Fresno Falcons

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Fresno Falcons
Falcons-old.jpg
City Fresno, California
League Pacific Coast Hockey League (1946 - 1950)
Pacific Coast Senior League (1952 - 1953)
Cal-Neva Hockey League (1968-71)
Pacific Southwest Hockey League (1971 - 1995)
Sunshine Hockey League (1994 - 1995)
West Coast Hockey League (1995 - 2003)
ECHL (2003 - 2008)
Home arena Selland Arena, Save Mart Center

The Fresno Falcons are a defunct minor league hockey team. They were charter members of several long standing leagues in the western United States including the Pacific Southwest Hockey League and the West Coast Hockey League. In their final years, they were members of the ECHL (formerly East Coast Hockey League). They were located in Fresno, California.

Early history[edit]

The Fresno Hockey Club, originally known as the Flyers, was founded in 1946 as a charter member of the Pacific Coast Hockey League, where they played until the league folded in 1950.

The team picked up in 1952 for a season in the Pacific Coast Senior League. Following just one season, hockey was dormant in Fresno until 1968, when the Fresno Aces were introduced for a season in the short-lived Cal-Neva Hockey League.

Cal-Neva was a loosely-linked group of professional and semi-pro teams from around the West Coast. The league lacked structure, and played games for a selection of regional championships rather than a league championship. In the 1970-71 season, the Las Vegas Gamblers club was expelled from the league, following numerous rules violations. The Gamblers were in first place at the time, and all records of games involving them were voided. The league was dissolved following the 1970-71 season, as league commissioners cited the need for more structure, and without a Nevada team, a need for a new name.

During the 1968-69 season, Fresno's team was officially known as the Fresno Aces. For 1969-70, the name was changed back to the Fresno Falcons.

Playing in the PSHL[edit]

The Pacific Southwest Hockey League was founded in 1971 following the dissolution of the Cal-Neva Hockey League. and the Falcons were one of the league's staples, as the only franchise in the league that was present from its beginning, throughout to the 1995-96 merger that formed the West Coast Hockey League.

The Falcons were the PSHL's signature franchise largely due to convenience and the availability of a then-relatively new showcase arena, Selland Arena in Fresno's Convention Center. At times throughout the league's history, some games even if not involving the Falcons were held at Selland Arena, including several Championship Finals series throughout the 1970s.

A PSHL season ranged from 15 to 30 games each between anywhere from 4 to 8 teams. Franchises shifted frequently, often with new teams appearing the next season from the same cities. The mainstays of the league were the Falcons, the Los Angeles Bruins and later in the league's history, the Burbank or Los Angeles Jets and the West Covina or California Blackhawks (later just Hawks).

Falcons games were often paired with side attractions when it came to teams' marketing, including broomball and Roller Derby.

Joining the WCHL/merging with the ECHL[edit]

Following an experimental partnership with the Sunshine Hockey League in 1994-95, The Falcons became a charter member of the professional West Coast Hockey League to begin the 1995-96 season. The team was a member throughout the league's eight-year existence. During the 1997-98 season they were known as Fresno's Fighting Falcons. Fresno won the league's Taylor Cup championship for the 2001-02 season, defeating the San Diego Gulls in the finals.

Along with other active WCHL teams, the Falcons joined the ECHL after the West Coast Hockey League was absorbed by the larger league in 2003.

ECHL Parent Teams[edit]

Primary Parent Teams (AHL)[1]
2004-2006 Cleveland Barons
2006-2008 Worcester Sharks
2008-2009 Rockford IceHogs


Secondary Parent Teams (NHL)
2004-2008 San Jose Sharks
2008-2009 Chicago Blackhawks

Arenas[edit]

For most of its history, the team played at Fresno's Selland Arena, and their green and gold colors and hard-knocks play made them a staple of sports and entertainment in Fresno. The Falcons were the centerpieces of the league, as the Falcons dominated, winning sixteen league championships in 24 seasons.

The Falcons moved to the Save Mart Center on the campus of California State University, Fresno to coincide with their transfer to the ECHL in 2003. They played there until returning to Selland Arena in 2008

Financial troubles and franchise's end[edit]

On December 22, 2008, Fresno Hockey Club, LLC announced that the Fresno Falcons team would cease operations immediately citing operating cost due to dwindling attendance, lack of corporate sponsorships and the faltering economy.

President Dave Dakers of the Victoria Salmon Kings ECHL team expressed some negative commentary on the Falcons team management abilities, but praised the team itself as being "competitive". The owners did not do all they could to salvage the situation and gave up too easily as there were still other options available to minimize the economic damage. He was rather disappointed and not too pleased, in the Victoria Times Colonist newspaper article. [1]

The Falcons were the second team that season to fold, following the Augusta Lynx. Arguments were made that the ECHL had expanded into markets that were unable to sustain their market, though the perception in Fresno's case was that the franchise had issues beyond that which prevented the team from being profitable. Fresno was without hockey at any level until the Fresno Monsters began play in the 2009/2010, The Monsters were announced in Spring 2009, filling a void for hockey in Fresno after the Falcons folded. The team began play in mid-September 2009, playing in the Tier III Jr. A Western States Hockey League. The franchise now plays in the Tier II Jr. North American Hockey League, while continuing to field a Tier III Team.

Season-by-season record[edit]

Season League Division GP W L T OTL SOL PTS PCT GF GA PIM Coach(es) Result
1968-69 Cal-Neva CA-NV 12 7 5 0 - - 14 0.583 n/a n/a n/a Stuart Beaulne San Joaquin Valley Champions
1969-70 Cal-Neva CA-NV 20 8 11 1 - - 17 0.425 n/a n/a n/a Lorne Nadeau Did Not Qualify
1970-71 Cal-Neva CA-NV 13 10 1 2 - - 22 0.846 n/a n/a n/a Lorne Nadeau Cal-Neva Hockey League Champions
1971-72 PSHL PSHL - - - - - - - - n/a n/a n/a Lorne Nadeau Lost in PSHL Finals to West Covina Eagles
1972-73 PSHL PSHL 15 12 2 1 - - 25 0.833 n/a n/a n/a Lorne Nadeau PSHL Champions
1973-74 PSHL PSHL 18 13 2 3 - - 29 0.806 n/a n/a n/a Lorne Nadeau PSHL Champions
1974-75 PSHL PSHL 18 14 2 2 - - 30 0.833 n/a n/a n/a Lorne Nadeau PSHL Champions
1975-76 PSHL PSHL 18 14 1 3 - - 31 0.861 n/a n/a n/a Lorne Nadeau PSHL Champions
1976-77 PSHL PSHL 22 8 11 3 - - 19 0.432 n/a n/a n/a Lorne Nadeau Did Not Qualify
1977-78 PSHL PSHL 20 13 5 2 - - 28 0.700 n/a n/a n/a Lorne Nadeau PSHL Champions
1978-79 PSHL PSHL 18 12 3 3 - - 30 0.750 n/a n/a n/a Lorne Nadeau Lost in PSHL Finals to Los Angeles Bruins
1979-80 PSHL PSHL 18 11 5 2 - - 24 0.667 n/a n/a n/a Lorne Nadeau PSHL Champions
1980-81 PSHL PSHL 18 11 6 1 - - 23 0.639 n/a n/a n/a Lorne Nadeau Lost in PSHL Finals to Los Angeles Bruins
1981-82 PSHL PSHL 18 16 2 0 - - 32 0.889 n/a n/a n/a Lorne Nadeau Lost in PSHL Finals to Los Angeles Bruins
1982-83 PSHL PSHL 18 14 3 1 - - 29 0.806 n/a n/a n/a Lorne Nadeau Lost in PSHL Finals to Los Angeles Bruins
1983-84 PSHL PSHL - - - - - - - - n/a n/a n/a Darryl Lauer
1984-85 PSHL PSHL 18 10 7 1 - - 21 0.583 n/a n/a n/a Darryl Lauer Lost in PSHL Finals to Los Angeles Bruins
1985-86 PSHL PSHL - - - - - - - - n/a n/a n/a Darryl Lauer
1986-87 PSHL PSHL - - - - - - - - n/a n/a n/a Darryl Lauer
1987-88 PSHL PSHL - - - - - - - - n/a n/a n/a Darryl Lauer
1988-89 PSHL PSHL - - - - - - - - n/a n/a n/a Darryl Lauer
1989-90 PSHL PSHL - - - - - - - - n/a n/a n/a Darryl Lauer
1990-91 PSHL PSHL - - - - - - - - n/a n/a n/a Darryl Lauer
1991-92 PSHL PSHL - - - - - - - - n/a n/a n/a Darryl Lauer
1992-93 PSHL PSHL - - - - - - - - n/a n/a n/a Darryl Lauer
1993-94 PSHL PSHL - - - - - - - - n/a n/a n/a John Olver PSHL Champions
1994-95 PSHL PSHL - - - - - - - - n/a n/a n/a John Olver
1995-96 WCHL WCHL 58 30 21 0 7 0 67 0.578 270 232 1454 John Olver Lost in Finals
1996-97 WCHL WCHL 64 38 20 0 6 0 82 0.641 313 254 1851 Guy Gadowsky Lost in Round 1
1997-98 WCHL WCHLS 64 33 29 0 2 0 68 0.531 273 262 2018 Guy Gadowsky Lost in Round 1
1998-99 WCHL WCHLS 70 35 31 0 4 0 74 0.529 257 296 2172 Guy Gadowsky Lost in Round 2
1999-00 WCHL WCHLS 72 27 38 0 7 0 61 0.424 262 307 2181 Blaine Moore Did Not Qualify
2000-01 WCHL WCHLS 72 44 22 6 0 0 94 0.653 259 221 1746 Blaine Moore Lost in Round 1
2001-02 WCHL WCHLS 72 33 31 0 8 0 74 0.514 242 267 2108 Blaine Moore WCHL Taylor Cup Champions
2002-03 WCHL WCHL 72 35 28 0 9 0 79 0.549 243 235 2170 Blaine Moore Lost in Finals
2003-04 ECHL Pacific 72 23 43 6 0 0 52 0.361 187 275 1815 Blaine Moore, Greg Spenrath Did Not Qualify
2004-05 ECHL West 72 39 25 8 0 0 86 0.597 204 217 1800 Greg Spenrath Did Not Qualify
2005-06 ECHL Pacific 72 43 15 14 0 0 100 0.694 230 205 1572 Matt Thomas Lost in National Conference Finals (Alaska)
2006-07 ECHL Pacific 72 34 29 9 0 0 77 0.535 195 197 1555 Matt Thomas Lost in Round 1 (Bakersfield)
2007-08 ECHL Pacific 72 42 22 4 4 0 92 0.639 242 216 1565 Matt Thomas Lost in Round 1 (Utah)
2008-09 ECHL Pacific 30 18 10 0 2 0 38 0.633 n/a n/a n/a Matt Thomas Team suspends operations
Totals 1198 647 429 72 49 0 1418 0.591 3177 3184 24007

Logos[edit]

Championships[edit]

1968-69 San Joaquin Valley Champions

1970-71 Cal-Neva Hockey League Champions

1972-73 PSHL Champions

1973-74 PSHL Champions

1974-75 PSHL Champions

1975-76 PSHL Champions

1977-78 PSHL Champions

1979-80 PSHL Champions

1983-84 PSHL Champions

1993-94 PSHL Champions

2001-02 Taylor Cup Champions (WCHL)

2005-06 Pacific Division Champions (ECHL)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Fresno Falcom Parent Teams." HockeyDB.com Accessed 25 April 2014.