St. Catharines Saints
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|St. Catharines Saints|
|City||St. Catharines, Ontario|
|League||American Hockey League|
|Home arena||Garden City Arena|
|Colours||Blue and White|
|Owner(s)||Maple Leaf Gardens Limited|
|Affiliates||Toronto Maple Leafs|
|1978–1982||New Brunswick Hawks|
|1982–1986||St. Catharines Saints|
|1991–2005||St. John's Maple Leafs|
The Moncton-based New Brunswick Hawks had been established in 1978 as members of the American Hockey League (AHL), and were jointly operated by the Chicago Black Hawks and the Toronto Maple Leafs as their farm team. Maple Leaf Gardens Limited (MLGL) and the Black Hawks each owned half of the franchise.
By 1980, Harold Ballard, owner of the Leafs, had decided that they needed a developmental team of their own, with a spokesperson citing the limited number of roster spots as the rational for the move. MLGL launched the Cincinnati Tigers in the old Central Hockey League in 1981 to serve as their own affiliate, while retaining their share of the New Brunswick Hawks. However, after the Tigers averaged only 1,500 fans and lost $750,000 in their first season, the Leafs folded the Tigers in the spring of 1982. That same summer, with Chicago having already pulled out of New Brunswick in favour of affiliating with the Springfield Indians on their own, the Maple Leafs announced that they would not operate the team in Moncton the following year after they couldn't come to terms with the city on a new arena lease, even though the team had the fifth highest attendance in the league.
The Maple Leafs wanted to relocate the team closer to Toronto, with both St. Catharines and Niagara Falls in Ontario potential destinations for the franchise. When MLGL applied to the AHL to relocate the New Brunswick Hawks to St. Catharines, the nearby Buffalo Sabres initially blocked the move due to objections to a team moving into their territory without prior discussions with them. However, following protests by fans in St. Catharines and threats by Ballard to suspend the Moncton franchise to prevent another AHL team from playing in the city and to sue the Sabres and NHL for $20 million, the relocation was approved unanimously and the franchise became the St. Catharines Saints, serving as the Maple Leafs' primary affiliate. At the same AHL Board of Governors meeting, the Edmonton Oilers received approval to purchase a new AHL franchise to replace the departed Hawks in Moncton, leading to establishment of the Moncton Alpines as their affiliate that fall.
An earlier team under this name played in the OHA Senior League in the 1940s and '50s.
Former players include:
- St. Catharines Saints 1982–1986
- Newmarket Saints 1986–1991
|Season||1st round||2nd round||Finals|
|1982–83||Out of Playoffs|
|1983–84||L, 3–4, Rochester||—||—|
|1984–85||Out of Playoffs|
|1985–86||W, 4–2, Binghamton||L, 3–4, Hershey||—|
|1986–87||Out of Playoffs|
|1987–88||Out of Playoffs|
|1988–89||L, 1–4, Adirondack||—||—|
|1989–90||Out of Playoffs|
|1990–91||Out of Playoffs|
- Penalty Minutes:
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- "Sports roundup". Globe and Mail. 1978-06-24.
- "Leafs get new farm club in Central Hockey League". Globe and Mail. 1981-06-24.
- Campbell, Neil (1981-06-17). "Cincinnati may get Leaf farm team". Globe and Mail.
- "Leaf team to leave Moncton". Toronto Star. 1982-06-02.
- Houston, William (1982-02-09). "Hockey notebook Dull Sabres have pundits speculating". Globe and Mail.
- "Sports roundup". Globe and Mail. 1978-07-08.
- "Leafs, Hawks to Moncton". Toronto Star. 1978-06-20.
- Houston, William (1982-03-31). "'Everything has price,' Ballard says; it's $50 million for Leafs. Gardens". Globe and Mail.
- "Ballard wants Leafs to have own farm club". Globe and Mail. 1980-03-21.
- "Across Canada: No liquor licence for Leafs-Hawks farm club". Globe and Mail. 1978-11-09.
- "AHL Hawks get Tessier". Globe and Mail. 1981-08-22.
- "Leafs place AHL team in St. Kitts". Globe and Mail. 1982-06-22.
- Campbell, Neil (1982-07-06). "AHL rejects shift of Leaf farm club". Globe and Mail.
- "Saints set for debut in Garden City Arena". Globe and Mail. 1982-10-09.
- Campbell, Neil (1982-06-11). "Salming wins Conacher award Niagara may get Leaf farm team". Globe and Mail.
- Campbell, Neil (1982-05-28). "It's musical chairs on ice as CHL franchises switch". Globe and Mail.
- "Leafs to move AHL franchise". Globe and Mail. 1982-06-02.
- Campbell, Neil (1982-06-03). "Fans fail to save Hawks". Globe and Mail.
- Houston, William (1982-06-08). "Ballard stymies Canadian division". Globe and Mail.
- "AHL adds three teams in expansion". Globe and Mail. 1982-07-24.
- "Sports lines". Pittsburgh Press. 1982-07-23.
- "Sabres settle dispute with Leafs". Montreal Gazette. 1982-07-23.
- Kane, Mike (1982-07-24). "Red Wings return to North as AHL swells to 13 teams". Schenectady Gazette.
- "Sabres won't oppose move". Observer–Reporter. 1982-07-23.
- Herod, Doug (2013-08-17). "We really cared about Saints — or so we thought". St. Catharines Standard. Retrieved 2014-01-26.
- McMillan, Tom (1982-07-24). "Sports briefing". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- Leger, Normand (1982-07-26). "Oilers a Moncton - Les details connus cette semaine". L'Évangéline.
- ""Les Alpines": club ferme des Oilers". L'Évangéline. 1982-08-03.