Cleveland Barons (1937–73)

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For the 1976–1978 NHL team, see Cleveland Barons (NHL). For the more recent AHL team, see Cleveland Barons (2001–2006).
Cleveland Barons
Cleveland barons old ahl 200x200.png
City Cleveland, Ohio
League American Hockey League
Operated 1937–February 1973
Home arena Cleveland Arena
Colors Royal Blue & White
Franchise history
1929–1934 IHL Cleveland Indians
1934–1936 IHL:
1936–1937 AHL
Cleveland Falcons
1937–
February, 1973
Cleveland Barons
February, 1973
1973–74 season
Jacksonville Barons
Championships
Regular season titles eight (1937–38, 1943–44, 1944–45, 1946–47, 1947–48, 1949–50, 1950–51, 1952–53)
Division Championships ten (1937–38, 1940–41,
1943–44, 1944–45, 1946–47, 1947–48, 1949–50, 1950–51, 1952–53, 1961–62)
Calder Cups nine (1938–39, 1940–41,
1944–45, 1947–48, 1950–51, 1952–53, 1953–54, 1956–57, 1963–64)

The Cleveland Barons were a minor league professional ice hockey team in the American Hockey League. They played in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, at the Cleveland Arena. The most successful team in AHL history, the original incarnation of the Barons played in the AHL from 1937 to 1973. In that time, they won ten division titles and nine Calder Cups, which, although the team had been defunct for over three decades, remained a record until 2009, when the Hershey Bears won their 10th Calder Cup. In 1973, they relocated to Jacksonville, Florida, where they were known as the Jacksonville Barons; they lasted only through the 1973–1974 season before folding.

History[edit]

Barons alternate logo.

The team traces its roots back to the 1929–30 season of the International Hockey League, as the "Cleveland Indians." The Indians played for five seasons, until being renamed the Cleveland Falcons for the 1934–35 season. The Falcons played for three more years, when they became the Barons in 1937–38.

For many years, the team was owned by Al Sutphin, who was also an owner of the Braden-Sutphin Ink Company in Cleveland.[1] Sutphin, a true sportsman, was known to often pay better salaries than NHL teams at the time ('30s and '40s), and some players preferred to remain in "minor league" Cleveland instead of playing in the "major" NHL. Sutphin built the Cleveland Arena, at the time one of the largest and most beautiful hockey facilities in North America. It was rumored that the dormant Montreal Maroons franchise would be transferred to Cleveland but nothing came of it.[2]

Sutphin sold the team and arena in 1949. The Barons sought acceptance into the National Hockey League during the early 1950s, but purported financing irregularities caused the NHL to turn down the bid. The Barons then challenged the NHL for the right to play for the Stanley Cup, which was also rejected. During the '40s and '50s, the Barons played to standing-room-only audiences.

The preeminent star of the franchise was Fred Glover, the team's career leader in goals, assists, points, penalty minutes and seasons, (and second in league history in all those categories). Also notable was Hall of Famer goaltender Johnny Bower, who before he starred in the NHL played brilliantly for the Barons for nine seasons and is the AHL's career shutout leader. The longtime general manager for the franchise was James C. Hendy, a Hall of Fame Builder and the first prominent statistician in the history of the sport. Other notable players included Les Cunningham, a five-time league All-Star for whom the AHL's MVP award is named, Jack Gordon, Norm Beaudin, Bill Needham (the team's career leader in games played), Cal Stearns, Fred Thurier and Les Binkley.

In 1972, Barons owner Nick Mileti became the owner of a new team in the World Hockey Association (WHA), which had been founded as a second major league in competition with the NHL. The appearance of this new team, the Cleveland Crusaders, saw the market for the minor league product vanish almost overnight. The Barons could not compete with the WHA practice of hiring ex-NHL players whose contracts had expired, and consequently lost many fans. In addition, creation of the new "major league" drew much of the established talent away from the AHL. Mileti decided the teams could not co-exist, and moved the Barons mid-season in January 1973, to Jacksonville, Florida.[3] The Jacksonville Barons, as they were then known, played in the Jacksonville Coliseum, which had previously been home to the Jacksonville Rockets of the Eastern Hockey League. The Barons drew a crowd of 9,189 to their first game in the Jacksonville, but attendance declined afterward. They played one further season in Jacksonville before Mileti determined the franchise was not viable. Stating that he had lost around $1 million, he folded the team and sold it to a group in Syracuse, New York, thus ending the franchise's long and illustrious history.[3]

The team was replaced in this market by:

Team records[edit]

Single season
Goals: Lou Trudel, 45, 1945
Assists: Fred Glover, 69, 1960
Points: Glover, 107, 1960
Career
Career goals: Glover, 410
Career assists: Glover, 695
Career points: Glover, 1105
Career penalty minutes: Glover, 2164
Career goaltending Wins: Johnny Bower, 284
Career shutouts: Bower, 38
Career games: Bill Needham, 981

Season-by-season results[edit]

Regular season[edit]

Season Games Won Lost Tied Points Goals
for
Goals
against
Standing
1929–30 42 24 9 9 57 125 78 1st, IHL
1930–31 48 24 18 6 54 131 112 3rd, IHL
1931–32 48 15 25 8 38 110 142 7th, IHL
1932–33 42 10 27 5 25 100 147 6th, IHL
1933–34 44 16 24 4 36 104 121 6th, IHL
1934–35 44 20 23 1 40 115 132 4th, IHL
1935–36 48 25 19 4 54 149 146 2nd, West
1936–37 48 13 27 8 34 113 152 3rd, West
1937–38 48 25 12 11 61 126 114 1st, West
1938–39 54 23 22 9 55 145 138 3rd, West
1939–40 56 24 24 8 56 127 130 4th, West
1940–41 56 26 21 9 61 177 162 1st, West
1941–42 56 33 19 4 70 174 152 3rd, West
1942–43 56 21 29 6 48 190 196 4th, West
1943–44 54 33 14 7 73 224 176 1st, West
1944–45 60 34 10 16 78 256 199 1st, West
1945–46 62 28 26 8 64 269 254 3rd, West
1946–47 64 38 18 8 84 272 215 1st, West
1947–48 68 43 13 12 98 332 197 1st, West
1948–49 68 41 21 6 88 286 251 3rd, West
1949–50 70 45 15 10 100 357 230 1st, West
1950–51 71 44 22 5 93 281 221 1st, West
1951–52 68 44 19 5 93 265 166 2nd, West
1952–53 64 42 20 2 86 248 164 1st, AHL
1953–54 70 38 32 0 76 269 227 3rd, AHL
1954–55 64 32 29 3 67 254 222 2nd, AHL
1955–56 64 26 31 7 59 225 231 4th, AHL
1956–57 64 35 26 3 73 249 210 2nd, AHL
1957–58 70 39 28 3 81 232 163 2nd, AHL
1958–59 70 37 30 3 77 261 252 2nd, AHL
1959–60 72 34 30 8 76 267 229 4th, AHL
1960–61 72 36 35 1 73 231 234 3rd, AHL
1961–62 70 39 28 3 81 255 203 1st, West
1962–63 72 31 34 7 69 270 253 2nd, West
1963–64 72 37 30 5 79 239 207 3rd, West
1964–65 72 24 43 5 53 228 285 4th, West
1965–66 72 38 32 2 78 243 217 2nd, West
1966–67 72 36 27 9 81 284 230 3rd, West
1967–68 72 28 30 14 70 236 255 4th, West
1968–69 74 30 32 12 72 213 245 2nd, West
1969–70 72 23 33 16 62 222 255 4th, West
1970–71 72 39 26 7 85 272 208 2nd, West
1971–72 76 32 34 10 74 269 263 4th, West
1972–73 76 23 44 9 55 251 329 5th, West
1973–74 76 24 44 8 56 244 334 5th, South

Playoffs[edit]

Season 1st round 2nd round Finals
1929–30 W, 2–0, London W, 3–1, Buffalo
1930–31 3rd place in double round robin.
1931–32 Out of playoffs
1932–33 Out of playoffs
1933–34 Out of playoffs
1934–35 L, 0–2, London
1935–36 L, 1–3, Buffalo
1936–37 Data unavailable
1937–38 Data unavailable
1938–39 ?? ?? W, 3–1, Philadelphia
1939–40 Out of playoffs
1940–41 W, 3–1, Providence bye W, 3–2, Hershey
1941–42 W, 2–0, Washington L, 1–2, Hershey
1942–43 W, 2–0, Providence L, 0–2, Indianapolis
1943–44 W, 4–3, Hershey L, 0–4, Buffalo
1944–45 W, 4–2, Buffalo W, 4–2, Hershey
1945–46 W, 2–0, Providence W, 2–1, Pittsburgh L, 3–4, Buffalo
1946–47 L, 0–4, Hershey
1947–48 W, 4–1, Providence bye W, 4–0, Buffalo
1948–49 W, 2–1, Springfield L, 0–2, Hershey
1949–50 W, 4–1, Buffalo bye L, 0–4, Indianapolis
1950–51 W, 4–0, Buffalo bye W, 4–3, Pittsburgh
1951–52 L, 2–3, Providence
1952–53 W, 3–1, Syracuse W, 4–3, Pittsburgh
1953–54 W, 3–0, Buffalo W, 4–2, Hershey
1954–55 L, 1–3, Buffalo
1955–56 W, 3–1, Pittsburgh L, 0–4, Providence
1956–57 W, 4–3, Hershey W, 4–1, Rochester
1957–58 L, 3–4, Springfield
1958–59 L, 3–4, Hershey
1959–60 L, 3–4, Rochester
1960–61 L, 0–4, Springfield
1961–62 L, 2–4, Springfield
1962–63 W, 2–0, Rochester L, 2–3, Hershey
1963–64 W, 2–0, Rochester W, 3–0, Hershey W, 4–0, Quebec
1964–65 Out of playoffs
1965–66 W, 3–0, Pittsburgh W, 3–0, Springfield L, 2–4, Rochester
1966–67 L, 2–3, Rochester
1967–68 Out of playoffs
1968–69 L, 2–3, Quebec
1969–70 Out of playoffs
1970–71 W, 3–1, Hershey L, 1–3, Springfield
1971–72 L, 2–4, Baltimore
1972–73 Out of playoffs
1973–74 Out of playoffs

References[edit]

  1. ^ George Condon (1995). "Chapter 7, Sutphin's Surprise". The Man in the Arena: The Life and Times of A.C. Sutphin. The A.C. Sutphin Foundation. pp. 51–67. ISBN 0-9649900-1-6. 
  2. ^ Condon, op.cit. p.75-77
  3. ^ a b Basch, Mark (November 8, 2004). "Hockey's future a lot brighter in Jacksonville". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved December 16, 2010. 

External links[edit]