Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Encore Post-Hockey Night in Cleveland!

American Hockey League 75th Anniversary Logo. The Cleveland Barons had a long, storied history in the AHL from 1936-73, with another Club named Barons from 2001-2006..Now represented in NE Ohio by the Lake Erie Monsters..Logo Courtesy American Hockey League and

About three years ago, I posted about the return of AHL Hockey to Cleveland in the form of the Lake Erie Monsters..along with a History Of Pro Hockey in the Cleveland area over the years..I thought we'd revisit that history again, in light of the 75th anniversary of the Anmerican Hockey League..The AHL's six oldest cities, Cleveland, Rochester, Syracuse, Springfield, Hershey and Providence..Will play a home and home series with each other Fri. and Sat. Oct. 8-9..Lake Erie will play Syracuse at Quicken Loans Arena Friday Night, then at Syracuse Saturday Night..All six teams will wear throwback uniforms from their past..FSN Ohio will televise the Friday Night Game, with Broadcaster Ben Holden hosting some special features about Cleveland Hockey History..From The Monsters' Website,Holden writes:

"On opening night, October 8th, we will have a two part feature on Cleveland hockey history on our TV/radio simulcast. We are doing this in honor of the 75 year anniversary of the AHL. Cleveland was one of the founding cities in the AHL and we are looking forward to a special night in the arena, and on our TV/radio simulcast. Among those that will a part of the features are, Bill Needham, Wayne Muloin, Ron Ward, Jock Callander and Phil Simon. The game will air on FOX Sports Ohio that night, and on the radio side, AM 1220 WHKW will air its first game of the season."

Holden is entering his second season as Monsters' Radio-TV Voice..The team has done better each year, record-wise and has drawn among the top ten in AHL attendance each of the past 3 years..

Here is the original post-From October 6, 2007..With a couple of small updates at the bottom

Secondary Logo for the Lake Erie Monsters-New AHL team owned by Dan Gilbert..Which began play tonight at the Q..Losing to Grand Rapids 3-2

Cleveland Barons 2001-06 AHL Logo..The San Jose Sharks in my mind set this team up to fail, doing almost no promotion or marketing..
Cleveland Lumberjacks International Hockey League Logo 1993-2001

WHA Cleveland Crusaders Logo 1972-76

Mid 1960's Cleveland Barons AHL Logo

Local Newspaper ad for Radio Broadcasts of NHL Barons Hockey..Larry Hirsch was on PBP sometimes joined by Harry Howell, Barons General Manager..Hirsch went on to broadcast for the New Jersey Devils and The Tampa Bay Lightning.

Presumably a TV Guide Ad for the 1976-78 NHL Clevelamd Barons on WUAB-43..The team wa a failure om and off the ice for many reasons..I do believe Pete Franklin provided color commentary for the TV Games, but I have no idea who the gentleman in the picture is. Supposedly the play-by play guy..EDIT:Retired WKYC-TV reporter Joe Mosbrook e-mailed me to say that the man in the picture is former WKYC-TV weekend sports anchor Dick Hammer. Thanks, Joe!

One of my other interests is Pro Hockey..and With the Lake Erie Monsters of the American Hockey League set to begin play tonight, I thought I'd mention some Hockey TV and Radio folks in Cleveland as well as give a primer on Hockey in Cleveland..

The first team to call Cleveland Home ws call the "Indians" in the late 20's early 30's..The team played at the 7,000 seat Elysium..By 1937 Sportsman Al Sutphin had built the Cleveland Arena and renamed the team the Barons..With great players like Fred Glover, Johnny Bower, Les Cunningham and others..The team won 10 division titles and 9 American Hockey League Calder Cups, the last in 1964..The team was the class of the AHL. The NHL in the 1940's invited Cleveland into the League, but Sutphin declined, fearing it would cripple the AHL..Cleveland was later denied admission several times..WGAR and WERE had Barons Radio with Bob Neal at the mike for the most part..WEWS-TV 5 had Barons Games in 1948-49 for certain..dont know beyond that..

Nick Mileti bought the Barons in 1968. He founded the Cavaliers in 1970..Then went into the World Hockey Association in 1972 with the Crusaders while still owning the Barons.Two teams in town didnt work so the Barons left in early 1973..Radio/TV announcers included Steve (He Shoots He Scores) Albert, Lee Hamilton, Les Levine, with Frank Sweeney and Ted Patterson on WUAB-43 and Mileti-owned WWWE-AM 1100.The Crusaders were mostly competitive, with HOF Goalie Gerry Cheevers, but the move to the Coliseum really hurt the team as the fanbase was too spread out for the team to be a success..the team moved to Minnesota in 1976 as the NHL was arriving..

Mel Swig and George Gund brought the California Golden Seals to Clevelamd in 1976-78..Two bad winters, very bad teams, no promotion and the Coliseum location did the team in..It would take too much money to build the fanbase..The team was merged with the Minnesota North Stars..the Best players were probably Goalie Giles Meloche and Center Dennis Maruk..Larry Hirsch and Harry Howell were announcers on WJW-850 and WKNT 100.1 Kent-Akron (WNIR)..

After a gap of 14 years between 1978-1992 Larry Gordon moved his Muskegon Lumberjacks of the International Hockey League to Cleveland..Playing at the Coliseum for 2 years (1992-94) before moving to downtown Cleveland at Gund Arena in 1994. The team drew better, though the on ice success was mixed..Jock Callender, one of the greatest players in IHL history, starred with the Lumberjacks along with Dave Michayluk. The IHL tried to somewhat compete with the NHL, moving to larger cities and paying bigger salaries..The plan ultimately backfired and the IHL folded in 2001..6 teams joined the AHL..Channel 43 and 55 had games variously along with WKNR-1220/850..Tim Saunders was one of the announcers..

The AHL's Kentucky Thoroughblades moved to Cleveland in 2001 and stayed till 2006..Again, not much promotion or marketing..It was if the San Jose Sharks didnt want to be here..playing to sparse crowd for 5 years, they moved to Worcester, Mass. in 2007..Jamie Smock was the announcer on WKNR-850..No TV games

Dan Gilbert then bought the dormant Utah AHL franchise..Following a year of preparation, The team was named the Lake Erie Monsters..Affiliated with the NHL Colorado Avalanche, Opening night was tonight..Despite a disappointing loss, the crowd was 15,132..A great start for the new franchise..Fox Sports Ohio and WKNR-850 are the broadcast homes, with AHL veteran announcer John Michael announcing..

I beleve Cleveland has been given a bad rap over the years as far as being a Hockey City..There has been a lot of High School Hockey played in the Cleveland area for years..Each of the situations outlined..If the owners (Except for the first Barons AHL team) could have done a little more or just stuck it out, we wouldnt have had so many teams over the years..

Crusaders:From the former Minor League Hockey Logo Page/Ralph Slate (Now Logoserver

Original AHL Barona:Wikipedia

Other Images
Cleveland Barons (NHL) History Pages

Updates to the above:
FSN Ohio and WUAB will share a 15 game TV package in 2010-2011..WHKW-1220 and WKNR-850 will each air 40 regular season games..

Also want to mention the passing of Van Lane, Cleveland Broadcaster who did Play-By Play for the Barons on WDOK-1260..Presumably in the 1960's..Condolences to his family..

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