After new arena plans in San Francisco were canceled, the NHL dropped its objection to a relocation of the troubled California Golden Seals franchise from Oakland. Minority owner George Gund III persuaded majority owner Melvin Swig to move the team to his hometown of Cleveland for the 1976 – 1977 season. The team was named “Barons” after the successful team, ...
By 1978 the North Stars had missed the playoffs in five of the previous six seasons. Attendance had tailed off so rapidly that the league feared that the franchise was on the verge of folding. At this point, Gordon and George Gund III, owners of the equally strapped Cleveland Barons, stepped in with an unprecedented solution—merging the North Stars with ...
History of the Barons
The Cleveland Barons were a professional ice hockey team that played in the National Hockey League (NHL) from 1976 to 1978. The Barons are best remembered for being the first NHL franchise to fold since 1942 and one of only two teams ever to do so in league history. Despite their short tenure, they left an indelible mark on the game with their unique brand of hockey and innovative approach toward building a competitive roster.
The Barons began as an expansion team during the 1975-76 season, joining five other new franchises which included The Colorado Rockies, Kansas City Scouts, Washington Capitals, and Atlanta Flames. They also inherited some players from defunct WHA franchises such as Minnesota Fighting Saints and Quebec Nordiques who joined them via dispersal draft prior to beginning play in Cleveland’s old Richfield Coliseum arena located just outside of city limits near Akron Ohio. In spite of having several former all-stars on their roster like Gerry Cheevers, Rick MacLeish, Jimmy Mann, Anders Hedberg & Ulf Nilsson amongst others; they failed miserably at making it into playoffs finishing last place out of seven teams within Norris Division that year with record 26 wins 51 losses & 3 ties.
Fortunately, things got better for them over the next couple of seasons under new head coach Jack Evans but not enough to improve standings significantly or make it into post-season action; As a result, financial losses continued piling up leading owner George Gund III to decide to pull the plug after 1977-78 campaign despite efforts by local fans try to keep the club afloat through fundraisers, etc. Unfortunately unlike most defunct NHL clubs who eventually returned to either the same market or a different one later date; this would be the case here leaving Cleveland without major league pro hockey until 1992 when another iteration was born known today as simply “Blue Jackets.”
San Francisco – Cleveland – Bloomington – Dallas
1967 – Present / National Hockey League
1993 – Present / Dallas Stars
1967 – 1993 / Minnesota North Stars
1976 – 1978 / Cleveland Barons
1970 – 1976 / California Golden Seals
1967 – 1970 / Oakland Seals
1967 / California Seals
Barons – Regarding sports nicknames, few are as iconic and beloved as the Cleveland Barons. The name has been associated with the city of Cleveland since its inception in 1976 when the NHL granted them an expansion team. But where did this nickname come from? Let’s look at how one of hockey’s most recognizable teams got its start!
The origins of “Barons” can be traced back to 1894, when John L. Sullivan founded a professional baseball team called “the Barons” in Cleveland's League Park neighborhood. After winning several championships during their tenure, they disbanded after World War I due to financial difficulties and competition from other local teams, such as the Indians and Spiders. While there is no direct link between these two organizations (the original Barons were not affiliated with any major league), many believe that this was an homage paid by then-NHL owners George Gund III & Gordon Gund, who grew up watching those early games at League Park stadium before moving away for college & business opportunities elsewhere in America.
In addition to honoring a long-time presence within their hometown community, it also seemed fitting that they chose this particular moniker because baron is defined as "a person holding rank equal or superior to that of a knight," which perfectly encapsulates what being part of a professional sports franchise stands for—dedication, honor, loyalty —all qualities necessary for success on the ice.
Whether you're cheering on your favorite NHL team or just looking back fondly upon some nostalgic memories, we hope you now have a greater appreciation for why our beloved Cleveland Barons have held onto such an iconic nickname all these years!
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2001 – Present / American Airlines Center
1993 – 2001 / Reunion Arena
1967 – 1993 / Met Center
1976 – 1978 / Richfield Coliseum
1967 – 1976 / Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Arena
2011 – Present / Tom Gaglardi
1995 – 2011 / Tom Hicks
1991 – 1995 / Norman Green
1989 – 1991 / Howard Baldwin and Morris Belzberg
1967 – 1989 / Walter Bush, Jr. and John Driscoll
1976 – 1978 / Melvin Swig and George Gund III
1970 – 1975 / Melvin Swig (California Golden Seals)
1967 – 1970 / Barry Van Gerbig (California Seals)
To qualify as the greatest player for this team, the player must have played one season for this team. If not, we will remove the player.
* verifies that player has played for this team as an added player by a fan.
7 / Neal Broten
8 / Bill Goldsworthy
9 / Mike Modano
19 / Bill Masterton
26 / Jere Lehtinen
99 / Wayne Gretzky
*Blue is this team’s history