Suncoast Suns

Suncoast Suns
Suncoast suns logo.JPG
City St. Petersburg, Florida
League EHL (1971–73)
SHL (1973)
Operated 1971–1973
Home arena Bayfront Center
Colors Green, white, orange, yellow
                   
Affiliates Los Angeles Kings (1972–73)
Minnesota Fighting Saints (1973)
New England Whalers (1973)
Franchise history
1971–72 St. Petersburg Suns
1972–73 Suncoast Suns

The Suncoast Suns were a minor league professional ice hockey team based in St. Petersburg, Florida, and played home games at the Bayfront Center. The Suns began in the Eastern Hockey League in 1971, and were known as the St. Petersburg Suns for the first season.[1] The team adopted the Suncoast Suns name in 1972, and was a founding member of the Southern Hockey League in 1973.[2] The Suns ceased operations in December 1973, partway through its third season.

History

The Suns franchise was started by a group of businessmen who wanted a team in the Raleigh, North Carolina area, but chose Saint Petersburg instead due to a suitable arena.[3][4] The Suns became the first permanent professional hockey team in the Florida Suncoast area. Lloyd Hinchberger was the team's coach in the first two seasons.[1]

In the 1971–72 season, the Suns won 27 games in the regular season, finished fourth place in the southern division, and lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Charlotte Checkers in six games.[4] [5] The Charlotte Observer named team captain Gregg Pilling as the player of the year, and Hinchberger as coach of the year. Goaltender Billy Yeo was named a first team all-star.[4] [6]

The Suns affiliated with the Los Angeles Kings for the 1972–73 season.[7] The Suns won 30 games in the regular season, finished third place in the southern division, and lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Roanoke Valley Rebels in five games.[8]

In May 1973, the Suns and other southern division teams withdrew from the Eastern Hockey League and founded the Southern Hockey League, due to travel costs of going to northern arenas, and other regulations such as dressing only 14 players for games.[9] Team ownership changed to a local group led by Steve Kirby and Charles Mackey, who hired Paul Caron was hired as general manager, and Larry Kish as the club's new coach.[3] The Suns affiliated with the Minnesota Fighting Saints and the New England Whalers for the 1973–74 Southern Hockey League season.[10] The Suns were experiencing financial issues, declining attendance, and some of the team's owners preferred to lure the Jersey Knights to town instead of the SHL team.[4] The Suns ceased operations 31 games into the 72-game schedule, and folded on December 19, 1973.[9]

Notable players

Notable Suns players that also played in the National Hockey League or World Hockey Association:[11][12]

Results

Season-by-season results:[1][2]

Season Lge GP W L T Pts Pct GF GA PIM Standing Playoffs
1971–72 EHL 73 27 34 12 66 0.452 248 291 1161 4th, Southern Lost in round 1
1972–73 EHL 76 30 37 9 69 0.454 301 365 1272 3rd, Southern Lost in round 1
1973–74 SHL 31 9 22 0 18 0.290 123 176 502 6th, SHL Folded
TOTALS 180 66 93 21 153 0.425 672 832 2935  

References

  1. ^ a b c "Suncoast Suns hockey team [EHL] statistics and history". hockeydb.com. Retrieved 2018-02-03.
  2. ^ a b "Suncoast Suns hockey team [SHL] statistics and history". hockeydb.com. Retrieved 2018-02-03.
  3. ^ a b "SUNS HISTORY". suncoastsuns.com. Retrieved 2018-02-03.
  4. ^ a b c d Little, Todd (2013-07-30). "A look back at the Suncoast Suns". Florida Hockey History. Retrieved 2018-04-04.
  5. ^ Telaar, Tom (2014). "EHL Scores and Standings 1971–72". TheEHL.com. Retrieved 2018-02-03.
  6. ^ Telaar, Tom (2014). "EHL All Star Teams and Awards". TheEHL.com. Retrieved 2018-02-03.
  7. ^ "Suncoast Suns [EHL] Parent Team affiliate history". hockeydb.com. Retrieved 2018-02-03.
  8. ^ Telaar, Tom (2014). "EHL Scores and Standings 1972–73". TheEHL.com. Retrieved 2018-02-03.
  9. ^ a b "Southern Hockey League [1973-1977] history and statistics". hockeydb.com. Retrieved 2018-02-03.
  10. ^ "Suncoast Suns [SHL] Parent Team affiliate history". hockeydb.com. Retrieved 2018-02-03.
  11. ^ "Suncoast Suns [EHL] all-time player list". hockeydb.com. Retrieved 2018-02-03.
  12. ^ "Suncoast Suns [SHL] all-time player list". hockeydb.com. Retrieved 2018-02-03.

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