The Most Insignificant Franchise in Buffalo History: Buffalo Stampede/ Buffalo Wings

By Jon

Today marks the first of a series of posts in an effort to find The Most Insignificant Franchise in Buffalo History. Any current or former sporting franchises from the WNY area will be considered. A poll will be posted by the end of the week, and the franchise receiving the most votes will be deemed Most Insignificant.

Today’s nominee comes from sabresfan88 and Brian S.: the Buffalo Stampede and Buffalo Wings (I decided to lump them together, because they were essentially the same team.)

Buffalo Stampede
Buffalo Wings

What? The Stampede, Cobras, and Wings were all Roller Hockey International franchises, a major professional Roller Hockey league in the 90’s. The Wings played their 1998 season in Major League Roller Hockey, however.

When? The Stampede was in existence from 1994-95. The team left for Glens Falls after an ownership change for a year, and returned as the Buffalo Wings until 1999.

Where? The Stampede played at the Aud from 94-95, and the Wings played at (then) Marine Midland Arena for the 1997 season. The Wings played their final two (professional) seasons at Buff State’s ice arena.

Why? According to the always trusty Wikipedia, “Roller Hockey International hoped to capitalize on the inline skating boom of the early 1990’s, but lost steam as the fad died down.” Also, with Buffalo being the hockey town that it is, it was just a matter of time before someone tried to capitalize with a team that played over the summer.

The story: The Buffalo Stampede played for two seasons. In 1994, the team won the Murphy Cup, RHI’s top prize. After the 1995 season ended, the team folded. A franchise in Pheonix, the Cobras, relocated to Glens Falls, NY, and took on all of the Stampede player contracts. The Cobras then returned to Buffalo in 1997, changing their name to the Wings.

Overall Record in Buffalo:

Stampede: 45 Games Played; 25 Wins; 16 Losses; 4 Overtime Losses; 54 Points; 1 Championship

Wings: 70 Games Played; 30 Wins; 39 Losses; 1 Overtime Loss; 61 Points; Never past the Quarterfinals

Why the Stampede/Wings should be the Most Insignificant Franchise: Professional Roller Hockey has become completely forgotten in the world of sports. Most people would be shocked to know that a pro roller hockey league that played in many NHL venues even existed.

Why the Stampede/Wings should not be the Most Insignificant Franchise: The Wings have maintained a presence in the WNY area with arguably the best amateur roller hockey league in the area, even counting Tommy McCollum as an alumni.

Feel free to woo us with memories of the Stampede and Wings in the comments.


  1. Ryan

    As I said in the earlier comments, I have a set of Pogs from the Buffalo Stampede. When I get home, I will post a picture of it. It’s pretty intense.

  2. sabresfan88

    I wish I wasn’t like ten years old when I was a Wings fan so I could remember something.

    I do remember seeing a game at Buff State and thinking it was awesome that someone I was related to (kind of, almost…uncle of my cousins)(at least I knew him, I guess) playing.

    I also remember free stickers. Aside from that, I’ve got nothin’.

  3. brian s.

    I don’t remember if it was a Buffalo game, but once when I was watching on ESPN2 with my dad, there was a profanity laced tirade from a coach at the official which went over the air as though there was a microphone in the bench. It was awesome to a 14 or 15 year old. That’s the only roller hockey memory I have and it may not even be relevant (kind of like these teams).

  4. Jon

    The question remains…

    Why the hell have you hung on to Buffalo Stampede pogs?

  5. Ryan

    I haven’t opened them to maintain their collectability.

  6. dani

    Jon, don’t hate. I too have Buffalo Stampede pogs. Somewhere. I must look for them and report back on my findings. I remember asking who the “Buffalo Stampede” were. I believe they were also free pogs.

  7. ElmaGolf

    No way can you have one of Buffalo’s Championship Franchises wear that label (give it to the Wings if you want, but the Stampede have immortality).

    Mark Major, Nick Vitucci, Jon Vecchiarelli – names I haven’t seen in over a decade but still come back to me as I fondly recollect their Championship Game at the Aud (they even needed to open up the Oranges for that game). If I recall, they fell into a pretty deep hole in that game, fought back, had an apparent goal disallowed, but survived a final flurry to capture the Championship. I didn’t care that it wasn’t a major sport – those fans shared a pretty great experience that night. I think I still have the game on tape – right next to my 1993 Bandits Championship Tape (Alexander ties it up with a behind-the-neck shot and Darris Kilgour scores the winner from the left “faceoff circle”).

    Heck, I even remember the quirky offside rule for Roller Hockey (can “skate it in” with a teammate offsides, but not “pass it in”).

    Does anyone else remember the game where one of the vistor’s equipment managers bounced one of the Stampede’s player’s faces on the boards when he fell into the bench area? I think they had the police arrest him right there for assault.