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Pan-American Hockey League: 1999-2000 Final Season

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The 1977-78 PAHL season was one of the most embarrassing for the league with two franchises folding before completing the season. The Brooklyn Americans and Virginia Minutemen were unable to finish the season leaving the Hartford Whalers as the lone team in the Barker Division.
At the conclusion of the regualr season, it was announced that the PAHL and NHL had reached a huge deal that would take effect slowly over the next few seasons. At the conclusion on the 1978-79 season, the NHL would pay off the PAHL's debts, but in exchange, the NHL would have its choice of four franchises to be absorbed, and by the 1982-83 season, the PAHL would transition to a minor league feeding into the NHL.
To begin the playoffs, the Seattle Orcas swept the Milwaukee Ales, and the Fort Drum Rangers swept the Markham Tigers. The Quebec Nordiques required six games to knock out the Hartford Whalers, and the Kalamazoo Checkers needed seven to overcome the Edmonton Oilers. In the conference final, Fort Drum had to fight hard to win their seven game series with Quebec, while the Orcas took down the Checkers in six.
The 1978 Leif Erikson Cup featured perennial the favorite Seattle Orcas taking on a powerful Fort Drum club. It was an epic battle that required all seven games to settle before the Rangers eliminated the Orcas on home ice to clinch their fourth Leif Erikson Cup.

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Uniforms:

In uniform news, names were added to the backs of all of the jerseys except the Whalers who petitioned the league, the Edmonton Oilers made some small changes, and the Hartford Whalers changed their logo.

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Brooklyn Americans Home Away

Edmonton Oilers Home Away

Fort Drum Rangers Home Away

Hartford Whalers Home Away

Kalamazoo Checkers Home Away

Kingston Chiefs Home Away

Markham Tigers Home Away

Milwaukee Ales Home Away

Quebec Nordiques Home Away

Regina Cyclones Home Away

San Jose Blades Home Away

Seattle Orcas Home Away

Virginia Minutemen Home Away

Windsor Ambassadors Home Away

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Up next, we take a look back at another franchise. The Virginia Minutemen were an interesting experiment with having more than one home arena. This was successful for a few years but eventually proved to be too much and the franchise folded.



Virginia Minutemen


Founded: 1970


Division: Barker (1970-78)


Home Arena: Roanoke Veterans Memorial Coliseum (1970-75) Norfolk Square Garden (1970-76) Richmond Ice Arena (1970-78) The BeachDome (1970-78)


City: Roanoke, Virginia (1970-75) Norfolk, Virginia (1970-76) Richmond, Virginia (1970-78) Virginia Beach, Virginia (1970-78)



Legacy Points: 10 (40th/44)



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Logos:




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Uniforms:



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The 1978-79 season began with twelve teams and ended with eleven after the San Jose Blades suspended operations for the remainder of the season 42 games in. The Kalamazoo Checkers did quite well winning 50 games to win the Roberts Division. The season was more competitive than the last one with teams trying to get noticed by the NHL.
The 1979 playoffs began with the Seattle Orcas sweeping their rivals the Edmonton Oilers and the Kalamazoo Checkers eliminating the Milwaukee Ales in six games. In the East, the Fort Drum Rangers defeated the Windsor Ambassadors and the Hartford Whalers stunned the Quebec Nordiques, each in five games. In the conference finals, the Orcas defeated the Checkers in six games to earn their fifth finals appearance in the last six years. The Whalers downed the Rangers four games to one to stamp their finals ticket.
For the fourth time in five years, the Seattle Orcas were in the finals, and it would take seven games to decide a winner. Though the Whalers put up a whale of a fight, they were unable to match the Orcas offense in game seven. This was the Orcas' second Leif Erikson Cup.
After the playoffs, the NHL announced that it would absord the Edmonton Oilers, Hartford Whalers, and Quebec Nordiques, as well as another franchise to be named in the next five years. With the league's debts now payed off, the league announced it would expand back to 14 teams bringing back two franchises that had ceased operations as well as expanding to the states of Minnesota, New Jersey, and Alabama. The San Jose Blades also announced that they would continue operations for the 1979-80 season.

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Uniforms:

No major changes were made for the 1978-79 season.

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Edmonton Oilers Home Away

Fort Drum Rangers Home Away

Hartford Whalers Home Away

Kalamazoo Checkers Home Away

Kingston Chiefs Home Away

Markham Tigers Home Away

Milwaukee Ales Home Away

Quebec Nordiques Home Away

Regina Cyclones Home Away

San Jose Blades Home Away

Seattle Orcas Home Away

Windsor Ambassadors Home Away

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Now we take a look back at some teams who moved to the NHL.

Edmonton Oilers

Founded: 1967

Division: Northwest (1967-70) Washburn (1970-79)

Home Arena: Sherwood Park Municipal Ice Stadium

City: Edmonton, Alberta

Leif Erikson Cup Championships: 1 - 1969

Leif Erikson Cup Runner-Up: 1 - 1972

Legacy Points: 31 (21st/44)

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Logos:

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Uniforms:

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Up next is a team that greatly benefited from the Soviet defections of 1974...

Quebec Nordiques

Founded: 1967

Division: Northeast (1967-70) Barker (1970-73, 1978-79) Thompson (1973-78)

Home Arena: Le Stade de la Capitale (1967-72) Colisée de Québec (1972-79)

City: Quebec City, Quebec

Leif Erikson Cup Championships: 1 - 1975

Leif Erikson Cup Runner-Up: 3 - 1969, 1976, 1977

Legacy Points: 36 (17th/44)

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Logos:

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Uniforms:

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And finally, one of the most successful franchises in PAHL history.

Burlington Earls / Hartford Whalers

Founded: 1950

Division: American (1950-53) North Country (1953-57) Eastern (1957-65) Southeast (1965-70) Barker (1970-79)

Home Arena: Chittenden Arena (1950-56) Mark Twain Stadium (1956-75) Hartford Civic Center (1975-79)

City: Burlington, Vermont (1950-56) Hartford, Connecticut (1956-79)

Leif Erikson Cup Championships: 2 - 1963, 1974

Leif Erikson Cup Runner-Up: 2 - 1962, 1979

Legacy Points: 69 (T-10th/44)

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Logos:

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Uniforms:

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I have a few Miami team name suggestions:

Florida/Miami Sharks

Florida/ Miami Tiburones

Florida Suns

Miami/Florida Tropics

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The 1979-80 PAHL season had 14 teams playing 80 games each and saw the return of the Austin Texans and Brooklyn Americans as well as the addition of the Huntsville Apollos, Minnesota Fighting Saints, and New Jersey Devils. Competition was fairly tight all season and since many North American players were jumping ship to the NHL, many not as well-known international players were taking the spotlight with players such as defensemen Borje Salming and young Russian sensation Slava Fetisov taking on bigger roles on their teams. The Milwaukee Ales had one of their best seasons ever finishing the season with the best record in the league.
The 1980 playoffs featured some vicious battles including a game between bitter rivals, the Kingston Chiefs and Fort Drum Rangers that was delayed for over an hour because of a bench-clearing brawl that escalated into close to a riot in the stands. The Rangers would go on to win that series in five games. The Milwaukee Ales swept the Minnesota Fighting Saints in the Saints' playoff debut. The Kalamazoo Checkers had few problems putting down the Brooklyn Americans four games to one. The Seattle Orcas and Regina Cyclones fought it out to a seven game series that was decided in overtime by an Orcas goal. The conference finals were also a battle from beginning to end with both series going to seven games. The Ales earn their first Leif Erikson Cup finals appearance in their 27 year history, and the Checkers edged the Rangers.
The 1980 Leif Erikson Cup finals featured the high-scoring Kalamazoo Checkers facing off against the steel trap defense of the Milwaukee Ales. After splitting the first four games evenly, the Ales won the next two to earn their first Leif Erikson Cup.

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Uniforms:

Helmets were made mandatory for all rookies entering the league from 1980 on.

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Austin Texans Home Away

Brooklyn Americans Home Away

Fort Drum Rangers Home Away

Huntsville Apollos Home Away

Kalamazoo Checkers Home Away

Kingston Chiefs Home Away

Markham Tigers Home Away

Milwaukee Ales Home Away

Minnesota Fighting Saints Home Away

New Jersey Devils Home Away

Regina Cyclones Home Away

San Jose Blades Home Away

Seattle Orcas Home Away

Windsor Ambassadors Home Away

The Apollos' uniforms were very modern for their time and were not well liked at first. The design and stripes were based on the Saturn V rocket used in the Apollo missions.

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The 1980-81 PAHL season was an especially competitive one with only one team distancing itself from the rest, and not in a positive way. The San Jose Blades had a miserable year winning only eleven games, losing sixty, and tying nine. At the end of the regular season, the team was sold. The Milwaukee Ales did quite well finishing with a respectable 45-23-12 record which was good enough for first place in the West.
The 1981 playoffs saw some teams making their playoff debuts. The Minnesota Fighting Saints finished off the Milwaukee Ales in six games while the Huntsville Apollos lost their playoff debut in six games to the Seattle Orcas. In the East, the New Jersey Devils lost their playoff debut in five games to the Kingston Chiefs while the Markham Tigers knocked out the Brookln Americans in six games. In the conference finals, the Minnesota Fighting Saints stunned the Seattle Orcas coming back from behind to win a seven game series. The Kingston Chiefs earned another trip to the Leif Erikson Cup finals defeating the Markham Tigers in six games.
The 1981 Leif Erikson Cup was dominated from the beginning by the Kingston Chiefs who swept the newcomer Minnesota Fighting Saints to win their sixth Leif Erikson Cup.
After the season, it was announced that two former franchises would be resuming operations in the 1981-82 season.
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Uniforms:

No major changes were made for the 1980-81 season, but stuff is about to change drastically!

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Austin Texans Home Away

Brooklyn Americans Home Away

Fort Drum Rangers Home Away

Huntsville Apollos Home Away

Kalamazoo Checkers Home Away

Kingston Chiefs Home Away

Markham Tigers Home Away

Milwaukee Ales Home Away

Minnesota Fighting Saints Home Away

New Jersey Devils Home Away

Regina Cyclones Home Away

San Jose Blades Home Away

Seattle Orcas Home Away

Windsor Ambassadors Home Away

Stay tuned for some very wild uniform updates. There will be 21 uniform changes in the next three years alone!

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In the 1981 offseason, there was a leak, and the CCSLC got their hands on some of the uniforms for the next season and there is one word:

COOPERALLS!!!

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OH GOD AUSTIN...WHY OH GOD WHY?

Ha! Because 1982, that's why!

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The 1981-82 PAHL season saw the return of the Hamilton Hammers and the Syracuse Mohawks to return the league to an even 16 teams playing 80 games each. This season also saw the adoption of Cooperalls by several teams in the league. This would also be the final season of the PAHL competing at the same level as the NHL. Competition was fierce as many pro level players stuck around for one final season. The Brooklyn Americans and Milwaukee Ales each finished the season with 46 wins, but the Americans had fewer losses, so they finished with the best record in the league. Despite a mediocre existance in the PAHL, the NHL announced it had selected the New Jersey Devils as the final franchise it would be absorbing for the 1982-83 season. The owners chose to purchase another PAHL franchise and move it to Rhode Island while keeping the Devils' history.
In the fist round of the 1982 playoffs things went rather quickly. In the West, the Milwaukee Ales knocked out the Austin Texans and the Minnesota Fighting Saints beat the Seattle Orcas each in five games. In the East, the Brooklyn Americans eliminated the Hamilton Hammers in six, and the Kingston Chiefs swept the Syracuse Mohawks.
The conference finals were much more competitive with the Saints edging the Ales in seven games to earn their second consecutive trip to the Leif Erikson Cup finals. The Americans came back from a two game deficit to defeat the Chiefs in six to earn their first trip to the finals.
The 1982 Leif Erikson Cup finals set records for both attendance and TV viewing beating out the Stanley Cup for most watched. It was a battle from beginning to end with the Hamilton Hammers emerging victorious in seven games.
At the end of the season, there was a dispersal draft in which the NHL selected all of the PAHL players except the Soviet players who still had another year on their contracts. The NHL teams also announced their new affiliations with the PAHL teams.

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Uniforms:

Several PAHL franchises decided to adopt Cooperalls, and the Syracuse Mohawks returned with some new uniforms.

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Austin Texans Home Away

Brooklyn Americans Home Away

Fort Drum Rangers Home Away

Hamilton Hammers Home Away

Huntsville Apollos Home Away

Kalamazoo Checkers Home Away

Kingston Chiefs Home Away

Markham Tigers Home Away

Milwaukee Ales Home Away

Minnesota Fighting Saints Home Away

New Jersey Devils Home Away

Regina Cyclones Home Away

San Jose Blades Home Away

Seattle Orcas Home Away

Syracuse Mohawks Home Away

Windsor Ambassadors Home Away

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I am gonna take a guess, the Rangers get well the Rangers as their affiliate and Windsor is gonna partner up with Detroit ?

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OH GOD AUSTIN...WHY OH GOD WHY?

Ha! Because 1982, that's why!

Things are even going to get crazier in the 90's.

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I will be announcing the affiliations and uniform changes by division before posting the 1982-83 season. Up first is the Washburn Division.

The Austin Texans will be the minor league affiliates of the St. Louis Blues, and will not be changing uniforms.

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The Regina Cyclones will be the minor league affiliates of the Winnipeg Jets, and will not be changing uniforms.

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The San Jose Blades will be the minor league affiliates of the Los Angeles Kings, and will be changing their color scheme and adopting Cooperalls.

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The Seattle Orcas will be the minor league affiliates of the Vancouver Canucks, and will be changing their color scheme.

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I think you mean the Los Angeles Kings?

My bad. I was copying and pasting and I missed that bit.

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Up next is the Roberts Division


The Huntsville Apollos will be the minor league affiliates of the former PAHL Hartford Whalers, and will not be changing uniforms.


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The Kalamazoo Checkers will be the minor league affiliates of the Chicago Blackhawks, and will not be changing uniforms.


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The Milwaukee Ales will be the minor league affiliates of the Calgary Flames, and will be changing their striping pattern to look more like the Flames.


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The Minnesota Fighting Saints will be the minor league affiliates of the former PAHL Minnesota North Stars, and will be changing their color scheme.


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The Brooklyn Americans will be the minor league affiliates of the New York Islanders, and will be changing their striping pattern to look more like the Islanders.


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The Fort Drum Rangers will be the minor league affiliates of the New York Rangers, and will be changing their uniforms and color scheme to copy the New York Rangers.


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The Providence Reds will be the minor league affiliates of the former PAHL New Jersey Devils, and will be wearing uniforms like the Devils.


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The Syracuse Mohawks will be the minor league affiliates of the Buffalo Sabres, and will be changing their color scheme.


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