Wednesday, June 5, 2013

June 5, 1967: The '67 Expansion

On June 5, 1967, the NHL announced that the Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers, St. Louis Blues, Minnesota North Stars, Los Angeles Kings, and California Seals would be joining the league. It was the first time the league made any changes since the Brooklyn Americans folded in 1942. The six new franchises joined "The Original Six" and marked a new era for the league. The St. Louis Blues made an immediate impact in the league by making three consecutive appearances in the Stanley Cup Finals, in their first three years in existence, they weren't able to bring the city a title but they did prove to be a great spot for a new team. The Philadelphia Flyers were the first of the six to win Lord Stanley's Cup, they accomplished the feat in back to back seasons in 1974 and 1975. The Pittsburgh Penguins struggled in the beginning, they didn't win their division until 1991 then began an ascent into one of the best teams in the league with the emergence of Mario Lemieux, the team won two championships in the 90's then another in 2009. The L.A. Kings had limited success until Wayne Gretzky led them to the Finals in 1993, they lost that season but would finally win a Cup in 2012. The Minnesota North Stars faced financial struggles that eventually led the team into a relocation to Dallas, Texas. Throughout their time in Minnesota the North Stars made the playoffs 17 times and made it all the way to the Finals twice before the team headed for the Lone Star State where they brought home the championship in 1999. The California Seals were the least successful of them all , the team based out of Oakland struggled on  the ice and the lack of ticket sales led them to becoming the Cleveland Barons in 1976. After two years in Cleveland the club folded and merged with the North Stars.

If you have 45 minutes to watch a great documentary about the '67 expansion check this out:

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