1904: A team from Dawson City (Yukon) plays for the
Stanley Cup. They leave Dawson City on Dec. 19th, 1904
and travel to Vancouver by dog sled (a distance of 2000
miles). From there, they traveled to Ottawa by train to
play the Silver Seven. They lost the first game 9-2 on
Jan. 13 and the second 23-2 on Jan 16.
1906-8: Some sort of a league operates on the prairie
1911-19: The Boundary Hockey League operates in such BC
cities as Nelson, Greenwood and Grand Forks)
1911-1926: Hockey is the first sport to have major
leagues in the west. The Prairie Hockey League and the
Pacific Coast Hockey League compete for the Stanley Cup
several times and even win a few. This era of western
hockey end with the Victoria Cougars moving to Detroit
(and ended up becoming the Red Wings) and the Portland
Rosebuds moving to Chicago and becoming the Blackhawks.
1915: Vancouver wins the Stanley Cup
1917: Seattle wins the Stanley Cup
1925: Victoria wins the Stanley Cup. This is the last
Stanley Cup victory for a West Coast team to this date.
Behind Victoria's success was Lester Patrick, the Silver
Fox. He would later own the Victoria Franchise in the
1926: Victoria loses to the Montreal Maroons in the
Stanley Cup Final. This marked the last decade for major
league hockey on the West Coast for 4 decades, and 6 for
a Stanley Cup Final appearance.
The Pre WHL Era (1926-1945)
1928: The California Hockey League begins play. The
league includes San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles and
Hollywood. Both San Francisco and Oakland play at the
Iceland rink in San Francisco.
1929: The Oakland Sheiks win the first CHL Title.
1929: The Oakland Ice Arena opens.
1930: The Oakland Sheiks win another CHL title.
1930: John J. Allen becomes the CHL president.
1933: The CHL is forced to be dissolved due to poor
1936: Arthur Rud of Portland tries to bring back hockey
to California by investing heavily in the Oakland
Clippers of the Pacific Northwest League. The team is
forced to disband after 2 and a half months.
The PCHL Years (1945-1952)
1945: The Amateur 9 team league, the Pacific Coast Hockey
League, was organized at the Winterland in San Francisco
in June. Although "amateur", many of the
players were actually paid. Top salary in the league was
only $2,000, and gate receipts were low. New
Westminster's receipts were only $22,000 for 19 home
games. One of the roadblocks to becoming pro was that the
NHL recognized Lester Patrick's territorial rights to the
Portland, Seattle and Vancouver markets. George (Al)
Leader was named Managing Director of the new league..
1940s: During the early years of Pacific Coast Hockey
there were no modern conveniences. Players dressed in
their hotel room, played in arenas with questionable ice
conditions and traveled in chilly train cars of in autos,
usually seven to a car (all night drives) with equipment
tied to the top of the vehicle.
1940s: Some of the rules were different back then too.
There was only one faceoff circle, directly in front of
the goalie, in the defensive zone, only one man off the
ice at a time for penalties and only one linesman.
1947: Owners in the PCHL vote against becoming a
professional league. There was a lot of objection from
teams in smaller markets based on fear of high salaries.
1947: Al Leader is named President of the PCHL.
1948: Owners and officials of the 10 team
"amateur" Pacific Coast Hockey League meet at
the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco. On Jan. 14, they
vote to turn the league professional for the next season.
The only owner with an objection is Kenny MacKenzie of
New Westminster who felt he would have a hard time
obtaining players. NHL agrees to provide players on a
limited trial basis to see it went.
1948: Los Angeles and San Francisco apply for entry to
the NHL, but are rejected.
1949: Fresno drops out of the league after one season.
1949: The NHL establishes the PCHL as a full fledged
1949-50: The Victoria Cougars set many of the leagues
records for slumps in their first season in the league,
such as 19 consecutive road losses and longest shutout by
an opponent, 182 min 29 sec. However, the next season,
they would win both the regular season and playoff
1949: Oakland, under Eddie Shore, drops out of the league
in December claiming losses of over $150,000.
1950: San Francisco and San Diego request to withdraw for
a year. Los Angeles requests to become part of the
Northern, but is forced to withdraw to because travel
costs would have been prohibitive.
1951: The Portland Eagles drop out of the league.
1951: Edmonton, Calgary and Saskatoon join the league.
The WHL's First Golden Age (1952-1957)
1952: The PCHL changes it's name to the Western Hockey
League to reflect its growth to the prairies. The WHL's
first golden age begin.
1953: The Tacoma Rockets drop out of the leagues. With
Tacoma gone, Seattle is required to make 4 road trip out
east. The league helps Seattle with $2,200 for this extra
1953/54: The Calgary Stampeders set the single season
attendance mark by drawing 187,793 fans.
1954-55: Seattle gets a one year leave of absence due to
1955: Winnipeg and Regina join the league. Regina moves
to Brandon mid season due to poor attendance.
1955-59: The WHL operates in two division, Coast and
Prairie. In the 12 years the Prairie teams operate in the
WHL, they win 7 playoff titles. For six straight seasons,
1952-1957 the cup stayed on the prairies.
1956: Saskatoon drops from the league. Brandon has to
draw on an assistance pool provided by the other Prairie
A Decline on the Praries (1957-1960)
1957: The first WHL golden age is coming to an end. This
is due to a Canada-wide recession and Saturday night NHL
games on television. Saturday night games had kept the
WHL alive on the prairies.
1957-58: Brandon moves. The Regals split their games
between Saskatoon and St. Paul to try to generate more
revenue. This move proves to costly and the team goes
back to Saskatoon only the next year.
1957-60: Guyle Fielder wins four straight scoring
championships, scoring 122, 111, 119 and 95 points.
During the 60s Fielder would win four scoring
championships, led the league seven times in assists, was
MVP three times, had seven All Star berths, was most
gentlemanly player 3 times and averaged 87 points per
season for the decade.
1957: At the league meetings, only Vancouver, Winnipeg
and Calgary report they're in good financial shape.
1958: The league record for the longest overtime game is
established. The Winnipeg Warriors beat the Vancouver
Canuks 4-3 in 55 minutes, 19 seconds of overtime play.
1958: The Spokane Comets join the league.
1959: New Westminster drops from the league due to
financial troubles. New West move's their players to
Victoria for the next season. The following year the team
went to Portland. James Piggot receives permission to
move the Saskatoon Quakers franchise to Victoria.
The WHL's Second Golden Age
1960: Lester Patrick dies. The league's championship
throphy is changed from the President's Cup to the
1960: The Portland Buckaroos join the WHL, playing in a
brand new arena with a capacity of 10,500 for hockey. The
WHL's second golden age begins.
1960/61: The Portland Buckaroo break the single season
attendance record by drawing 272,000 fans. The set the
single game record by drawing 10.417 fans.
1960-61: Calgary Stampeder linemates Norm Johnson, Lou
Jankowski and Ron Leopold set the record for points by a
line. They combine for a total of 278 points. The center
Johnson had 23 goals and 64 assists. Jankowski set as
league record with 57 goals and had 42 assists. Leopold
had 50 goals and 42 assists.
1960-69: The Portland Buckaroos dominate the decade of
the 60s. They won two divisional titles, five league
titles and two Patrick Cups. During this decade, the team
averaged 40 wins a season.
1961: Winnipeg drops out of the league.
1961: San Francisco and Los Angeles are again represented
in the WHL. The Los Angeles Blades are transferred from
Victoria. The San Francisco franchise is awarded to Coley
Hall and plays in the Cow Palace. This is the leagues
first time back in California in 11 years. The league's
stated goal is to become a major league and compete for
the Stanley Cup against the NHL in three to five years
with this move back into California. It looked liked it
might happen too. The league had 4 arenas with capacities
over 10,000 in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Los
Angeles and one promised in Vancouver, and attendance was
up. The league was again split into two divisions,
Northern and Southern
1963: San Francisco wins the WHL playoff championship.
1963: Edmonton and Calgary drop out of the league due to
heavy traveling costs to the south. The WHL is gone from
the Canadian Prairie. Spokane transfers to Denver, and
the league now has representation in the Rockies.
1963: San Diego is granted a conditional franchise.
1963-64: The San Francisco Seals, under coach-GM Norman
(Bud) Polie, become the first team to win back to back
playoff championships in the WHL.
1964: The Denver Invaders, under coach Rudy Pilous and
led by Al Millar, run away with the league regular season
title. Attendance is poor, however. The league requests
assistance from the Toronto Maple Leafs who move the team
to Victoria for 1964-65.
1965: The NHL votes to expand by six teams to include Los
Angeles and the Bay Area, two of the WHL's prime areas.
The WHL dream of becoming a major league are killed and
the WHL's second golden ages draws to a close.
1966: The San Diego Gulls begin WHL play. Owned by Bob
Breitbard and GMed-coached by Max McNab, bring nearly
300,000 fans into the new San Diego International Sports
Arena making the Gulls the most successful franchise
outside the NHL (at that time) and starting a fine hockey
tradition in that city.
1966: The San Francisco Seals play their final season in
the Oakland Coliseum.
The WHL's Final Years (1966-1974)
1967: The Victoria Maple Leafs move to Phoenix. The
Roadrunners are Arizona's first pro hockey team and start
another fine tradition. Fans flock to the Veterans'
Memorial Coliseum. A strong rivalry is developed under
owner Gary Hooker, president Jim Wells and coaches Alf
Pike and Aut Erickson.
1967: The Oakland Seals and the Los Angeles Kings begin
play in the NHL.
1967-68: The Seattle Totems Totems win back to back
Patrick Cups in 67 and 68 under the leadership of coach
1968: The Denver Spurs join the league.
1968: Attempts are made, but fail, to move the Oakland
Seals to Vancouver.
1969: Dan Meyer brings hockey to Salt Lake. The Golden
Eagles play in the brand new Salt Palace.
1969-70: Art Jones of the Portland Buckaroos scores a
league record 127 points.
1969-70: The league sets its highest attendance mark at
1,649,000 fro 270 regular season and playoff games.
1969-70: The Vancouver Canucks, prepping to become an NHL
club and coached by Joe Crozier, win two straight cups in
their last two season in the WHL.
1970: Vancouver gains a NHL franchise and leaves the WHL.
With it's departure there were no more Canadian Cities in
1970: Charlie O. Finley buys the Seals and changes their
name to the California Golden Seals.
1972-73: The World Hockey Association begins operation.
Many players from the WHL enter the WHA.
1972-73: The WHL and CHL play interlocking schedules, and
explore the possibilities of a merger.
1972: Dan Meyer, owner of the Salt Lake Golden Eagles, is
murdered in his Minneapolis hotel room while attending
league meetings. Meyer was shoved from his 18th story
hotel room. Charlie O. Finley (Oakland A's and California
Golden Seals owner) buys the team.
1972: The Denver Spurs sweep the Patrick Cup series.
1974: Phoenix Roadrunners announce they'll go to the WHA
for 74/75 before the playoffs begin
1974: The WHL disbands. The Seattle Totems, Denver Spurs
and Salt Lake Golden Eagles go to the CHL. The San Diego
Gulls fold due to the city's gain of a WHA franchise. The
Phoenix Roadrunners go to the WHA.
1974: The California Golden Seals' ownership is taken
over by the NHL after financial problems.
The Decline and Demise of Hockey in the West
1976: The Seals are moved to Cleveland.
1977: The Pacific Hockey League begins play.
1979: The Pacific Hockey League ends play.
1983: The Portland Winterhawks become the first US team
to win a Memorial Cup.
1984: With the demise of the CHL, the Salt Lake Golden
Eagles are allowed to join the IHL, a league, which up to
this time had been a strictly Midwest league.
A Rebirth of Hockey in the West (1990-now)
1990: The San Diego Gulls begin play in the IHL, marking
the first team on the Pacific for this league.
1991: San Jose is granted an expansion team. After more
than a decade, pro hockey is back in the Bay Area.
1995: The WCHL begins operations.
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