Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Archive for the ‘Seattle’ tag

1958-1975 Seattle Totems

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Seattle TotemsWestern Hockey League (1958-1974)
Central Hockey League (1974-1975)

Born: 1958 – The Seattle Americans are re-branded as the Seattle Totems
Postseason 1976


Team Colors:



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In Memoriam

Defenseman John Hanna (1968-1972) passed away on November 20, 2005 at age 70.


Links – An outstanding Totems history site with lots of memorabilia

Western Hockey League Programs

Central Hockey League Media Guides

Central Hockey League Programs


1996-1998 Seattle Reign

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American Basketball League (1996-1998)

Born: 1996 – ABL founding franchise
Folded: December 22, 1998

Arena: Mercer Arena (4,509)

Team Colors: Black, Goldenrod, Crimson & Forest Green

Owner: American Basketball League

ABL Championships: None


The Seattle Reign were a cleverly named women’s professional basketball team that competed for two-and-a-half seasons in the American Basketball League (1996-1998).  The Reign had a modest but dedicated fan base that consistently filled the 4,500-seat Mercer Arena to three quarters of capacity, creating a better atmosphere than many ABL clubs that played in oversized buildings.  The Reign also played occasional home dates at KeyArena, home of the NBA’s Seattle Sonics.

The ABL was founded in late 1995 with the aim of capitalizing on the expected strong performance of the United States women’s basketball team at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.  The NBA was backing a rival start-up – the WNBA – which would fill dates at NBA arenas during the slow summer months and wouldn’t start until 1997.   As expected, the Americans won Gold in Atlanta.  Thanks to an earlier start in October 1996 and more generous salaries and benefits, the ABL initially lured the majority of the Olympic champions to their league.

The Reign used their 1st round draft pick in 1996 to select 29-year old Venus Lacy, a 6′ 4″ center on the U.S. Olympic team.  Lacy signed with the ABL and was expected to be the Reign’s dominant presence.  Instead, she had a cursed campaign that included an arthroscopic knee surgery in midseason, followed less than two months later by a serious car accident which ended her season.  Lacy was shipped to the ABL’s Long Beach Stingrays expansion franchise after the season and was never a major factor for the Reign.  Seattle finished the ABL’s inaugural season 17-23 and out of the playoffs.

Prior to the ABL’s second season in 1997-98, the Reign added two outstanding rookies to the roster.  Kate Starbird came out of Stanford University as the all-time leading scorer for that powerhouse program and as the Naismith Award winner as the nation’s College Player-of-the-Year.  Starbird also had Washington state ties as a graduate of Lakes High School in Lakewood.  The 22-year old’s three-year ABL deal came with a base salary of $150,000 plus perhaps another $100,000 in endorsements, which The Seattle Times speculated was the richest contract in the women’s game at the time.

6′ 1″ forward Shalonda Enis out of the University of Alabama was less heralded than Starbird, but ended up more impactful, finishing 5th in the ABL in scoring (18.0 ppg) and winning league Rookie-of-the-Year honors.

Despite the arrival of Enis and Starbird, the Reign finished last in the Western Conference at 15-29.

The Reign returned for a third season in October 1998, but by this time the ABL was financially hobbled by extravagant salaries, lack of sponsor & television interest, and competition from the far wealthier (but lower paying) WNBA.  The Reign played only 15 games of the 1997-98 season before the ABL ran out of money and closed its doors on December 22, 1998.

The Reign played 49 regular season home dates during their two-and-a-half year history and averaged 3,374 fans per game over that time.  During the Reign’s debut season in 1996-97 they sold 1,155 season tickets according to The Seattle Times.

Professional women’s basketball returned to Seattle in 2000 with the arrival of the Seattle Storm expansion team in the WNBA.  The Storm have since won two WNBA championships in 2004 and 2010.

In 2013, Seattle’s new entry in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) gave new life to the “Reign” nickname, adopting the identity of Seattle Reign FC.  Reign FC owner Bill Predmore acknowledged that the name was in part a tribute to the original Reign basketball team.



American Basketball League Media Guides

American Basketball League Programs


1995-1997 Seattle SeaDogs

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Continental Indoor Soccer LeagSeattle SeaDogsue (1995-1997)

Born: November 20, 1993 – CISL expansion franchise.
Died: December 23, 1997 – The CISL ceases operations.


Team Colors:

Owner: Barry Ackerley


The Seattle SeaDogs were a three-season entry in the Continental Indoor Soccer League (1993-1997), a summertime league that attracted investment from a number of NBA franchise owners.  The SeaDogs were backed by Seattle Sonics owner and billboard magnate Barry Ackerley and shared much of their front office infrastructure with the Sonics.

Former U.S. National Team midfielder Fernando Clavijo coached the team through all three of its seasons.  The SeaDogs were also-rans for their first two seasons, finishing with losing records in 1995 (12-16) and 1996 (11-17).  The ‘Dogs were also a poor draw at the box office.  In their first season, played at the old Mercer Arena, the club averaged 2,341 fans per match, which was the worst figure in the 15-team CISL.  In 1996, the team moved to modern KeyArena, the home of the Sonics, and attendance bumped up to 3,812 per game.

In 1997 the SeaDog surged to a league-best 21-7 regular season record and then defeated the Houston Hotshots in the CISL championship series.  Clavijo was named the CISL’s Coach-of-the-Year and goalkeeper Juan de la O was named Goalkeeper-of-the-Year and MVP of the championship series.

Unfortunately that would be all she wrote for the Seattle SeaDogs.  Internal dissension killed off the CISL in the winter of 1997.  The league folded on December 23, 1997.


==Key Players==


==In Memoriam==

Former SeaDogs owner Barry Ackerley passed away on March 21, 2011 at age 76.



Grainy footage of the Seadogs 1996 home opener against the Portland Pride, via the guys at




Continental Indoor Soccer League Media Guides

Continental Indoor Soccer League Programs


Written by AC

May 26th, 2013 at 3:31 am

1974-1983 Seattle Sounders

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Seattle Sounders NASLNorth American Soccer League (1974-1983)

Born: December 11, 1973 – NASL expansion franchise
Folded: September 6, 1983


Arena: The Kingdome (26,000 – for indoor soccer)

Team Colors: Green, Blue & White


Soccer Bowl Championships: None


The original Seattle Sounders of the North American Soccer League were a popular, British-influenced club active for 10 seasons between 1974 and 1983.  The Sounders twice played for the NASL’s Soccer Bowl championship but were foiled by the New York Cosmos in 1977 and again in 1982.

The Sounders began play as an expansion team in 1974.  Walt Daggatt headed the original ownership group, which hoped to bring an NFL expansion franchise to Seattle.  In his efforts to gain favor for Seattle’s NFL efforts, Daggatt met Kansas City Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt, who also owned the Dallas Tornado of the NASL.  By December 1973, Daggatt and his partners owned a pro soccer club.  A Name The Team contest followed, with Sounders triumphing over several other finalists, including “Mariners”, which would become the name of Seattle’s Major League Baseball expansion team in 1977.

Seattle Sounders NASLThe Sounders played their first two seasons outdoors at Memorial Stadium.  In the spring of 1976, the Sounders moved into the newly opened Kingdome.  The first sporting event held at the Kingdome was a Sounders match against the Cosmos on April 9, 1976.    58,128 fans packed the Kingdome that day to investigate the new building and get a look at Pele, the great superstar of the Cosmos.  Pele scored two goals to lead the Cosmos to a 3-1 victory.  That big crowd and the novelty of playing in a new building helped the Sounders lead the NASL in attendance in 1976 with over 23,000 fans per match.

Throughout their history, the Sounders were loaded with imported players from the British lower divisions.  But the club also featured some big names from English game.  Geoff Hurst, who famously scored a hat trick for England in the 1966 World Cup final, played for the Sounders in 1976.  An elderly Bobby Moore, captain of England 1966 World Cup squad, played seven games for Seattle in 1978.  Other English notables included former Chelsea and Arsenal midfielder Alan Hudson and long-time Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Corrigan.  The Sounders managers were invariably English as well.

In 1977 the Sounders advanced to face the Cosmos in the Soccer Bowl title match at Portland’s Civic Stadium.  The match would be Pele’s final competitive match before retirement.  The critical play came in the first half with the score knotted at 0-0.  Sounders goalkeeper Tony Chursky picked up and controlled a long ball sent in by Giorgio Chinaglia.  Rather than punt, Chursky rolled the ball along the ground.  Steve Hunt raced in from Chursky’s peripheral vision, took the ball off his foot and punched it into the Sounders net.  The Sounders would recover from Chursky’s inexplicable blunder to tie the match a few minutes later.   But Chinaglia scored the game winner in the second half for a 2-1 Cosmos victory.

Roger Davies Seattle SoundersThe Sounders hit their competitive and commercial peak in the summer of 1980.  Coming off a disappointing 13-17 season in 1979, new owner Vince Coluccio launched a rebuilding program by raiding another NASL club, the Tulsa Roughnecks.  The first move was to replace Sounders Head Coach Jimmy Gabriel with recently axed Roughnecks manager Alan Hinton in November 1979.  One month later, the Sounders robbed Tulsa of goalkeeper Jack Brand and a pair of Englishmen – forward Roger Davies and defender David Nish – in a multi-player trade.

Under Hinton in 1980, the Sounders came out of the gate 21-2 and went on to post the best regular season in the NASL’s 17-year history, with 25 wins against only 7 losses.  Brand set a league record with 15 shutouts in goal.  Roger Davies scored 25 goals in 29 games en route to NASL Most Valuable Player honors.  Seattle fans jumped on the bandwagon and the Sounders averaged a franchise high water mark of 24,246 fans for 16 dates at the Kingdome that summer.  But the charmed season died in the playoffs, when the Sounders were bumped off by the Los Angeles Aztecs in shocking second round upset.

The confounding playoff loss to the Aztecs seems to be the moment the tide started to roll back for the Sounders in Seattle.  The 1981 club regressed to a losing 15-17 record and a quick first round playoff exit at the hands of the Chicago Sting.  Seattle’s attendance dropped 25% in 1981, mirroring broader problems throughout the NASL.  Seven franchises folded in the fall of 1981, reducing the league from 21 to 14 clubs.

1982 was Alan Hinton’s third season at the helm.  Despite a 4-9 start, the club bounced back to 18-14 and took the Western Division crown.  Tiny (5′ 7″, 145 pound) English striker Peter Ward earned the league’s MVP award.  Unlike 1980, the Sounders would successfully navigate the playoffs to earn a trip to Soccer Bowl ’82 and a rematch of their 1977 Soccer Bowl loss to the Cosmos.   But the club’s meandering path to the title game failed to captivate the city and attendance dropped to 12,539, barely half of what the club drew just two seasons earlier.  The Coluccio brothers lost $2 million and the Sounders lost Soccer Bowl ’82 to the Cosmos 1-0.

Seattle Sounders NASLThe final dagger came in January 1983 when Vince and Frank Coluccio sold controlling interest in the Sounders to a former Los Angeles Rams football player named Bruce Anderson, and his investment partner Jerry Horn, the President of outdoor recreation retailer REI.  Anderson shocked the Seattle media at his introductory press conference by announcing the firing of Alan Hinton, just months after he took the team to the Soccer Bowl.   It was the first in a series of ham-fisted moves by Anderson, who wanted to Americanize the Sounders, who had traditionally featured a heavy contingent of British imports.  “Americanization” was a big buzz word throughout the NASL (often as a euphemism for “cost cutting”), but Anderson took it practically to the point of xenophobia, repudiating the team’s British-influenced style and tradition.  Anderson also abandoned the Sounders’ traditional colors and crest, which further alienated the club’s loyalists.

For a definitive account of the Sounders decline and fall under Anderson in 1983, check out Seattle sports historian David Eskenazi’s Wayback Machine blog here.

Midway through the 1983 season, the Coluccio brothers bought out Jerry Horn to re-assume control of the team and immediately banished Bruce Anderson to a dark corner of the basement. “My brother and I have $8 million invested.  It would be foolish to give up now,” Vince Coluccio told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer at the end of June.  But the debt and the damage were too deep.  Within two months, the Coluccios threw in the towel. They folded the club on September 6, 1983 a few days after the Sounders’ final game.

The Sounders name was revived in 1994 for an expansion team in the A-League.  The franchise endured for over a decade as a 2nd Division club, playing one level below Major League Soccer (MLS).  In 2007, Sounders owner Adrian Hanauer,  who attended the 1976 Kingdome match against Pele and the Cosmos as a young boy, broadened his investment group and paid $30 million for a 2009 expansion franchise in MLS.  By popular demand, the Sounders name was retained for the MLS entry, which is today considered the league’s model franchise.  In 2010, the Sounders became the first MLS team to draw 500,000 fans in a season.  In 2012, the Sounders attracted a league record 733,441 fans for an average of 43,144 per match.  Only the 1978 and 1979 New York Cosmos have claimed a higher average in the history of American soccer.


Seattle Sounders Shop

Sounders Classic Logo T-Shirt by Throwback Max

Sounders 1983 Logo T-Shirt by Throwback Max

Ian Plenderleith’s Definitive Account of “The Short Life & Fast Times of the North American Soccer League”


Seattle Sounders Memorabilia



Mark Peterson Seattle SoundersIn Memoriam

Midfielder Micky Cave died of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning in his home on November 6, 1984 at age 35.

Former England captain Bobby Moore (Sounders ’78) passed from cancer on February 21, 1993 at age 51.

Sounders winger Paul Crossley died of a heart attack on March 11, 1996 at age 47.

Former Sounders owner Vince Coluccio died on August 16, 2007.  He was 77 years old.

Sounders founding owner Walt Daggatt died on May 16, 2010 at age 91.

Mark Peterson, one of the Sounders’ best American-born players, passed away suddenly on July 7, 2011 at age 57.

Midfielder Steve Buttle passed away on June 5, 2012 at age 59 after a battle with cancer.

English midfielder Roy Sinclair, who played for the Sounders in 1974 and 1975, died on January 12, 2013 at age 68.





The Sounders meet the Cosmos in Soccer Bowl ’77.


The Sounders host the New York Cosmos at the Kingdome before 36,310 on July 23, 1978


1983 Seattle Sounders television commercial (final season)




1981 Sounders Indoor Soccer Game Day Timing Sheet 




North American Soccer League Media Guides

North American Soccer League Programs


1978-1979 Seattle Smashers

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Seattle SmashersInternational Volleyball Association (1978-1979)

Born: 1977 – IVA expansion franchise.
Folded: May 1980.

Arena: Seattle Center Arena (4,500)

Team Colors: Camel & Navy

Owner: Bob Mussehl

IVA Championships: None


The Seattle Smashers were a co-ed professional volleyball franchise. The team lasted for two summer seasons in Seattle in 1978 and 1979.  The Smashers formed in March 1977 as an expansion franchise in the International Volleyball Association (1975-1980) and had a 15-month ramp up to their debut in June 1978.

Seattle personal injury attorney Bob Mussehl was the majority owner.  Mussehl got into the Seattle sports scene after Seattle Supersonics star Spencer Haywood suffered a knee injury in a slip-and-fall case in the Seattle Center Coliseum. Mussehl represented Haywood in the lawsuit and later became his agent. He then signed up several other stars of the Supersonics teams of the late 1970’s, including Zaid Abdul-Aziz, Fred Brown and Slick Watts.

It was Abdul-Aziz, according to this 2008 article by Seattle Post-Intelligencer reporter Dan Raley, who talked up the idea of a pro volleyball franchise to Mussehl.  Abdul-Aziz would become a minority partner in the Smashers.

The basketball theme continued when the fledgling Smashers announced in February 1978 that 41-year old NBA superstar Wilt Chamberlain agreed to the first half of the 1978 season – 15 matches – with Seattle.  Chamberlain was already the Commissioner of the IVA. He suited up intermittently for various clubs in the the league during the late 1970’s.  He planned to leave the Smashers at mid-season to concentrate on his league administrative duties, whatever those might have been.

Chamberlain, however, backed out of the agreement after playing just a single match in the Camel & Navy colored uniform of the Smashers.  Chamberlain played for Seattle on June 1, 1978 in a home game against the Tucson Sky at the 4,500-seat Seattle Center Arena.

Chamberlain’s appearances in the IVA were always something of a sideshow.  Beyond Chamberlain, the Smashers had some truly world class volleyball players, including the Polish Olympian Stan Gosciniak, regarded as one of the best setters in the world, the former UC-Santa Barbara All-American Jeff Reddan and the team’s female star Linda Fernandez, who had some notoriety as a two-time winner of ABC’s multi-sport Superstars competition for women.  The IVA required that two female players be on the floor at all times.

The league enjoyed several years of modest growth on the West Coast. The high water mark, perhaps, was a national broadcast of the league’s 1977 All-Star Game on CBS television. But the league started to suffer some body blows towards the end of the decade.  In August 1979, federal agents raided the office of the IVA”s Denver Comets franchise and the homes of several employees.  The Comets were one of the league’s flagship clubs. It turned out the team’s owners were running a massive, multi-state cocaine and marijuana trafficking ring out of the front office.

The death blow came the following winter after President Jimmy Carter announced the U.S. boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics.  The league featured Olympians from all over the world and were counting on the games as a major promotional platform.  The league also expected a TV contract on the fledgling ESPN network coming off of the Olympics.  The American pullout deflated the league.  Owners pushed forward half-heartedly with a 1980 season. Several clubs folded early on and ultimately the entire league shutdown without managing to complete the 1980 schedule.

The Seattle Smashers were the first club to fall by the wayside after the Olympic boycott.  The Smashers ran out of money and folded in early May 1980, on the eve of what would have been their third season.  (You can see in the pocket schedule above that the team had already printed up promotional material for a 1980 season, which was never played).


1978 Seattle Smashers Preseason Roster



International Volleyball Association Media Guides

International Volleyball Association Programs


Written by AC

January 9th, 2013 at 6:33 pm


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