Nashville Dixie Flyers
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The Nashville Dixie Flyers were a professional minor league ice hockey team in Nashville, Tennessee. They played in the Eastern Hockey League from 1962 until the franchise folded in 1971. Their home games were held at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium.
|1962–63||EHL||68||16||48||4||Lost first round|
|1963–64||EHL||72||37||31||4||Lost first round|
|1967–68||EHL||72||42||23||7||Lost first round|
|1969–70||EHL||74||27||38||9||Did not qualify|
|1970–71||EHL||74||26||43||5||Lost first round|
Much of the Dixie Flyers' best hockey was during the NHL's "Original Six" era. This was because of the very limited ability of talented players to move up from the minor leagues. Since there were only six teams with twenty-man active rosters, at any given time there were only 120 active NHL players. Because of this, very talented players spent many years, perhaps all of a fifteen- or even twenty-year career in the minors, which is not at all common today. The Flyers had several such players, including Lloyd Hinchberger, a player-coach who almost never scored but still got his share of penalty minutes; Flo Pilote, one of the first French-Canadians ever to become prominent in the Nashville community, who for many years after the demise of the Flyers operated a tavern in the Hermitage community called "The Penalty Box," Ted McCaskill, who was called up to the NHL after expansion and was a crafty, high-scoring forward, and goaltender Marv Edwards, also called up after expansion, who as a Flyer once had 15 shutouts in one season. (McCaskill's son Kirk was a long-time Major League Baseball pitcher.) Other unforgettable Flyers included Wally Sprange, Wayne Clairmont, George Standing, Norm Rider, and Joe Zorica. The first Captain was Ken "Red" Murphy, whose aggressive and scrappy style of play made him a fan favorite.
Playing and living conditions were often brutal in the EHL during the Flyers' existence. At times they rode, as did most EHL teams of the era, to away games on a bus that was not a retired or converted Greyhound or Trailways bus but rather a former school bus. In the years 1965 to 1968 they rode a Trailways bus driven by Bill "The Roadrunner" Hightower. The Flyers' purple-and-gold sweaters were perhaps things of beauty, but looked far more like those for a Junior or Senior team than those of a professional squad, at least during the early years. The ice sheet at the Municipal Auditorium was undersized, but not nearly as much as the one at the Civic Coliseum in Knoxville which was genuinely minuscule and must have reminded the players, all of whom were of Canadian extraction, of playing on the frozen ponds of their boyhoods.