San Francisco Spiders

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San Francisco Spiders
San Francisco Spiders logo.svg
City San Francisco, California
League IHL
Division South Division
Founded 1995
Operated 1995–96
Home arena Cow Palace
Colors

Black, red, and silver

              
Owner(s) Dave Pasant
General manager Jean Perron
Head coach Jean Perron
Media SportsChannel Bay Area
Affiliates Independent
Franchise history
1995–1996 San Francisco Spiders
Championships
Regular season titles None
Division Championships None
Conference Championships None
Turner Cups None

The San Francisco Spiders were a professional ice hockey team based in Daly City, California. They were members of the South Division of the former International Hockey League (IHL). Playing at the Cow Palace, the Spiders competed for one season, folding at the close of the 1995–96 IHL season.

History[edit]

On November 22, 1994, the IHL announced an expansion franchise had been awarded to the Bay Area to begin play for the 1995-96 season at the Cow Palace.[1] The former president and chief executive officer of the Jackson National Life Insurance Company Dave Pasant was the owner and paid the $6 million franchise fee to the IHL in becoming the league's 18th team.[1] By December, the Spiders nickname and logo were unveiled.[2] Spiders was selected over Seals, Quakes, Fog and Rush and at the time of its establishment was the lone professional sports team with the Spiders nickname.[2] Jean Perron served as both the general manager and head coach and was assisted by Bruce Boudreau who later became the head coach of the Washington Capitals and Anaheim Ducks.[3] The inaugural game was a 5-1 loss to the Los Angeles Ice Dogs before 11,415 fans on September 29, 1995.[4]

For the one season, the Spiders roster took on a familiar look to the Cow Palace's previous hockey tenant, the San Jose Sharks. Dale Craigwell, Link Gaetz, Robin Bawa, Steve Stein, David Maley, Ed Courtenay and Mike Lalor all played for the IHL expansion team.[3] The most notable NHL player who played briefly for the Spiders was Sandis Ozolinsh. Ozolinsh, who was holding out for a new contract from the Sharks, played two games with the Spiders.[5] He scored one goal, the first goal in team history, shortly before the NHL's San Jose Sharks traded him to the Colorado Avalanche.[5]

The team finished in third place in the South division, winning 40 games and losing only 32. The Spiders lost 3–1 in the first round of the playoffs to the Chicago Wolves. Goalie Stephane Beauregard won the James Gatschene Memorial Trophy as league MVP for the season.

The Spiders' mascot, S.F. Spidey, was widely known as "the hardest working mascot in sports." S.F. Spidey was often lowered from the arena rafters by a rope, once being unable to free himself and covering by dancing in place until arena staff freed him. [4]

Poor attendance and difficulties with the arena caused the team to suspend operations. On weekends, attendance tended to be respectable, around the 7–8,000 mark, but on weekdays, the Spiders often struggled to draw more than 2,500 in averaging 5,024 fans for each home game.[6] The team filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May 1996 in citing losses of $6 million for the season, and would officially cease operations on June 24, 1996.[6] Most of the players were traded away to other IHL teams for "future considerations." The Kansas City Blades received eight players from the Spiders. The team was scheduled to move to Victoria, British Columbia in 2000, but this move never happened due to failure to replace the aging Victoria Memorial Arena.[7]

Season-by-season results[edit]

Last five seasons: Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, OTL = Overtime Losses, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes

Season GP W L OTL Pts GF GA PIM Finish Playoffs
1995-96 82 40 32 10 90 278 283 1,835 3rd, South Lost in Round 1, 1–4 (Wolves)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Cooper, Tony (November 23, 1994). "San Francisco gets IHL team". The San Francisco Chronicle. p. E1. 
  2. ^ a b Cooper, Tony (December 15, 1994). "Beware the S.F. Spiders - IHL expansion team unveils name, logo and attitude". The San Francisco Chronicle. p. D3. 
  3. ^ a b Cooper, Tony (August 30, 1995). "Along came the Spiders". The San Francisco Chronicle. p. D1. 
  4. ^ a b Cooper, Tony (September 30, 1995). "A grand debut for Spiders". The San Francisco Chronicle. p. B1. 
  5. ^ a b Cooper, Tony (October 5, 1995). "Ozolinsh signs 3-year contract with Sharks". The San Francisco Chronicle. p. B1. 
  6. ^ a b Cooper, Tony (June 25, 1996). "Spiders quit SF after one year". The San Francisco Chronicle. p. B3. 
  7. ^ Staff Reporters (October 11, 2006). "VSEA suit dismissed". Victoria News.