There was literally nothing in minor-league hockey anything like the old Oklahoma City Blazers of the Central Hockey League:
The last incarnation of the Blazers came into being in 1992 with the revival of the CHL. They were one of the most successful minor league hockey franchises of all time, averaging 9,128 fans a game over 17 seasons. The franchise led the CHL in attendance in each of its 17 seasons in the league; and all of North American minor pro hockey on five occasions. On ice, the Blazers excelled as well, winning an unprecedented nine regular season division championships (including seven straight, 1996–2003), five regular-season points titles and CHL championships in 1996 and 2001. The franchise’s two great stars, Joe Burton and Hardy Sauter, are the CHL’s first and third all-time career leading scorers, and Burton is the fourth leading goal scorer in minor league hockey history.
The CHL folded in 2014; the Blazers had departed five years earlier, on the pretext of not being able to negotiate a lease with the city. As it turned out, the ownership had bigger fish to fry: in 2010, a dormant American Hockey League franchise was awakened from the dead and moved out of deepest Canuckistan into Bricktown, and given the name “Oklahoma City Barons.” Lead-pipe cinch, right? Wrong: while the Barons played well most of the time, winning 202 of 384 games, their attendance was among the worst in the AHL, and in 2015 the team relocated to, um, Bakersfield, California, where they didn’t play as well but drew substantially (about 30 percent) more spectators.
And that would seem to be that, except that a local sports guy (NBC station) came up with this last night:
Central Hockey League to relaunch in 2017, with six teams: OKC, El Paso, Springfield, MO, Colorado, Casper, WY, Ogden, UT.
— Brian Brinkley (@BrianBrinkleyOK) September 14, 2016
What do we want? “The Blazers!” When do we want them? “Next season!”