Jump to content

Raiders and Knights and Mariners (WHA MVRP)


Recommended Posts

  1972 as the league kicked off the Raiders were the franchise located in New York, supposed to be a keystone to the new league as they  kicked off a new era. The problem was the team was played by Island who used them as a pawn to get the expansion Islanders and refused overtures to allow the Raiders to play there. Instead they played in Madison Square Garden which sounds great but they could not afford the concession stands or the little things that added up to a big bill which the owners could not afford. Only halfway through the first season the league was forced to take over operations to keep the team from defaulting. The second year, renamed the New York Golden Blades they started poorly and wound up halfway through the season running from creditors (a common problem with the league) and moved to Cherry Hill New Jersey and renamed the New Jersey Knights, where they stumbled and bumbled through the rest of the season on ice that could only be described as the all time worst that any home team every had to play on. There was a hill on one side of the ice leading up to center ice, players have said if you were at one end of the ice looking all the way down you could only see the head and shoulders of the other teams goalie.

   "We used it as a home field advantage," Said Andre Lacroix who played for the Knights (A hell of a player he followed the club to San Diego and was its true superstar) "The other team had to climb the hill two if the three periods to get out of their zone so we tried to wear them out by constantly shooting the puck in along the boards. I think we invented the dump and chase."

  Two seasons, two owners, two missed playoffs, huge unpaid bills, twice the league had to step in and save the franchise. This was NOT the way hockey was meant to be played. So finally New York in the rear view mirror they ran as far from the creditors as was possible and relocated to San Diego as the Mariners. The city of San Diego almost ran the Mariners out of town claiming they were mob owned but that does not seem possible to me as the mob does not take chances on such long shots.

  HOFer Harry Howell as player coach led the team to the playoffs where they upset the favorite Toros before falling to the Gordie Howe led Aeros, the same thing happened again the following season, beating the Phoenix Roadrunners before Gordie came to town and knocked them off. Hamburger king Ray Kroc by now owned the club and was getting impatient with his return the following season the club again made the playoffs losing in the first round to the Winnipeg Jets before the team folded due to lack of attendance and lack of an interested party willing to buy the club. The league decided to forgo propping up the franchise this time around and with no backer in sight they simply ceased to be after five seasons, as the New York Raiders/Golden Blades New Jersey Knights San Diego Mariners, owned by two owners in the league, the mob, the league a couple of times and the hamburger king. Got it?

  Players of note within the organization:

  RON WARD  It has to start with Ward, the Knights first star player who was an afterthought, a 4th line PK man who was not retained by the Canucks after scoring a whopping 2 goals he scored 51 goals and 118 points in the inaugural season. Instead of being something the league could build on, treating Ward as a rising star to sell tickets, owners like Hal Ballard laughed derisively at Ward who was not good enough for a bad Vancouver squad but was shining in this new league. Instead of saying that well, maybe that says more about why the Canucks sucked as an organization at the time than about Ward, instead he was banished to Cleveland and then to Minnesota where he bounced around before calling it a career. His one great season in New York ruined him.

  NORM FERGUSEN played the most games in team history with 365 and was second all time with 155 goals. Played all five seasons for the organization after escaping penny pinching Charlie Finley with the Seals in the NHL.

  WAYNE RIVERS was the only other man to play all five years with the team, and led the league in goals scored with 158 or 32 a year. Rivers played bits of seven seasons in the NHL never with more than 6 goals in a season. He was known for having the biggest bend to his stick in the league as the 'banana blade' took over making journeymen superstars for a short time.

  ANDRE LACROIX One of the league all time greats, he is the all time point man with the club with 473 in four years, great set up man who could also finish. My all time favorite story with Lacroix was how the league asked him while in New York to go to meet with some folks for a photo shoot to help promote the league, he showed up and two busty bunnies were there with the man who was setting it up, to Lacroix's horror he discovered it was to be a nude shoot for a new magazine named playgirl, Lacroix refused saying maybe they should get Derek Sanderson instead. Lacroix got out of their as quickly as possible.

  KEVIN MORRISON was an All Star defenseman who also led the team in penalty minutes, kind of a old time Shea Weber with a fro.

 ERNIE WAKELY was the all time goalie for the organization appearing in more than double the amount of games than the next closest player (Joe Junkin) played all three seasons in San Diego as the teams number one, had a half dozen seasons as a backup in the NHL before playing all seven seasons with the league.

  Hall of Famer HARRY HOWELL played and coached for the club to finish up his career. The second black pro league player, Alton White finished his career with the Mariners. BOBBY Sheehan who had won a cup with the Canadiens played with the Mariners.

   Not the worst franchise in the history of the league, I don't know if that is something to brag about or not. 


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...