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I am a HOCKEY fan! * Gardening and Quilting are fun hobbies for me.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

New Teams & Stanley Cup PART 8

In 1992 we enjoyed skating at a rink in Kansas City.

The 1992 Stanley Cup Final - Pittsburgh Penguins and the Chicago Blackhawks. After the Blackhawks jumped to an early 4-1 lead in Game 1, Mario Lemieux and the Penguins came back to win the game, sweep the series in four games, and win their second straight and second overall Stanley Cup.

A MILESTONE - In 1992 Manon Rheaume tried out for the Tampa Bay Lightning, and was signed as a free agent. This was the first time a woman tried out for an NHL team or signed a professional hockey contract. She played one period in an exhibition game against the St. Louis Blues, allowing two goals, and played in another exhibition game against the Boston Bruins in 1993.

Manon Rhéaume (born February 24, 1972) is a Canadian ice hockey goaltender. An Olympic silver medalist, she achieved a number of historic firsts during her career, including becoming the first and only woman ever to play in a National Hockey League exhibition game.

We saw Manon play one game for the Atlanta Knights.
A bonus that night was also seeing Brent Gretzky, Wayne's younger brother, also playing for the Knights.
Manon Rheaume - 1992

Brent Gretzky - Atlanta Knights

In 1992 Rhéaume signed a contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning of the NHL, appearing in preseason exhibition games in 1992 and 1993. She spent five years in professional minor leagues, playing for a total of seven teams and appearing in 24 games. She also played on the Canada women's national ice hockey team, winning Gold Medals at the IIHF Women's World Championship in 1992 and 1994, and the Silver Medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics. (from Wikipedia)

On February 27, 1996, Gretzky joined the St. Louis Blues.

I didn't get to see Gretzky play (LIVE) in a St. Louis Blues uniform.

On July 22, 1996 Gretzky signed with the New York Rangers as a free agent, rejoining longtime Oilers teammate Mark Messier.

Kansas Expocentre, Topeka KS
In 1997 the CHL committed itself to the goal of having a franchise in Topeka for the 1998-1999 season. I remember the Shawnee County commission (owner of the KS Expocentre) were negotiating with possible team owners over who would control operations. A grass roots group was formed to get “ice” equipment into the arena and show support of hockey coming to Topeka. Julie Mead and I were part of that campaign group. Julie and Mike Mead were cycling friends of ours and co-investors in Tailwinds Bike Shop. Mike also became the team dentist.

Julie and Mike Mead

In February of 1998, we traveled to Phoenix and our friends Gary and Riki took us to see the Phoenix Coyotes play the New York Rangers. I got to see Gretzky play in a NY Ranger Uniform.

Don and Ann at the Kansas Coliseum near Wichita - our first hockey home.

The Wichita Thunder were one of the first six original teams of the new Central Hockey League.

The Wichita Thunder are a minor league hockey team based in Wichita, Kansas. The team plays in the Central Hockey League. From 1992 until January 2010 the Thunder played in the Britt Brown Arena located in the northern Wichita suburb of Park City. In January 2010 (the second half of the 2009-10 season) the team began playing its home games at the newly built Intrust Bank Arena.

In the summer of 1998 we traveled to Toronto and visited the Hockey Hall of Fame now located in a former Bank of Montreal building in Downtown Toronto.

Hockey Hall of Fame on Yonge Street - where Judy does a U-Turn.

The 1993 Stanley Cup Final series was contested by the Los Angeles Kings and the Montreal Canadians. The Canadiens won the series 4-1. The 1993 Canadiens are also the last Stanley Cup championship team to be composed solely of North American-born players.

The 1994 Stanley Cup Final was a best-of-seven playoff series contested between the New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks. The Rangers ended their record 54-year championship drought with a victory in Game 7 to claim the long-awaited Stanley Cup.

The 1995 Stanley Cup Final series was contested by the New Jersey Devils and the Detroit Red Wings. The Devils swept the series four games to none to win their first Stanley Cup.

The 1996 Stanley Cup Final series was contested by two teams that had not existed three seasons before, the Colorado Avalanche and the Florida Panthers. The Avalanche won the Cup in a four game sweep to win the franchise's first Stanley Cup, in their first season in Denver since moving from Quebec City in 1995.

The 1997 Stanley Cup Final was contested by the Detroit Red Wings and the Philadelphia Flyers. Detroit won the series in four games to win the Stanley Cup for the eighth time in franchise history and the first time since 1955.

The 1998 Stanley Cup Final series was contested by the defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings and the Washington Capitals. It was the Capitals' first appearance in a Stanley Cup Final since the franchise's inception in 1974. The Red Wings won the series for the second year in a row, four games to none.

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