Calgary Stampeders (ice hockey)

The Calgary Stampeders are a defunct ice hockey team that was based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The team existed from 1938 until 1972, playing in various senior amateur and minor professional leagues during that time. In 1946, the Stampeders captured the Allan Cup as Canadian senior hockey champions, the first Alberta based club to do so.

A team of this same name also played the 1978–79 season in the Western International Hockey League.

History

Senior hockey

The 1945–46 Stampeders were a powerhouse in the Western Canada Senior Hockey League (WCSHL). Led by Ken "Red" Hunter's then senior-amateur record 81 points, the Stamps finished first overall in the WCSHL with a 28–7–1 record, earning a bye into the league championship where they quickly dispatched the Edmonton Flyers four games to one.[1] The Stamps then faced the Winnipeg Orioles for the Prairie championship. While Winnipeg's coach predicted his team would sweep Calgary in three games, it was instead the Stampeders who eliminated Winnipeg in three by scores of 5–1, 10–2 and 8–2.[2] In the Western Canada final, the Stampeders once again easily handled their opponents, this time, the Trail Smoke Eaters. After tying the first two games, Calgary won the next two by 7–3 and 4–2 scores to reach the Allan Cup final against the Hamilton Tigers.[2]

The series almost never happened. With the tournament scheduled to be held out west, the Hamilton players considered forgoing the Allan Cup final as the $6 per day they were offered for the trip was not enough to be able to take time off from their jobs. The Tigers did make the trip, however, and were easily dispatched by the Stampeders in five games, winning the fifth game by a 1–0 score in Edmonton before a crowd of 6,000.[3]

In 1946-47, the Stampeders once again reached the Allan Cup final. They were defeated, however, by the Montreal Royals. The deciding game was held in Quebec City in front of over 11,000 spectators.[4]

As occurred frequently with senior hockey, growing concerns were surfacing regarding the status of players, as many teams were using former professionals in violation of the rules laid out by the Allan Cup committee. Many teams, including the Stampeders, were facing pressure to declare whether they were professional or amateur teams.[5]

Professional hockey

Before the start of the 1951–52 season, the Stampeders, along with their provincial cousins, the Edmonton Flyers, officially turned professional, joining the Pacific Coast Hockey League, which was renamed the Western Hockey League (WHL) by the 1952–53 season. The WHL was the top professional league in Western Canada and the United States. The Stampeders became the minor-league affiliate of the Chicago Black Hawks.[6]

The Stampeders quickly found success in the minor-pro ranks, winning the WHL title in 1953–54, defeating the Vancouver Canucks four games to one.[7] The Stampeders then went on to face the Quebec Aces of the Quebec Hockey League in the Edinburgh Trophy for the championship of Canadian minor professional hockey. Calgary won the best-of-nine series in six games, with the clinching game held in Calgary, a 4–2 victory in front of 6,500 fans.[7]

The Stampeders would reach the WHL final three more times: in 1955, falling to the Flyers in a four-game sweep;[8] in 1958, when they fell to the Canucks;[9] and in 1959, falling to the Victoria Cougars.[10] During this time, The Stampeders were one of the top draws in the league. Including all playoff games, the 1953–54 Stampeders drew over 300,000 fans in a city of 150,000.[7] In 1955–56, Calgary drew 157,803 fans in the regular season, second only to the Winnipeg Warriors.[9]

In 1963, disenchanted with their affiliation with the Chicago Black Hawks, the Stampeders took a one-year leave of absence. Gordon Love, chairman of the Calgary Stampede Board, owners of the Stampeders, stated: "We have been treated so shabbily by Chicago, that we have no alternative... Tommy Ivan simply wasn't interested in the future of hockey in Calgary, and that's all there is to it."[11] The Stampeders had also lost $90,000 during the season. Isolated in what was now a mostly Pacific coast league, Edmonton suspended operations along with Calgary. Neither team would ever resume operations, as the Flyers decided they could not be financially stable in the old Edmonton Gardens, and Calgary could not go it alone without an Edmonton team.[11]

Revivals

The Calgary Stampeders name was revived for teams playing amateur senior hockey in later years: three seasons in the Alberta Senior Hockey League, one season in the Prairie Hockey League, and one season in the Western International Hockey League.

League membership

The Stampeders played in the following leagues:

Season-by-season record

Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against

SeasonLeagueGP W L T GF GA PointsFinishPlayoffs
1938-39ASHL32621581113177th OverallOut of playoffs
1939-40ASHL
1940-41ASHL30171301199034
1941-42ABCSL3222641549748
1945-46WCSHL36287121995571st OverallWon league and Allan Cup
1946-47WCSHL402794187105581st OverallWon league
1947-48WCSHL4828191225191571st OverallLost final
1948-49WCSHL4823223220177493rd Overall
1949-50WCSHL5022235176163492nd OverallWon league
1950-51WCSHL6038211282202771st Overall
1951-52PCHL7024379278320577th Overall
1952-53WHL70312712254252743rd Overall
1953-54WHL7038257266206842nd OverallWon championship
1954-55WHL70292912262258704th OverallLost final
1955-56WHL7040300292242802nd Prairie
1956-57WHL7029374220230623rd Prairie
1957-58WHL7030355222223653rd PrairieLost final
1958-59WHL6442211263196851st PrairieLost final
1959-60WHL7032362245227665th Overall
1960-61WHL7044224300215921st Overall
1961-62WHL703629529227177T-2 NorthLost final
1962-63WHL7023452227284484th NorthOut of playoffs
1968-69ASHL
1969-70ASHL38308060
1970-71ASHL482817322416359
1971-72PrHL2814131969129
1978-79WIHL251211211711226

NHL alumni

Partially as a result of their affiliation with the Black Hawks, 84 former Stampeders would also play in the National Hockey League.[12]

See also

References

Footnotes

  1. Sandor 2005, p. 53
  2. Sandor 2005, p. 55
  3. Sandor 2005, p. 56
  4. Sandor 2005, p. 57
  5. Sandor 2005, p. 60
  6. Sandor 2005, p. 65
  7. Zeman 1986, p. 62
  8. Zeman 1986, p. 64
  9. Zeman 1986, p. 65
  10. Zeman 1986, p. 66
  11. Zeman 1986, p. 68
  12. "Calgary Stampeders". legendsofhockey.net. Retrieved 2008-04-03.

General

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