Miami Screaming Eagles
|Miami Screaming Eagles|
|1972||Miami Screaming Eagles|
The Miami Screaming Eagles were a professional ice hockey team that had intended to play in Miami. The Eagles were members of the World Hockey Association and were intended to be a charter member of that league, but never played a game in Miami due to the only available arena being unfit for use.
The Screaming Eagles franchise was the second attempt at a professional hockey team for the South Florida market. The first came two years prior; Seymour H. Knox III, Northrup R. Knox and Robert O. Swados, the owners of the Buffalo Sabres, were awarded an American Hockey League franchise in 1970. The Knox-Swados consortium intended on placing their AHL team in South Florida; the AHL refused to allow a team to play in a market that distant (the AHL had no teams south of Virginia at the time). The proposed team was instead placed in Cincinnati, Ohio and named the Cincinnati Swords.
Businessman Herb Martin bought a franchise in the WHA in 1972. The Eagles made a splash immediately by signing Bernie Parent from the Toronto Maple Leafs -- the first National Hockey League star inked by the rebel league -- and Boston Bruins standout Derek Sanderson.
However, lack of a suitable arena in South Florida proved to be a problem. Martin originally wanted to build his own arena, but construction was halted when Dade County officials reviewed the blueprints and determined there wasn't enough parking; county zoning regulations of the time required one parking space for every four seats in a sporting facility. The next most likely home arena for the Eagles had they chosen to stay in South Florida would have been the then-new Hollywood Sportatorium, which had been constructed to attract a professional hockey or basketball team to the area. Martin, however, felt the arena was unsuitable even for temporary use; it had no air conditioning or permanent seats, and the roof was partially open. Unable to find a solution to the arena problem, the team moved to Philadelphia as the Blazers before playing a single game. After one season, the franchise was moved to Vancouver and then to Calgary in 1975 before folding in 1977.
Although they never iced a team, replicas of the projected Screaming Eagles jersey continue to sell along with those of actual WHA teams.
- Unofficial Home of the Philadelphia Blazers
- Philadelphia Blazers History
- NHL.com article about the Philadelphia Blazers