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This article is about the team in the World Hockey Association. For the team that played in the Pacific Hockey League please see San Diego Mariners (PHL).

San Diego Mariners
MarinersLogo
City: San Diego, California
League: World Hockey Association
Operated: 1974 to 1977
Home Arena: San Diego Sports Arena
Franchise history
1972 to 1973: New York Raiders
1973 to 1974: New York Golden Blades/
New Jersey Knights
1974 to 1977: San Diego Mariners

The San Diego Mariners were an ice hockey team based out of San Diego that played in the World Hockey Association. They played from 1974 to 1977. Their home ice was San Diego Sports Arena. Previous to being in San Diego, the team was known as the New York Raiders, New York Golden Blades, and New Jersey Knights.

Star players for the Mariners included defenseman Harry Howell, center André Lacroix, and goaltender Ernie Wakely. The Mariners were coached by Howell (as player/coach) during their first season and Ron Ingram the succeeding two seasons, qualifying for the WHA playoffs each year.

DemiseEdit

During the Mariners' final season, the team was owned by San Diego Padres and McDonald's owner Ray Kroc. The team never drew well, and when they only managed to attract 5,000 fans per game, Kroc sold the team to a group who planned to move it to Melbourne, Florida, however, they could not find a suitable arena.[1] The team was then sold to former Philadelphia Flyers minority owner Bill Putnam, who changed the team's name to the "Florida Breakers" and announced they would play at the Hollywood Sportatorium in Hollywood, Florida, between Miami and Fort Lauderdale.[2] After this deal fell apart Jerry Saperstein tried to buy the team and move them to the same area as the Florida Icegators [3] However, this deal collapsed as well, and after three attempts by three different groups to move the team to Florida all failed, the Mariners folded just before training camp opened in the fall of 1977. Fans who put down deposits for season tickets never got their money back.[4] The last Mariners player active in major professional hockey was Kevin Devine, who played his last NHL game in the 1982-83 NHL season. As well, Mariners' draft pick Don Edwards played in the NHL until 1986, but never played in the WHA.

AftermathEdit

After the Mariners folded, San Diego Arena operator Peter Graham joined the idea for a new West Coast-based minor championship, the Pacific Hockey League, and founded a new San Diego Mariners in 1977. Those Mariners were sold in 1978 to Pittsburgh businessman Elmer Jonnet, and played in the PHL's second and final season as the "San Diego Hawks".[5]

Season-by-season recordEdit

Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes

MarinersLogo
Mariners' season-by-season record
Season GP W L T Pts GF GA PIM Finish Playoffs
1974–75 78 43 31 490 326 2681058 2nd, Western Won Quarterfinals (Toronto)
Lost Semifinals (Houston)
1975–76 80 36 38 678 303 290 716 3rd, Western Won Preliminaries (Phoenix)
Lost Quarterfinals (Houston)
1976–77 81 40 37 484 284 283 834 3rd, Western Lost Quarterfinals (Winnipeg)
Totals 239 119 106 14 252 913 841 2608
Mariners jersey

Mariners' jersey, as worn in 1976-77 by veteran Gerry Pinder.

ReferencesEdit

  1. History page at WHAHockey.com
  2. "Breakers go looking for new team to buy", The Miami News, July 26, 1976, p. 2C. Retrieved on 2010-05-07. 
  3. Sarni, Jim. "Daydream Believer Years Ago, Saperstein Almost Brought Hockey To Florida", Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, May 7, 1986. Retrieved on 2010-10-07. 
  4. Seiden, Henry. "Pro hockey coming this way", The Miami News, May 2, 1977, p. 1A. Retrieved on 2010-05-07. 
  5. The Story of the Pacific Hockey League
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