever by an undrafted free agent player.  He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in the Class of 2010.

By the early 1980’s, the Central Hockey League was under severe financial strain, due in part to broad geographic expansion that required more and more air travel.  The Stars competed against teams as far afield as Cincinnati, Ohio and Birmingham, Alabama.  Late in the 1981-82 season, the Stars declared bankruptcy.  Local owner John Hail estimated the club ran a deficit of approximately $1.1 million in its final season, with local investors on the hook for $400,000 and parent club Calgary Flames footing an additional $700,000 in costs.

The Stars went of out of business in the spring of 1982.  The CHL followed two years later in May 1984.  Pro hockey returned to Oklahoma City a decade later with the formation of the Oklahoma City Blazers in a new version of the Central Hockey League in 1992.

 

==Links==

Central Hockey League Media Guides

Central Hockey League Programs

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1995-1996 Oklahoma Coyotes

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Roller Hockey International (1995-1996)

Born: March 20, 1995 – The Atlanta Fire Ants relocate to Oklahoma City.
Died: February 1997 – The Coyotes go on hiatus and later move to Las Vegas.

Arena: Myriad Convention Center (13,398)

Team Colors: Red, Black & Gold

Owners: John O’Shea & Don Smith

 

The Oklahoma Coyotes played two seasons of summer Roller Hockey at the Myriad Convention Center.  The franchise began life in Atlanta, Georgia in 1994 as an expansion team in Roller Hockey International, but left after one season of disappointing attendance in that city’s Omni Coliseum.  The new Oklahoma investors, Don Smith of Oklahoma City and John O’Shea of New York, hoped to capitalize on the massive popularity at the time of the Oklahoma City Blazers ice hockey team.  During the mid-1990’s the Blazers were one of the biggest box office draws in all of minor league hockey.

The success of the Blazers failed to rub off.  The Coyotes averaged an estimated 2,200 fans per game during their two-year residency at the 13,000-seat Myriad.  In December 1996, local investor Don Smith gave up his interest in the team, leaving no real connection to the city.  The team claimed it couldn’t get decent dates for the summer of 1997 at the Myriad and explored moving permanently to Billy Balloo’s, a recreational roller hockey arena that already served as the Coyote’s practice facility.  When that move failed, the Coyotes withdrew from Roller Hockey International in February 1997 to re-group and attempt to return to play in 1998.  In December 1997, the Coyotes moved their operations to Las Vegas.

RHI itself shut down in late 1997 to re-organize and did not play in 1998.  The league made a comeback attempt in 1999 and long-time Coyotes owner John O’Shea took the team out of mothballs after a two-and-a-half year absence.  The Las Vegas Coyotes played one final campaign at a 1,500-seat arena in Nevada before Roller Hockey International went out of business for good in 2000.

Down on the rink, the Coyotes failed to make the playoffs in either of their seasons in Oklahoma.  Winger Doug Lawrence was a bright spot in 1995, leading RHI in total scoring (23 goals, 68 assists).

 

==Links==

Roller Hockey International Media Guides

Roller Hockey International Programs

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