Pro Hockey coming back to L.A.?

I’m not holding my breath. Still mad about the whole Monarchs fiasco.

LA Times, 3/27/59

OFFICIALS SAY HOCKEY WOULD GO BIG HERE

Transfer of franchise in Western League discussed with Coliseum Commission

by Charles Curtis

Growth of the Western Hockey League, which is currently seeking to expand to Los Angeles and San Francisco, into a major league capable of rivaling the long-entrenched National Hockey League, was envisioned yesterday by WHL president Al Leader.

Leader and Jim Piggott, owner of the Saskatoon team of the WHL, appeared at a press conference at the Caliseum along with three Coliseum Commission members and Bill Nicholas, Coliseum and Sports Arena general manager.

No Chance for L.A.

There is no chance of Los Angeles getting into the National Hockey League in the foreseeable future, Nicholas and Leader agreed.

[…]

Idea Favored

“I rather like the idea now,” [commission president] Kilstofte said, in reference to the projected move of the Saskatoon team to Los Angeles for the 1959-60 season.

Leader claimed that the WHL brand of ice hockey is better than that played in the old defunct Pacific Coast Hockey League in which the Los Angeles Monarchs were the last local entry.

Also the last (and first…and only) hockey team ever to bring a professional championship to Los Angeles.

“The owner of the Winnipeg team wants to move to San Francisco and will install the necessary ice rink in the huge Cow Palace,” Leader said. Construction started recently on the 11,000 seat Portland arena, Seattle has a 15-18,000 seat auditorium planned and Vancouver also has plans for a new large arena.

“With larger arenas and larger crowds the owners would be in a position to pay the salaries needed to attract the top stars of ice hockey and keep them,” Leader said. “Within five to seven years we could be a major hockey league and if that comes the National Hockey League would welcome a play-off world series of hockey.”

Sure. That’s about as likely as expansion.

[…] Nicholas said that in thew interests of protecting this area against a franchise freeze-out in case the National Hockey League later wishes to move a team here, the Coliseum Commission would own the local franchise in the WHL, turning it over to someone to operate. Then the commission could at any time cancel the WHL franchise and invite the NHL into the area.

Present members of the WHL, with arena seating capacities, are Seattle (4600), Spokane (7000), Vancouver (5080), Victoria (5200), New Westminster (5000), Calgary (7800), Edmonton (6800) and Winnipeg (9200).

As a league of major league status, Leader predicted a circuit of probably six teams limited to the larger cities.

There will be schedule conflicts, Nicholas pointed out, particularly if a pro basketball team comes to Los Angeles, and since the colleges have all the winter Friday-Saturday night dates reserved. But Sunday afternoons or evenings were seen as prospective home dates, avoiding conflicts with the Rams, if ice hockey comes here.

Since it was evident the WHL is eager to move into the 16000 seat (for ice hockey) Sports Arena, the next move apparently is up to the Coliseum Commission. Other commissioners present yesterday were George Kinsey and Herm Alber.

 

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