The Cincinnati Swords were an American Hockey League team that played at the Cincinnati Gardens in Cincinnati, Ohio from 1971 to 1974. They were owned by and the affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League
|League||American Hockey League|
|Home arena||Cincinnati Gardens|
|Colors||Navy and Yellow|
|Regular season titles||1 (1972–73)|
|Division Championships||1 (1972–73)|
|Calder Cups||1 (1972–73)|
The Swords were founded in 1971 when the newly created NHL team, the Buffalo Sabres, exercised their option to create their own AHL farm team to replace the team they forced out of the AHL, the Buffalo Bisons. The Sabres had wished to place the team in South Florida, but the AHL balked because a team there would have effectively been isolated from the rest of the league; their nearest rivals would have been the Tidewater Wings, over 500 miles away. Furthermore, the only sports arena in the region, the Hollywood Sportatorium, had severe structural flaws that made it unsuitable as a professional sports venue. The Sabres then proposed to base the team in Cincinnati.
Although they were in existence for only three years, the Swords were immensely popular with Cincinnati fans. They qualified for the playoffs in their first season; they swept the Hershey Bears and lost 4-2 to the Baltimore Clippers in the second round. In 1972–73, the Swords broke numerous AHL records, including most points in a season (113), most wins in a season (54), most homes wins (32), most road wins (22), most points at home (65), and most points in road games (48). They outscored opponents 351-206. After a sweep over the Richmond Robins and a 4-2 series win over the Virginia Wings in the first and second rounds of the playoffs, the Cincinnati Swords defeated the defending league champions, the Nova Scotia Voyageurs to win the Calder Cup - one of the youngest AHL teams to take the title. The third season was the final one for the Swords; in the playoffs, they lost to the eventual Calder Cup champions, the Hershey Bears, 4-1.
In 1974, Cincinnati was granted an expansion franchise in the World Hockey Association, the Cincinnati Stingers, to begin play in 1975-76. Despite the Swords' popularity, the Sabres were not willing to compete with a WHA team and folded the Swords after the 1973–74 season.