4- Colorado Rockies (NHL) – When you are a sports fan and you hear the Colorado Rockies, I bet you think of the baseball team right? Not me. I think of the NHL franchise formerly known as the Colorado Rockies, but you can call them the New Jersey Devils now. Formerly the Kansas City Scouts, the Rockies make this list not because of any of the other reasons I’ve mentioned already. They have a very unique place in history. They get overlooked as a former NHL team for 2 reasons that I don’t think any other team in all of sports can claim. The first is the aforementioned Major League Baseball team, the Colorado Rockies that began play in Denver in 1993. The second reason is the huge success the New Jersey Devils have had since coming to NJ in 1983. The Rockies, who weren’t very successful in there short 6-year run in Denver, had a special place in my heart as a child. First off they had the coolest, ugliest jerseys in NHL history. The second thing was my favorite player as child was former Ranger captain Barry Beck, who began his career with the Colorado Rockies and holds the team record for most points by a rookie; 60. And the last reason was when you’re a child, certain names; funny, heroic, or just badass; stick with you and you pretend you are that person all the time. Even if you know nothing about them, or if they suck, you are still pretending to be that guy. Glenn “Chico” Resch was that guy. Whenever I would play goalie for anything; hockey, soccer, whatever; I was “Chico.” Also another significant contribution by this forgotten team was when Don Cherry was hired in ’79-’80 as their head coach, he coined the motto “Come out to the fights and watch a Rockies game break out.” A sentiment that has been associated with hockey ever since. For a team that was only around for 6 seasons, they left an undeniable mark on the NHL. But yet they are forgotten.
Hall of Famers – Lanny McDonald (nice ‘stache), Don Cherry (head coach, now Canadian institution on Hockey Night in Canada on TV)
3- Winnipeg Jets – One of the most underrated NHL teams ever. They make this list because of their geographical location; Winnipeg, where is that; and because they had the worst luck of the draw ever. When they were in the WHL, they appeared in 5 finals in 7 years (winning 3) and were a huge draw in the league. But then the NHL came calling and all there bad luck started. Upon entering the NHL, 3 of their top 6 scorers were pilfered for an expansion draft, and they had a horrible draft spot (18th out of 21). Despite this initial luck, during their first 2 horrendous seasons they were able to draft well, and build a successful team. They consistently made the playoffs, and performed well from that point on. Unfortunately for the Jets, they were cursed to play in the same conference as the Edmonton Oilers and the Calgary Flames in their hey-day. Good performing Jets teams were greatly overshadowed by great Calgary teams, and legendary Oiler teams. The Jets are now known as the Phoenix Coyotes.
*Hall of Famers – Dale Hawerchuck, Bobby Hull, and Serge Savard
2- Hartford Whalers – Ok, so this poor team. I really had a hard time with this move back in ’97. First off, when we do a top 5 jerseys of all time, this team will definitely be there. They Whalers have one of the coolest looking jerseys in any sport, at any time. And no, not because it’s ugly like the 80’s Canucks or the Colorado Hockey Rockies, oh no, it’s just awesome. Secondly, again the Whalers have a strong connection to my childhood. When I was growing up on Long Island in the 80’s we would get WSBK from Boston on our cable system. They would show Boston Bruins games every weekend with the world’s most drab announcer, Fred Cusick. That guy could put a hyper active kid without his daily riddlin out for the count. When I was sick as a child and couldn’t sleep I could always count on 2 things to put me out, Bob Ross’s “Joy of Painting” on PBS and Fred Cusick. I digress, the Whalers would have a game on WSBK like once in a while and it would be a treat for me. First off, I never got to see other teams besides the Islanders, Rangers and Bruins until a few years later when ESPN would show them. There seemed to be no schedule for the Whalers on TV either. Since Hartford was a very small place, when the Whalers would come on it seemed like a feed from a 3rd world country was finally established and a hockey game broke out. It was weird. Anyway, the Whalers never really set the world on fire on the ice. They had some very nice players (Ron Francis, Kevin Dineen, Paul Coffey), and even a legend (Gordie Howe). They had a few good teams, but ultimately they had the same fate as the Jets did. There good Whaler teams were outdone by great Bruins, Canadiens, and Islander teams. This team is now known as the Carolina Hurricanes, and have won a Stanley Cup since departing for NC.
Hall of Famers - Gordie Howe, Ron Francis, Paul Coffey, Dave Keon, Bobby Hull, Emile “The Cat” Francis (GM)
Hall of Famers – Frank “HR” Baker, Jimmie Foxx, Lefty Grove, Al Simmons, Eddie Collins, Chief Bender, Connie Mack(Mgr), Eddie Plank, Rube Waddel (that dudes name is rube)
And being the only team on this list to win a championship, the Philadelphia A’s won in 1910, ’11,’13, ’29, and ’30.
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