California Golden Seals

First Game Played: October 11, 1967 Last Game Played: April 1976 Moved to Cleveland in 1976

yin1967/68: The Seals were among six expansion teams as the NHL doubled in size. At first, experts predicted the California Seals to be the best team in the Western Division with the other five expansion teams. The Seals would get off to a fast start winning their first two games and tying their third. However, it was all down here from then as the Seals ended up finishing dead last with a dreadful record of 15-42-17. Along the way, the Seals would change names and becoming the Oakland Seals on December 8th as the Seals failed to draw any fans with the name California Seals, as rumors of a move to Vancouver surrounded the first-year team.

1968/69: Under new Coach Fred Glover, the Seals nearly doubled their win total posting a 29-36-11 record and finishing in second place. New faces included Carol Vadnais, Norm Ferguson, Gary Jarrett, and Earl Ingarfield, who catapulted the Seals into the playoffs. In the playoffs, the Seals would face their southern Golden State neighbors the Los Angeles Kings taking three of the first five games. However, the Kings would rally to win the next to and claim the series in seven games.

1969/70: The Seals would receive new ownership before the season as Transnational Communications, purchased the team. Included in the new ownership group was Bill Creasy, a former producer at CBS Sports, NFL announcer Pat Summerall, former New York Giant football player Dick Lynch and Yankee Hall of Fame pitcher Whitey Ford. The Seals who acquired future Hall of Famer Harry Howell would make the playoffs by finishing in fourth place with a 22-40-14 record. However, they would be swept in four straight games by the Pittsburgh Penguins. As the season ended, the new Ownership Group was forced to file for bankruptcy, and ownership reverted to Barry van Gerbig. The Bankruptcy Court decided it was best that the NHL decide who the next owner of the team should be, who later awarded the team to Oakland Athletics owner Charlie O. Finley.

1970/71: With Charlie O. Finley as their third owner in four years, the Seals underwent another name change with a bright Kelly Green and Yellow color scheme. Originally Finley wanted to call them the Bay Area Seals but before the first game decided on California Golden Seals. Another change would be made, as the Seals also became the first NHL team to put the players’ names on the back of their sweaters. With yellow skates to match their uniforms, the Seals players as lousy as they looked finishing dead last with a 20-53-5 record that was worse than the NHL’s two new expansion teams, the Vancouver Canucks and Buffalo Sabres.

1971/72: Deciding baseball’s Oakland Athletics looked good in white shoes, Owner Charlie O. Finley dresses the Golden Seals up in White Skates. The white skates didn’t go over too well with the players or the trainers as they had to be constantly repainted since puck marks and scuffing would inevitably occur. Some players joked that the skates weighed 20 pounds by the end of the season. Another player said that on TV, it looked like the Seals were skating on stumps since their white skates blended in with the ice. The Seals would go on to finish in sixth place with a 21-39-18 record.

1972/73: With the birth of the WHA, salaries across the NHL jumped significantly. Suddenly, players had leverage in their negotiations with the owners at contract time. Many NHL players jumped to the new league, but the Golden Seals were the hardest hit since Owner Charlie O. Finley increase player salaries. Among the players, the Seals lost were Bobby Sheehan, Gerry Pinder, Tom Webster, Paul Shmyr, Wayne Carleton, Norm Ferguson, and Gary Jarrett. The depleted Seals would finish in last place with an awful 16-46-16 record.

1973/74: Owner Charlie O. Finley seemed to lose interest in hockey as he sold the team back to the NHL for $6.5 Million. While the NHL sought out new ownership, the Golden Seals continued to struggle to post a pathetic 13-55-10, which was the worst record in the NHL.

1974/75: While the NHL continued to seek new owners for the California Golden Seals, the team would undergo a color change as they now had Pacific blue as their main color that was a cross between teal and aqua. In the middle of the season, General Manager Bill McCreary fired Marshall Johnston as coach and went behind the bench himself, hoping to lead the club to a playoff berth. However, the club struggled down the stretch and would finish in last place in the newly formed Adams Division with a 19-48-13 record.

1975/76: The Seals would finally find new ownership as Mel Swig, owner of the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco and former co-owner of the WHL Seals, purchased the club. Swig pushed hard all for a new arena to be built in downtown San Francisco, as the Seals iced a competitive team for the first time in six years. Rookie Dennis Maruk centered the 3M line with Bob Murdoch and Al MacAdam that excited the fans and gave the Seals good offensive production. Both Maruk and MacAdam scored over 30 goals, and Murdoch led the team in power-play goals. The Seals would end up just seven points shy of the playoffs with a record of 27-42-11. However, the biggest defeat would come following the season as the proposal of a new Arena in San Francisco was defeated. Once the arena proposal was defeated, Swig and minority owner George Gund decided to move the team to Cleveland, where they became the Cleveland Barons.

1976-1991: The Barons would end up folding after two seasons merging with Minnesota North Stars. However, George Gund desired a return to the Bay Area, and as a compromise, the NHL allowed him to take half the North Stars to San Jose in 1991, where they became the San Jose Sharks.

 

©MVI Tank Productions. Stats researched by Frank Fleming, all information, and team names are property of the National Hockey League. This site is not affiliated with the California Golden Seals or the NHL. This site is maintained for research purposes only.
All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page.
Page created on Page created on February 23, 2003. Last updated on February 27, 2006. at 12:50 am.

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