|League||American Hockey League|
|Home arena||Baltimore Arena|
|Affiliates||Mighty Ducks of Anaheim|
|1997–2005||Cincinnati Mighty Ducks|
The Baltimore Bandits were an ice hockey team in the American Hockey League in the 1995–96 and 1996–97 seasons. They played in Baltimore, Maryland, at the Baltimore Arena. The Bandits were an affiliate of the National Hockey League's Anaheim Ducks. After two years of minimal on-ice success, the franchise was moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, as the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks.
This market had been served by:
The Bandits were the third minor league hockey team to play in Baltimore. Their practice facility was in the suburban Columbia Ice Rink in Columbia, Maryland. The Bandits started play in 1995 with their first game being against their rival from the AHL South Division, the Carolina Monarchs, on October 6, 1995. The Bandits lost 1-3 at the Baltimore Arena with 7,293 in attendance.
The team was first owned by Bob Teck and Alan Gertner. During the first season, the team was plagued with rumors about the team being sold or folding. After continuing financial struggles that impacted the team in a range of ways including equipment availability, Teck and Gertner sold the Bandits to a group of local backers led by Michael A. Caggiano, the former owner of the what was the Prince William Cannons. At the time of the deal, Teck and Gertner owed $500,000 to the Ducks and $100,000 to the AHL. The AHL approved the purchase of the Bandits by Caggiano on March 13, 1996.
On the ice, the Bandits finished the 1995-1996 season with a 33-36 record. The team won their first series of the AHL playoffs against the Hershey Bears, 3 games to 2 with the final game a 4-3 overtime victory in Hershey. The second round ended in defeat for the Bandits to the Syracuse Crunch, 3 games to 4. The final game was a 4–3 loss in Baltimore. The average home attendance for the season was 3,601.
During the off-season, head coach Walt Kyle left the team to become an Assistant Coach with the Anaheim Ducks. He was replaced by Moe Mantha, with the Baltimore Bandits making the announcement on July 24, 1996.
The Bandits started the 1996-1997 season under new head coach Moe Mantha with a 3–5 loss to the Hershey Bears. By the sixth game, they were playing .500 hockey at 2-2-2, but the off-ice news of the previous season continued. This time it centered around developing a new arena in order to enable the team to stay in the Baltimore area. On October 1, 1996, Caggiano put forth an initial plan for the County Coliseum, a $42 million 10,000 seat arena to be built just south of Baltimore in Lansdowne, Maryland. Later that week, Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke announced plans for a $100 to $200 million arena near Camden Yards in the hopes of also attracting a National Basketball Association franchise. Given the possibility of this proposed arena, Baltimore County Executive Dutch Ruppersburger declined Caggiano's request to help finance the County Coliseum. While Caggiano continued to try to find financing the Coliseum, attendance for Bandits games dropped to second to last in the AHL. Additionally, the team was in debt $3.7 million. As the season ended, a group led by Cincinnati businessman Jerry Robinson purchased the team for $2 million. Caggiano estimates the Bandits lost $1 million during its time in Baltimore. He blames the failure of the team to take root on the lack of good infrastructure. Upon arrival in the its new location, the Baltimore Bandits were renamed the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks.
The Bandits completed the season with a losing record of 30-37. The team's last game in Baltimore was a 4–2 loss to the Philadelphia Phantoms during the first round of the AHL playoffs in front of 1,031 attendees. The final Bandit goal was by Igor Nikulin at the 19:21 mark of the third period. Philadelphia swept the Bandits 3–0.
Logo and uniforms
The logo of the Baltimore Bandits was a stylized raccoon developed by Disney Sports Enterprises. The Bandit was intended to resemble the Disney character Meeko. The Bandit uniforms were purple and black.
|1995–96||80||33||36||9||2||77||279||299||3rd, South||Walt Kyle|
|1996–97||80||30||37||10||3||73||251||285||4th, Mid-Atlantic||Moe Mantha|
|Season||1st round||2nd round||3rd round||Finals|
|1995–96||W, 3-2, Hershey||L, 3-4, Syracuse||—||—|
|1996–97||L, 0-3, Philadelphia||—||—||—|
- "FOR THE RECORD." The Washington Post, Aug 25, 1995.
- Jackman, Phil. "Rumors on Move, but Officials Say Bandits are Staying Put; Change in Ownership, Bankruptcy also Denied." The Sun, Feb 23, 1996, p. 11D.
- "Caggiano Eager to Kick-Start Bandits; Transfer Announced; AHL Approval Awaited."The Sun, Feb 29, 1996, p. 1D.
- Jackman, Phil. "Sale of Bandits to Caggiano OK'd." The Sun, Mar 14, 1996, p. 10D.
- Jackman, Phil. "Bandits Rallied, Put House in Order; New Owner Caggiano Key to Establishing Credibility." The Sun, May 18, 1996, p. 3B.
- LaCanfora, Jason. "Bandits tap Mantha as new head coach Ducks like his qualities as communicator, teacher". baltimoresun.com. Retrieved 2018-12-06.
- "Baltimore Bandits hockey team statistics and history at hockeydb.com". www.hockeydb.com. Retrieved 2018-12-03.
- Ronnie Greene and, Lisa R. "10,000-Capacity Coliseum Envisioned for Balto. Co.; Sports-Entertainment Facility Proposed by Hockey Team Owner." The Sun, Oct 01, 1996, p. 1A.
- Robert, Guy M. "City Plans Sports Arena; 20,000-Seat Center would be North of Camden Yards; `Big Project for Baltimore'; Complex would House Ice Hockey Team, Possibly NBA Club." The Sun, Oct 04, 1996, p. 1A.
- Greene, Ronnie. "Executive Won't Fund County Arena; Ruppersberger Fears Competition with City Facilities; Stand may Kill Project; Caggiano Remains Optimistic about Getting Financing." The Sun, Oct 12, 1996, p. 1B.
- Jackman, Phil. "Caggiano Now Pursuing ECHL Franchise for Area; Upper Marlboro Site Eyed; Future of Bandits Uncertain." The Sun, Jan 24, 1997, p. 5D.
- De Marco, Donna. "Bandits bills piling up, as owner tries to sell". www.bizjournals.com. Retrieved 2018-12-03.
- "Bandits, Hockey Leave Town; Cincinnati Buyers Sign with Anaheim; AHL Approves Deal." The Sun, May 02, 1997, p. 1D.
- Wyno, Stephen. "Hockey was on thin ice in Baltimore". The Washington Times. Retrieved 2018-12-03.
- "Bandits Succumb in Baltimore Finale, 4–2; Phantoms Finish Sweep before 1,031 at Arena." The Sun, Apr 24, 1997, p. 2D.
- Ey, Craig. "When is a racoon a bandit? When logo's at stake". www.bizjournals.com. Retrieved 2018-12-03.