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Other Hockey Leagues in the West


Predecessors of the Western Hockey League

There have been other hockey leagues on the West Coast and Rocky Mountains. I have tried to include as many of these leagues I could find. I believe it to be complete.


PCHA

The first in this series was the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA). The PCHA played 13 seasons from 1911-1924. It played in six cities in the Pacific Northwest, BC's Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island. In its 13 years, it provided two Stanley Cup Champions and eight runner-ups.

The Teams of the PCHA

Team Seasons Origin, Fate or High Points
New Westminster Royals 11/12 - 13/14 became the Portland Rosebuds
Portland Rosebuds 14/15 - 17/18 came from the New Westminster Royals, became the Victoria Aristocrats, Stanley Cup runner-up 1916
Seattle Metropolitains 15/16 - 23/24 Stanley Cup Champions 1917, runner-up 1920
Spokane Canaries 16/17 became the Victoria Aristocrats
Vancouver Maroons 22/23 - 23/24 came from the Vancouver Millionaires, Stanley Cup runner-up 1923 & 1924
Vancouver Millionaires 11/12 - 22/23 became the Vancouver Maroons, Stanley Cup Champions 1915, runner-up 1918, 1921 & 1922
Victoria Aristocrats 12/13 - 15/16 came from the Victoria Senators, became the Spokane Canaries, Stanley Cup Runner-up 1914
Victoria Aristocrats 18/19 - 19/20 came from the Portland Rosebuds, became the Victoria Cougars
Victoria Cougars 20/21 - 23/24
Victoria Senators 11/12 became the Victoria Aristocrats

The WCdHL, WHL and PrHL

The next in the series of leagues had three names. The Western Canada Hockey League (WCdHL) played 4 seasons from 1921-1925. In its first three seasons, it played in the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. With the folding of the PCHA in 1924, it added teams in British Columbia.

With the addition of the Portland Rosebuds in 1926, the league changed its name to the Western Hockey League (WHL). This only lasted a year. Portland moved to Chicago and became the Black Hawks. Victoria moved to Detroit. A few years later, this franchise would change its name to the Red Wings. Both of these teams became part of the NHL.

With the loss of Portland, Vancouver and Victoria, the league again changed its name to the Prairie Hockey League (PrHL). This league lasted another 2 seasons playing from 1926-1928.

All in all, this progression of leagues lasted a total of 7 seasons. It gave us 2 of the present day NHL teams. It also gave us 1 Stanley Cup Champion and 3 Runners-up

The teams of the WCdHL, WHL and PrHL

Team Leagues Played In Seasons Origin, Fate or High Points
Calgary Tigers WCdHL, WHL, PrHL 21/22 - 26/27 Stanley Cup Runner-up 1924
Edmonton Eskimos WCdHL, WHL, PrHL 21/22 - 27/28 Stanley Cup Runner-up 1923
Moose Jaw Sheiks WCdHL 21/22 came from and went back to the Saskatoon Sheiks
Moose Jaw Warriors PrHL 26/27 became the Moose Jaw Maroons
Moose Jaw Maroons PrHL 27/28 came from the Moose Jaw Warriors
Portland Rosebuds WHL 25/26 came from the Regina Capitals, became the Chicago Black Hawks of the NHL
Regina Capitals WCdHL 21/22 - 24/25 became the Portland Rosebuds
Regina Capitals PrHL 26/27 - 27/28
Saskatoon Crestens WCdHL, WHL 23/24 - 25/26
Saskatoon Sheiks WCdHL 21/22 and 22/23 were the Moose Jaw Sheiks for a while, became the Saskatoon Crestens
Saskatoon Sheiks PrHL 26/27 - 27/28
Vancouver Maroons WCdHL 24/25
Victoria Cougars WCdHL, WHL 24/25 - 25/26 became the Detroit Cougars of the NHL, who in 1930 became the Falcons and in 1933 became the Red Wings, 1925 Stanley Cup Champions and 1926 Runner-up

Later Attempts at West Coast Hockey

There have been two more attempts to start professional hockey leagues on the West Coast. One is gone, and the other is still in operation. In addition, there is a very successful major-junior league in operation.


PHL

The Pacific Hockey League was in operation for two seasons from 1977-1979.

The Teams of the PHL

Team Seasons Origion or Fate
Long Beach Rockets 78/79 came from the Long Beach Sharks
Long Beach Sharks 77/78 became the Long Beach Rockets
Los Angeles Blades 77/78 became the Los Angeles Monarchs
Los Angeles Monarchs 78/79 came from the Los Angeles Blades
Phoenix Roadrunners 77/78 - 78/79
San Diego Hawks 78/79
San Diego Mariners 77/78
San Francisco Shamrocks 77/78 - 78/79
Spokane Flyers 78/79
Tuscon Rustlers 78/79

WCHL

The West Coast Hockey League is the latest attempt at pro hockey on the West Coast. The 1995/96 season was its first. It had six teams. In addition, the Russian Red Army East team played each of the teams twice. These games counted in the league standings.

The WCHL Homepage

The Teams of the WCHL

Team Season Remarks
Alaska Gold Kings 95/96-96/97 Played in Fairbanks; Team will start the 98/99 season in Colorado Springs
Anchorage Aces 95/96-Present
Bakersfield Fog 95/96-Present
Fresno Falcons 95/96-Present
Phoenix Mustangs 97/98  
Reno Renegades 95/96-Present
Idaho Stealheads 97/98 Play in Boise
San Diego Gulls 95/96-Present
  • Tacoma Sabre Cats
97/98  
Tucson Gila Monsters 97/98  

Junior Hockey in the West
WCHL/WHL

WHL Homepage, WHL Homepage by Rinknet

Probably one of the most successful attempts at a hockey league in the West is the hockey league currently know as the Western Hockey League. It started in 1966 as a renegade junior hockey league, known as the Western Canadian Hockey League (WCHL) in Saskatchewan and Alberta. Over the years it gained credibility and grew. The league spread into Manitoba and finally British Columbia. It gained participation in the Canadian Hockey League's Memorial cup in the early 70s.

In 1976, something radical was tried. The Edmonton Oil Kings pulled up stakes and moved to Portland, Oregon, becoming the Portland Winterhawks. This successful franchise is still playing to this day. A year later teams were added in Seattle and Billings. In 1978, the league dropped the Canadian from their name and now is known as the Western Hockey League (WHL).

So successful has the WHL been, there has only been one team go defunct (the Spokane Flyers). The league has had franchises in twenty-nine cities in the NW US and Western Canada.

Some of the players to come through the WHL include Grant Fuhr, the Courtnalls, Cam Neeley, Joe Sakic, Petr Nedved and many others.

The Teams of the WCHL/WHL

Team Seasons Came From Went To
Billings Bighorns 77/78 - 81/82 Calgary Centennials Nanaimo
Brandon Wheat Kings 67/68 - present expansion team N/A
Calgary Buffaloes 66/67 original team Calgary Centennials
Calgary Centennials 67/68 - 76/77 Calgary Buffaloes Billings Bighorns
Calgary Hitmen 95/96 - present expansion team N/A
Calgary Wranglers 77/78 - 86/87 Winnipeg Monarchs Lethbridge Hurricanes
Edmonton Ice 96/97 - present expansion team N/A
Edmonton Oil Kings 66/67 - 75/76 original team Portland Winterhawks
Edmonton Oil Kings 78/79 Flin Flon Bombers Great Falls Americans
Estevan Bruins 66/67 - 70/71 original team New Westminster Bruins
Flin Flon Bombers 67/68 - 77/78 expansion team Edmonton Oil Kings
Great Falls Americans 79/80 Edmonton Oil Kings restructured as the Spokane Flyers
Kamloops Blazers 84/85 - present Kamloops Junior Oilers N/A
Kamloops Chiefs 73/74 - 76/77 Vancouver Nats Seattle Breakers
Kamloops Junior Oilers 81/82 - 83/84 New Westminster Bruins Kamloops Blazers
Kelowna Wings 82/83 - 84/85 expansion team Spokane Cheifs
Kelowna Rockets 95/96 - present Tacoma Rockets N/A
Lethbridge Broncos 74/75 - 85/86 Swift Current Broncos Swift Current Broncos
Lethbridge Hurricanes 87/88 - present Calgary Wranglers N/A
Medicine Hat Tigers 70/71 - present expansion team N/A
Moose Jaw Canucks 66/67 - 67/68 original team pulled out of league
Moose Jaw Warriors 84/85 - present Winnepeg Warriors N/A
Nanaimo Islanders 82/83 Billings Big Horns New Westminster
New Westminster Bruins 71/72 - 80/81 Estevan Bruins Kamloops Junior Oilers
New Westminster Bruins 83/84 - 87/88 Nanaimo Tri-Cities Americans
Portland Winterhawks 76/77 - present Edmonton Oil Kings N/A
Prince Albert Raiders 82/83 - present expansion team N/A
Prince George Cougars 94/95 - present Victoria Cougars N/A
Red Deer Rebels 92/93 - present expansion team N/A
Regina Pats 66/67 - 67/68 original team pulled out of league
Regina Pats 70/71 - present came back into league N/A
Saskatoon Blades 66/67 - present original team N/A
Seattle Breakers 77/78 - 84/85 Kamloops Chiefs Seattle Thunderbirds
Seattle Thunderbirds 85/86 - present Seattle Breakers N/A
Spokane Cheifs 85/86 - present Kelowna N/A
Spokane Flyers 80/81 - 81/82 Great Falls folded after 26 games
Swift Current Broncos 67/68 - 73/74 expansion team Lethbridge Broncos
Swift Current Broncos 86/87 - present Lethbridge Broncos N/A
Tacoma Rockets 91/92 - 94/95 expansion team Kelowna Rockets
Tri-City Americans 88/89 - present New Westminster N/A
Vancouver Nats 71/72 - 72/73 expansion team Kamloops Chiefs
Victoria Cougars 71/72 - 93/94 expansion team Prince George Cougars
Weyburn Red Wings 66/67 - 67/68 original team team went back to the SJHL
Winnipeg Clubs 73/74 - 75/76 Winnepeg Jets Winnepeg Monarchs
Winnipeg Jets 67/68 - 72/73 expansion team Winnepeg Clubs
Winnipeg Monarchs 76/77 Winnipeg Clubs Calgary Wranglers
Winnipeg Warriors 80/81 - 83/84 expansion team Moose Jaw Warriors

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