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1966-1974 San Diego Gulls

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1969-70 San Diego Gulls WHL Media GuideWestern Hockey League (1966-1974)

Born: 1966 – WHL expansion franchise
Folded: June 1974

Arena: San Diego Sports Arena

Team Colors:

Owner: Bob Breitbard

Lester Patrick Cup Championships: None

 

The San Diego Gulls were a popular entry in the minor Western Hockey League in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.  The club was the brainchild of veteran San Diego sports booster Bob Breitbard, who oversaw construction of the San Diego Sports Arena in 1966 and owned both of its major tenants: the Gulls and the NBA’s San Diego Rockets.

Tax pressures on the Arena overtook Breitbard in 1971, forcing him to sell off the Rockets basketball team to Houston interests and relinquish control of the Arena to Canadian businessman Peter Graham.  But Breitbard held onto the Gulls for several more seasons and continued to nurture dreams of attracting a National Hockey League expansion franchise to San Diego. Meanwhile, the Gulls continued to pull strong crowds throughout the early Seventies, both for WHL play and for a pair of high profile international exhibitions against the Soviet National Team.

The death knell for the San Diego Gulls WHL franchise rang in the spring of 1974. The National Hockey League went to war with the upstart World Hockey Association over players and expansion markets. The NHL awarded expansion franchises to long-time WHL cities Denver and Seattle. Arena owner Peter Graham served an eviction notice on the Gulls to make way for the relocating Jersey Knights of the WHA. Without a building or a viable league to play in, the Gulls called it quits in June 1974.

The “Gulls” nickname has subsequently been revived by three different San Diego minor league hockey franchises. Most recently, the American Hockey League’s San Diego Gulls opened for business in the fall of 2015.

 

San Diego Gulls Programs

 

==In Memoriam==

Gulls founder Bob Breitbard passed away on May 17, 2010 at the age of 91. San Diego Union-Tribune obit.

 

==Links==

SanDiegoGulls.org – excellent fan history site

Western Hockey League Media Guides

Western Hockey League Programs

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Written by Drew Crossley

June 20th, 2016 at 4:47 pm

January 3, 1974 – San Diego Gulls vs. USSR

3 comments

San Diego Gulls vs. USSR National Hockey Team
January 3, 1974
San Diego Sports Arena
Attendance: 13,431

Western Hockey League Programs
40 pages

 

In December 1973 and January of 1974 the Soviet National Ice Hockey Team conducted a four-city tour of the Western Hockey League.  It may have been just a minor league tour, but the Soviets brought all of their top guns – one of the most remarkable international teams ever assembled.  The Soviet roster on this night included:

  • Four of the five all-time top scorers in the history of Soviet hockey (Valeri Kharlamov, Aleksandr Maltsev, Boris Mikhailov and Vladimir Petrov)
  • Two of the six players later named to the International Ice Hockey Federation’s Team of the Century (Kharlamov and legendary netminder Vladislav Tretiak).

The Soviets rolled into Southern California to play the San Diego Gulls after making quick work of the WHL’s Phoenix Roadrunners (3-1) and Portland Buckaroos (8-3) in the first two games of the series.  A standing room only crowd of 13,431 packed the San Diego Sports Arena on a Thursday evening to get a look at the mighty Soviets.

Yuri Lebedev, a 22-year old forward who would later play against the U.S. “Miracle on Ice” team at the 1980 Olympics, was the star for the Soviets on this night.  He scored a hat trick and added two assists as the USSR drubbed the Gulls 11-3.

Kerry Bond, Bernie Gagnon and Jim Shires scored for the Gulls, who would go out of business along with the rest of the Western Hockey League a few months later in the spring of 1974.

 

==Downloads==

January 3, 1974 San Diego Gulls Roster vs. USSR

January 3, 1974 USSR National Hockey Team Roster vs. San Diego Gulls

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Written by AC

March 19th, 2013 at 2:19 pm

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