Cincinnati Stingers

The Cincinnati Stingers were an ice hockey team based in Cincinnati, Ohio, that played in the World Hockey Association from 1975 to 1979 and in the Central Hockey League during the 1979–80 season. Their home arena was Riverfront Coliseum (now known as U.S. Bank Arena), and they were the only major-league hockey team ever to play in Cincinnati.

Cincinnati Stingers
CityCincinnati, Ohio
LeagueWorld Hockey Association
Home arenaRiverfront Coliseum
ColorsBlack, yellow


The Stingers franchise was awarded in 1974 as part of the WHA's ill-conceived attempt at expansion. They entered the league for the 1975-76 season along with the Denver Spurs. Most of the league's existing teams were not financially stable, and franchise relocations were commonplace. Nonetheless, the Stingers achieved enough stability that they were the only one of the WHA's five expansion teams that lasted through the end of the league. However, they were left out of the WHA-NHL merger that took place in the summer of 1979. The WHA insisted on including all three of its surviving Canadian teams,[1] though below-average attendance made it unlikely that the Stingers would have made the cut in any event. The Stingers, along with the Birmingham Bulls, were paid to disband when the WHA ceased operations.

The Stingers were the first professional team of long-time NHL stars Mike Gartner and Mike Liut, and the second pro team for Mark Messier. Messier was placed on a line with Robbie Ftorek, one of the top scorers in the league, but managed only one goal.[2]

After the WHA shut down, a minor professional version of the Cincinnati Stingers began the 1979–80 season in the Central Hockey League (CHL). The CHL team included only three players from the 1978–79 WHA Stingers; Dave Debol, Byron Shutt and Paul Stewart. The CHL team disbanded 33 games into the season.

The largest crowd in Cincinnati Stingers history was on March 11, 1978, when 13,951 fans attended a game at Riverfront Coliseum between the Stingers and the Edmonton Oilers, a game Cincinnati won 2-0.

The smallest crowd in Cincinnati Stingers history was on January 4, 1978, when 4,048 attended a game at Riverfront Coliseum between the Stingers and the Houston Aeros resulting in a 5-3 Cincinnati win.

In a 1978 episode of WKRP in Cincinnati, a Stingers sticker can be seen on the wall of Les Nessman's "office" (actually an open area with black masking tape on the floor, signifying where the office's walls would be), as well as a Stingers pennant hanging on the wall regularly.

Hockey Hall of Fame members

Season-by-season record

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

World Hockey Association
1975–7680354417128534013444th, EasternDid not qualify
1976–778139375833543039702nd, EasternLost quarterfinals (Racers)
1977–7880354237329833217017th, WHADid not qualify
1978–7980334167227428416515th, WHALost quarterfinals (Whalers)
Central Hockey League
1979–80331121123108151591n/aIncomplete season

See also


  1. Hunter, Douglas (1997). Champions: The Illustrated History of Hockey's Greatest Dynasties. Chicago: Triumph Books. ISBN 1-57243-213-6.
  2. The Rebel League: The Short and Unruly Life of the World Hockey Association, p.237, McLelland and Stewart, Toronto, ON, ISBN 0-7710-8947-3
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