New Haven Nighthawks

The New Haven Nighthawks were a former ice hockey team that played in the American Hockey League from 1972 to 1992. They had affiliations with the Minnesota North Stars (1972–1977), New York Islanders (1972–1973), New York Rangers (1977–1981 & 1984–1987), and Los Angeles Kings (1981–1991). The team played their home games at the New Haven Coliseum which replaced the New Haven Arena.

New Haven Nighthawks
CityNew Haven, Connecticut
LeagueAmerican Hockey League
Home arenaNew Haven Coliseum
Colorsblue, gold, and white (Islanders and North Stars)
red, white, and blue (Rangers)
black, silver and white (Kings)
AffiliatesMinnesota North Stars,
New York Islanders,
New York Rangers,
Los Angeles Kings
Franchise history
1972–1992New Haven Nighthawks
1992–1993New Haven Senators
1993–1996Prince Edward Island Senators
2002–2017Binghamton Senators
2017–presentBelleville Senators
Regular season titles1 (1979–80)
Division Championships2 (1978–79, 1979–80)


The Nighthawks were Calder Cup finalists four times: 1974–74, 1977–78, 1978–79 and a dramatic, unlikely playoff run in 1988–89 when they finished fourth in their division yet won two exciting playoff rounds before succumbing to the Adirondack Red Wings in the finals 4 games to 1. Those same Red Wings would take the Hawks out again in their last post-season before becoming the ill-fated New Haven Senators in 1992–93.

Notable players for the Nighthawks include former New York Islanders greats Chico Resch, Bobby Nystrom; ex-Boston Bruin Willie O'Ree; Tom Colley, the franchise's career leader in games (534), goals (204), assists (281) and points (485); ex-Boston Bruin Billy O'Dwyer; career penalty minute leader (688) Al Tuer; ex-WHA star Bobby Sheehan, Cam Connor, Bernie Nicholls, Blaine Stoughton, Mike Rogers and Glenn Healy. The team was notorious for a revolving door for personnel holding the AHL record for players used in a single season with 62 in 1986. No player other than Colley played in as many as 300 games for the Nighthawks, while only two goaltenders played over 100 games (Ron Scott) 153 and (Doug Soetaert)101.

The franchise was renamed the New Haven Senators for the 1992–93 season when they began an NHL affiliation with the Ottawa Senators. The following season, the franchise moved to Prince Edward Island. Today, it is known as the Belleville Senators.

The last Nighthawk to play in the National Hockey League was goaltender Byron Dafoe, who played seven games for the Nighthawks in its last season in 1992. The last Nighthawk active at any level of professional hockey was Mario Chitarroni, who played for New Haven in the 1988-89 season, and was active in the Italian professional league in 2009.

Franchise and area history

The franchise became known as:

The market was subsequently home to:

Season-by-season results

Regular season

1972–7376164020522463316th, East
1973–7476353110802912754th, North
1974–7576303511712823025th, North
1975–767629398662612953rd, South
1976–778043316923332872nd, AHL
1977–7880383111873132922nd, South
1978–7980462591013462711st, South
1979–8080462591013503051st, South
1980–8180294011692953214th, South
1981–828039338862922763rd, South
1982–838038348843373293rd, South
1983–848036404763653715th, South
1984–858031418703153415th, South
1985–868036377793403434th, South
1986–8780442511993313153rd, South
1987–8880333773762883075th, North
1988–8980353510803253094th, North
1989–908032417712833167th, North
1990–9180244511592463247th, North
1991–928039374823053093rd, North


The Nighthawks were runners-up for the Calder Cup in 1974–75, 1977–78, 1978–79, & 1988–89.[1]

Season1st round2nd roundFinals
1972–73Out of playoffs
1973–74W, 4-2, RochesterL, 0-4, Providence
1974–75W, 4-1, VirginiaW, 4-1, HERL, 1-4, Springfield
1975–76L, 0-3, Richmond
1976–77L, 2-4, Rochester
1977–78W, 3-1, PhiladelphiaW, 4-2, RochesterL, 1-4, Maine
1978–79byeW, 4-2, BinghamtonL, 0-4, Maine
1979–80W, 4-0, RochesterL, 2-4, Hershey
1980–81L, 0-4, Hershey
1981–82L, 1-3, Rochester
1982–83W, 4-1, HersheyL, 3-4 Rochester
1983–84Out of playoffs
1984–85Out of playoffs
1985–86L, 1-4, Hershey
1986–87L, 3-4, Binghamton
1987–88Out of playoffs
1988–89W, 4-2, SherbrookeW, 4-2, MonctonL, 1-4, Adirondack
1989–90Out of playoffs
1990–91Out of playoffs
1991–92L, 1-4, Adirondack

See also


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