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.
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.