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California Golden Seals - Post Expansion Era


yave1964
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California Seals: Post Expansion Era MVRP  

7 members have voted

  1. 1. Select up to 3 players

    • LEFT WING JOEY JOHNSTON
      0
    • CENTER TED HAMPSON
    • RIGHT WING BILL HICKE
    • DEFENSE CAROL VADNAIS
    • DEFENSE BERT MARSHALL
    • GOALE GILLES MELOCHE


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When I looked up and and saw that I had the Seals, I was overwhelmed, here is the most obscure, non entity organization that I could think of. I mean, I have an unhealthy love affair with the Kansas city Scouts and the World Hockey association, but the seals were as good as no doze.

Nine seasons, two playoff appearances, knocked out in the first round both times. Worst trade in hockey history, (Acquired Ernie Hicke and a late first rounder for the first pick in the draft from the Canadiens, who selected Guy Lafluer). Charlie Finley and the ten pound white skates was possibly the most interesting thing ever about the organization. Either that or the team being purchased by a group that immediately filed bankruptcy and reneged on the deal. But I digress.

When the NHL decided to expand from six teams to twelve it was agreed that two teams needed to be in California, so along with the Kings in the city of Angels, the Seals came to be. The original plan was to build an arena in San Fransisco, with a short term stop in Oakland while the stadium was being built. The stadium turned into a pipe dream, and rather than go by the Oakland Seals they were known as the California seals as Oakland was considered too small to host an NHL team. Through the years they were known as the Oakland/California Seals/golden Seals, confusing fans. At one time it was in discussion to go with the name Bay Area Seals, or even Bay City Seals, all this without ever moving, So the Oakland/California/Bay City/Bay Area Seals/Golden Seals stumbled through nine uneventful years, never really establishing an identity.

Charlie Finley of the Oakland A's Baseball team was the most well known figure associated with this organization. The two things he was most well known for was his idea to have the players wear white skates, like his baseball players wore white shoes. Problem was, they got scuffed up in games and practice, so the paint was constantly being reapplied. The players complained that by seasons end the skates weighed an extra ten pounds or so from all the paint. The other thing he was known for was his cheapness, and when the WHA started in the first year the Seals lost close to half the team to desertion, right when they were finally playing decent and for them halfway exciting hockey, the team was gutted by the new league because of a miserly owner.

Finally, Finley got tired of hockey and/or they got tired of him, so he gave the team to the league when he couldnt find an owner. After two years, the league sold the team to Mel Swig who after trying to get a new arena in San Fransisco and failing moved the club to Cleveland.

The Seals were not without NHL caliber players, it just seemed that they caught them before they developed or after they were over the hill and had way to few in their prime. The all time record for the team was 182-401-115, and they did that without fanfare, attendance was a constant problem.

The all time leader in games played for the Seals was Bert Marshall, a stay at home defenseman who seems to lack personality. Kind of sums up the whole team, really. The all time leading scorer was Joey Johnston, who in four years scored a franchise best 84 goals and 185 points, an average of 21 goals and 46 points a year. Again, THAT is the all time leading scorer.

So now if you are not asleep or writhing in agony, here is the first team all star team of the Non San Fransisco Seals.....

LEFT WING JOEY JOHNSTON

Joey was a little guy, only 5 foot 9 but not afraid to scrap. Twice in his four years he broke 100 PIMs, he actually was not a horrible player, would have been a nice 2nd/3rd liner with the right team. Career fizzled shortly after leaving the bay.

CENTER TED HAMPSON

An original Seal, drafted from the Red wings in the expansion draft, Hampson holds the all time record for the Seals for points in a season with a very respectable 26-49-75 in 1968-69. One of the main players lost to the WHA when Finley decided not to pay a fair wage, Between the NHL and WHA Hampson played a very respectable 981 games scoring 556 points, playing a gentlemanly style of hockey.

RIGHT WING BILL HICKE

Bill had seen his better days by the time he landed on the west coast, having played a nice role with the late fifties early sixties Canadiens, before drifting through three lackluster seasons with the Rangers. An original Seal, bill proved he could still light the lamp with 79 goals over four seasons, before moving on to the Penguins where he finished his nhl career.

DEFENSE CAROL VADNAIS

this guy could play. Really. Originally a Canadien, he was drafted by the Seals and was explosive on the point for four years before moving on to reall hockey clubs in Boston and New York. He peaked at 24 goals in 69-70 along with 212 penalty minutes. All four seasons with the Seals he scored double digit goals and had to wonder what the hell he was doing there surrounded by these guys. Played 1087 games with 169 goals and 1813 penalty minutes, a solid player.

DEFENSE BERT MARSHALL

Played six seasons with the Seals, the all time record. A stay at home d-man who went on to play for the Islanders in their development stage, Played 868 career games with only 17 goals,

GOALE GILLES MELOCHE

The main man in net for five seasons, had 58 wins with the seals to go along with his 140 losses. To be fair he came along right when the whole team deserted him for WHA riches, and they finished last every year. He played forever, moving to Cleveland then when they collpased to the land of lakes, before moving to Pittsburgh where he played three seasons, finally retiring in 1988.

HONORABLE MENTION

GARY SMITH

The primary goalie for the first four seasons, had a record with the seals of 61-119-27. Like Meloche he played forever, someone always needed a goalie and he was a likeable sort, so much so that when he went 0-10-1 with the Indianapolis Racers in 1978-79 he still managed to find an nhl home for the following season.

REGGIE LEACH, **** REDMOND, DENNIS MARUK, CHARLIE HODGE, PAUL SHMYR WAYNE MERRICK

All had solid NHL careers, either before or after their time in Oakland and were known more for their time in other organizations.

Hope this helps someone with insomnia or who needed a good chuckle.

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@yave1964 wow, good on you for taking the Golden Seals I have no idea who any of these players are and for that I have no idea who to vote for. It's nice to look into a team that most people probably don't even know existed, I can only assume how much research was needed for this piece.

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@yave1964 Excellent piece of work bro! It really filled in a lot of blanks. I knew about Finley being cheap, even remember a few "you're cheaper than Finley" barbs from back in the seventies. By 1973 I was already a Flyer fan. As a young 8 year old I remember seeing the Leafs play the Golden Seals and was really impressed with Reggie Leach. He scored 2 goals and I remember saying "I'd love to have *that* guy on the Flyers!" Didn't have to wait long huh?

I also remember Carol Vandais. He had a cannon from the point. Remember him more with the Rangers than anyone else, but he had unmistakeable talent.

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@yave1964 Excellent piece of work bro! It really filled in a lot of blanks. I knew about Finley being cheap, even remember a few "you're cheaper than Finley" barbs from back in the seventies. By 1973 I was already a Flyer fan. As a young 8 year old I remember seeing the Leafs play the Golden Seals and was really impressed with Reggie Leach. He scored 2 goals and I remember saying "I'd love to have *that* guy on the Flyers!" Didn't have to wait long huh?

I also remember Carol Vandais. He had a cannon from the point. Remember him more with the Rangers than anyone else, but he had unmistakeable talent.

I don't know any of the players of than the goalie meloche and even at that vaguely. I took the two d-men. Vadnais because you and Yave said he was a very good player and Marshall because he endured 6 years on such a crappy team.

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  • 9 years later...
Posted (edited)

CALIFORNIA GOLDEN SEALS
U.S. HOCKEY HALL OF FAME
INDUCTEES


01. 1981: Thomas Williams
02. 1996: Craig Patrick

 

CALIFORNIA GOLDEN SEALS
HOCKEY HALL OF FAME
INDUCTEES

 

01. 1979: Harry Howell
02. 1995: Bill Torrey
03. 2001: Craig Patrick

 

OAKLAND SEALS
HOCKEY HALL OF FAME
INDUCTEES

 

01. 1979: Harry Howell
02. 1985: Bert Olmstead
03. 1995: Bill Torrey

 

CALIFORNIA SEALS
HOCKEY HALL OF FAME
INDUCTEES

 

01. 1985: Rudy Pilous
02. 1985: Bert Olmstead

 

BAY AREA SEALS
HOCKEY HALL OF FAME
INDUCTEES

 

01. 1979: Harry Howell
02. 1995: Bill Torrey

Edited by NHL HHOF
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