Lively Tales About Dead Teams

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January 3, 1974 – San Diego Gulls vs. USSR


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.



January 3, 1974 San Diego Gulls Roster vs. USSR

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



Written by AC

March 19th, 2013 at 2:19 pm

November 21, 1963 – San Francisco Seals vs. Los Angeles Blades

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San Francisco Seals vs. Los Angeles Blades
November 21, 1963
The Cow Palace
Western Hockey League Programs
46 pages

This is a really sharp program from the old San Francisco Seals of the Western Hockey League, who played in The Cow Palace from 1961 to 1967.  The hockey club adopted the name of San Francisco’s long-time minor league baseball team, also known as the San Francisco Seals, who played in the Pacific Coast League from 1903 to 1957.  The baseball Seals were forced out of town when Major League Baseball’s New York Giants moved west in 1958.  A similar fate awaited the hockey Seals.

Cover boy Garry “Duke” Edmundson had an unusual career.  He debuted in the NHL with the Montreal Canadiens at the young age of 19, playing a single regular season tilt plus two playoff games during the 1951-52 season.  But he spent the rest of the decade kicking around in the minors and didn’t return to the NHL until the age of 27.  After forty games with the Toronto Maple Leafs in the winter of 1959-60, he more or less squandered the second chance by showing up at training camp 40 pounds overweight in 1960, according to the Hockey Hall of Fame.  He played out his final pro seasons back in the minors with the Seals.

This particular game was the back end of a home-and-home set with the Los Angeles Blades.  The Blades beat the Seals 4-0 the previous night before 8,654 at the Los Angeles Sports Arena before the action shifted north to San Francisco.  This game was a higher scoring affair, with the Blades knocking off the Seals 7-6 at the Cow Palace.  President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas the next day and the Western League joined with most (but not all) professional leagues and cancelled games for weekend of 11/24-11/25  as the nation mourned.

The Seals play in San Francisco until 1967 when the National Hockey League expanded to California.  The arrival of the NHL in Oakland and Los Angeles spelled the end of both the Seals  and the Blades in the Western League.  The Oakland NHL expansion franchise carried on the Seals nickname, first as the California Seals and later as the Oakland Seals and California Golden Seals.  The NHL left the Cow Palace behind and played across the Bay at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.




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