Welcome
1940 saw the introduction of hockey to war-time San Diego...  an unlikely pairing, perhaps, but look closely and you'll find some pucks among the palms.
 
Hockey first took root in San Diego in 1940 when the San Diego Boat Club formed a team in the senior amateur Southern California Hockey Association.  Two seasons later the San Diego Skyhawks iced a team in another senior amateur circuit, the Southern California Hockey League.  Two seasons after that the Skyhawks became charter members of the professional Pacific Coast Hockey League, and hockey was off and running in San Diego...

Teams came and went over the years, but hockey continued to entertain San Diegans in one league or another ever since.








1946-47 Program




Vaillancourt
As a charter member of the Pacific Coast Hockey League, the 1944-45 San Diego Skyhawks tied the Los Angeles Monarchs for first place in the South Division.  Thus, the team had already enjoyed success before the league voted to become (officially) professional starting with the 1948-49 season.  Until that time, the PCHL had been "amateur" in name only in order to assuage the financial and territorial interests of the National Hockey League. The Skyhawks promptly won the PCHL's first officially professional post season championship, defeating the New Westminster Royals for the Henderson Cup.

The Skyhawks posted a composite record of 156-151-17 and advanced to the playoffs in each of their six seasons in the PCHL.

The team was a popular draw in World War II era San Diego, regularly filling 3,400 seat Glacier Garden (located on Harbor Drive at Eighth Avenue, across the street from present-day PETCO Park.)

The Skyhawks folded following the completion of the 1949-50 season after the team's majority owner, the American Hockey League's Buffalo Bisons, withdrew support.

The Skyhawks were led by forwards Maurice Vaillancourt, Stan Warecki and Bernie McCarthy up front while defensemen Morris "Moose" Lallo, Norm McKay, and Al McFadzen patrolled the blue line.  Goaltender Larry Frechette shouldered much of the netminding duties.


For three seasons alternate captain and left wing Vaillancourt powered the offense of the Skyhawks tallying 45, 35, and 35 goals in those years while leading the team to the 1948-49 Henderson Cup.

#9 Maurice Vaillancourt (with Skyhawks)

Seasons

League

Position

Season

Post Season

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

3

PCHL

Left Wing

195

115

122

237

62

23

5

8

13

5









1963 Cartoon




O'Ree
In 1963 San Diego was awarded a conditional expansion franchise by the Western Hockey League pending the construction of a suitable venue.  In 1966 that requirement was met and the San Diego Gulls debuted at the recently completed San Diego International Sports Arena.

The Gulls compiled an overall record of 257-262-67 during their eight seasons, becoming the sporting darlings of San Diegans while annually setting minor league attendance records, often eclipsing those of several NHL teams.  While they qualified for the playoffs in all but their first season, the Gulls never advanced past the first round.

Unfortunately, the WHL's once-bright hopes of merging with the NHL dimmed, and the Gulls, along with the WHL, folded following the 1973-74 season.

The Gulls featured a number of WHL and NHL veterans over the years including early defensive favorites Jack "Tex" Evans, Jimmy Cardiff, Jim Eagle and Gordie Sinclair.  The crease was tended by goalies Les Binkley, Jack McCartan, Bob Champoux, Ken Broderick and John Adams.

Firepower up front was provided by the likes of Len Ronson, Fred Hilts, Len Haley, Al Nicholson, Warren Hynes, and later Bob Courcy and Gerry Goyer.  The development of youngsters saw Tom Trevelyan, Joe Noris, Kevin O'Shea and Orest Kindrachuk don a Gulls sweater.

One of the most exciting and fastest players in the history of San Diego hockey was forward Willie O’Ree, who played seven of the Gulls’ eight WHL seasons.  O’Ree broke the NHL’s color barrier as a member of the 1957-58 Boston Bruins.  Wearing sweater #20 (since retired), O’Ree scored a career high 38 goals in his second season with the Gulls in 1968-69.


#20 Willie O'Ree (with Gulls)

Seasons

League

Position

Season

Post Season

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

7

WHL

Right Wing

407

153

161

314

363

40

19

17

36

40









1975-76 Program




Lacroix
In 1974 hockey went major league locally with the relocation of the World Hockey Association’s Jersey Knights to San Diego, soon rechristened the "Mariners".

The Mariners played at the slightly renamed San Diego Sports Arena, whose exclusive lease with arena owner Peter Graham had blocked the WHL Gulls from icing a team for the 1974-75 season, contributing to their demise.  Thus, the Mariners were somewhat reluctantly embraced by San Diegans.  Despite this, the Mariners posted an overall record of 119-106-14 and qualified for the playoffs in each of their three seasons.

The Mariners folded following the 1976-77 campaign after successive changes of ownership failed to keep the club financially viable.

Opposing WHA players such as legends Bobby Hull, Gordie Howe, Gerry Cheevers and Frank Mahovlich, along with upcoming stars like Wayne Gretzky and Anders Hedberg graced the San Diego ice.

The Mariners featured proven goal-scorers Wayne Rivers, André Lacroix, and Gene Peacosh while blue-liners Kevin Morrison, Ron Plumb, and Harry Howell fronted goaltenders Ernie Wakely and Russ Gillow.

The Mariners were captained by ace center Lacroix, who led the WHA in scoring during the team's first season in 1974-75.  A solid goal-scorer, Lacroix centered lines on which he regularly set up scoring chances for his linemates, averaging over an assist per game as a Mariner.

#7 André Lacroix (with Mariners)

Seasons

League

Position

Season

Post Season

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

3

WHA

Center

239

102

260

362

184

28

8

21

29

12





Professional hockey continued in San Diego the following two seasons with the formation of the Pacific Hockey League, first as the Mariners (in 1977-78) and then as the San Diego Hawks (1978-79).

The Mariners (and the Hawks) played at the San Diego Sports Arena and posted a combined 54-44-2 overall record.  The PHL was presented as an aspiring development league for the NHL and WHA, and many of the rosters were peppered with former WHA players.


By the second year the Hawks' roster featured many former San Diego players including centers Ray Adduono and Joe Noris, left wingers Kevin Devine, Mike Bloom and Don Burgess, and in his swan song season, right wing Willie O’Ree.  Goaltender Clay Hebenton manned the crease.


Due to untenable player payrolls (exacerbated mostly by Hawks' ownership) the Pacific Hockey League and the Hawks folded following the 1978-79 season.









1990-91 Program




McDonough
After an 11 year hiatus, hockey and the Gulls nickname returned to San Diego in 1990 as the International Hockey League expanded to Southern California.

The Gulls played five IHL seasons at the San Diego Sports Arena, chalking up a 216-149-44 overall record and qualifying for the playoffs in four of five seasons.

The IHL Gulls set a professional hockey record for most wins in a single season, going 62-12-8 en route to winning the Huber Trophy with an IHL-record 132 standings points in the 1992-93 season.

After five seasons the Gulls franchise relocated north to become the Los Angeles Ice Dogs following the 1994-95 season.

The Gulls offense was led by forwards Hubie McDonough, Denny Lambert, Daniel Shank, Steve Martinson, Robbie Nichols and phenom rookie Dmitri Kvartalnov.  Over the seasons the Gulls roster also featured such names as Keith Gretzky, Charlie Simmer, and Ron Duguay.

Defensemen Dale DeGray, Anatoli Fedotov, Don McSween and Sergie Starikov patrolled the defensive zone, while the net was manned by goaltenders Allan Bester and Rick Knickle.


Team captain McDonough wore the Gulls' sweater for three seasons, sniping 100 goals in that time and leading the Gulls to the regular season championship Huber Trophy in 1992-93.

#19 Hubie McDonough (with Gulls)

Seasons

League

Position

Season

Post Season

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

3

IHL

Center

197

100

152

252

97

27

4

15

19

16









5 Time Taylor Cup Champions




St Amour
In 1995 San Diego became a charter member of the West Coast Hockey League and once again revived the familiar Gulls nickname and original blue, orange and white colors.

The Gulls played eight WCHL seasons at the San Diego Sports Arena (later renamed iPayOne Center) compiling a dominant 385-125-33 record in that time.  The WCHL Gulls won five regular season (Founder's Cups) and five post season championships (Taylor Cups) under head coach Steve Martinson, a popular former IHL Gulls player.

The WCHL merged with the East Coast Hockey League (simply rebranded the "ECHL") following the 2002-03 season.  The ECHL Gulls captured the regular season (Brabham Cup) championship in their first season and played three seasons posting an overall 118-72-26 record in the ECHL, but folded following the 2005-06 season.

The Gulls' offensive strength overpowered most of their WCHL and ECHL opponents and was led by forwards BJ MacPherson, Martin St Amour, Mark Stitt, Brad Belland, Mark Woolf and Dennis Purdie.

The San Diego defense was anchored by goaltenders Sergei Naumov and Trevor Koenig, fronted by defensemen Taj Melson, Samy Nasreddine, and Darren Perkins.


Longtime team captain St Amour played eight seasons for the Gulls while leading the team to many of their title successes.  He later took over the head coaching duties starting in the 2004-05 season.

#18 Martin St Amour (with Gulls)

Seasons

League

Position

Season

Post Season

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

8

WCHL

Left Wing

292

180

214

394

927

41

27

25

52

79




On January 29, 2015, the National Hockey League’s Anaheim Ducks announced that the club had purchased the Norfolk Admirals franchise of the American Hockey League with plans to relocate it to San Diego, thus ending a nine year hockey drought in San Diego.


The Ducks joined other western-based NHL clubs in forming the AHL’s new Pacific Division with their respective AHL affiliates.

The latest version of the Gulls hit the ice for the 2015-16 season, placing second in the AHL Pacific Division while playing at the renamed Valley View Casino Center.  Their story remains to be written...



San Diegans queue up for HockeyFest on February 22nd, 2015


The logo reveal at HockeyFest on February 22nd, 2015


The AHL San Diego Gulls toe the blue line on Opening Night, October 10th, 2015