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The Seattle Totems were a professional
ice hockey Ice hockey (or simply hockey) is a team sport played on ice skates, usually on an ice skating rink with lines and markings specific to the sport. It belongs to a family of sports called hockey. In ice hockey, two opposing teams use ice ...
franchise in
Seattle, Washington Seattle ( ) is a seaport city on the West Coast of the United States. It is the seat of King County, Washington. With a 2020 population of 737,015, it is the largest city in both the state of Washington and the Pacific Northwest region ...
. Under several names prior to 1958, the franchise was a member of the
Pacific Coast Hockey League The Pacific Coast Hockey League was an ice hockey minor league with teams in the western United States and western Canada that existed in several incarnations: from 1928 to 1931, from 1936 to 1941, and from 1944 to 1952. PCHL 1928–1931 The first ...
(renamed the
Western Hockey League The Western Hockey League (WHL) is a major junior ice hockey league based in Western Canada and the Northwestern United States. The WHL is one of three leagues that constitutes the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) as the highest level of junior ...
in 1952) between 1944 and 1974. In their last season of existence, the Totems played in the
Central Hockey League The Central Hockey League (CHL) was a North American mid-level minor professional ice hockey league which operated from 1992 until 2014. It was founded by Ray Miron and Bill Levins and later sold to Global Entertainment Corporation, which oper ...
in the 1974–75 season. They played their home games in the Civic Ice Arena and later at the
Seattle Center Coliseum Climate Pledge Arena is a multi-purpose indoor arena in Seattle, Washington, United States. It is located north of Downtown Seattle in the entertainment complex known as Seattle Center, the site of the 1962 World's Fair, for which it was o ...
. The Totems won three WHL
Lester Patrick Cup The Lester Patrick Cup was the championship trophy of the Pacific Coast Hockey League and the Western Hockey League (WHL) from 1949 to 1974. Originally known as the Phil Henderson Cup and then in 1952 it was renamed to the President's Cup. The ...
championships in 1959, 1967 and 1968. The Totems were one of the few American-based professional clubs to play a touring Soviet team. On December 25, 1972, the Totems lost to the Soviets 9–4. A rematch between the two teams was held on January 4, 1974, where, led by Don Westbrooke's three goals, the Totems won 8–4.


Franchise history


Seattle Ironmen (1944–52)

After World War II, the
Pacific Coast Hockey League The Pacific Coast Hockey League was an ice hockey minor league with teams in the western United States and western Canada that existed in several incarnations: from 1928 to 1931, from 1936 to 1941, and from 1944 to 1952. PCHL 1928–1931 The first ...
(PCHL), a major professional league on the West Coast in the 1910s and 1920s, was resurrected as a
semi-professional Semi-professional sports are sports in which athletes are not participating on a full-time basis, but still receive some payment. Semi-professionals are not amateur because they receive regular payment from their team, but generally at a conside ...
loop. Seattle, as a strong hockey town and notable for being the first city outside of Canada to host a
Stanley Cup The Stanley Cup (french: La Coupe Stanley) is the championship trophy awarded annually to the National Hockey League (NHL) playoff champion. It is the oldest existing trophy to be awarded to a professional sports franchise in North America, an ...
champion (the 1917
Seattle Metropolitans The Seattle Metropolitans were a professional ice hockey team based in Seattle, Washington, which played in the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA) from 1915 to 1924. During their nine seasons, the Metropolitans were the PCHA's most successf ...
), was granted a franchise. The club had been founded as an amateur team the previous year, where they were known as the Seattle Isacsson Iron Workers, playing in the Northwest International Hockey League. When they entered the PCHL they were renamed the Seattle Ironmen. The club had modest success, finishing in first place in the league in 1948, while the league itself became fully professional in 1949. Its most notable stars were Gordon Kerr, the team's leading scorer in those years with 235 points in 244 games, William Robinson,
Eddie Dartnell Eddie or Eddy may refer to: Science and technology * Eddy (fluid dynamics), the swirling of a fluid and the reverse current created when the fluid flows past an obstacle * Eddie (text editor), a text editor originally for BeOS and now ported to Li ...
and Joe Bell. Among other notables for the team were future NHL star goaltender
Al Rollins Elwin Ira Rollins (October 9, 1926 – July 27, 1996) was a professional Canadian ice hockey goaltender who played for the Chicago Black Hawks, New York Rangers and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Playing career Before joining the NHL, Rollins playe ...
and legendary
Philadelphia Flyers The Philadelphia Flyers are a professional ice hockey team based in Philadelphia. The Flyers compete in the National Hockey League (NHL) as a member of the Metropolitan Division in the Eastern Conference (NHL), Eastern Conference. The team play ...
coach
Fred Shero Frederick Alexander Shero, nicknamed The Fog (October 23, 1925November 24, 1990) was a Canadian professional ice hockey player, coach, and general manager. He played for the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League (NHL). However, he spen ...
.


Seattle Bombers (1952–54)

In 1952, the league changed its name to the
Western Hockey League The Western Hockey League (WHL) is a major junior ice hockey league based in Western Canada and the Northwestern United States. The WHL is one of three leagues that constitutes the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) as the highest level of junior ...
(WHL), and the Ironmen themselves changed their name to the Seattle Bombers the following season. The team continued to play poorly for two seasons, and the only bright spot was the debut for Seattle of the greatest minor league scorer of all time,
Guyle Fielder Guyle Abner Fielder (born November 21, 1930) is a retired American-born Canadian professional ice hockey center. He is most known for his time in the minor Western Hockey League, where he played from 1952 to 1973. Fielder also played 9 regular se ...
. After two seasons of increasing travel costs—for which the Bombers received aid from the league—Seattle suspended operations for the 1955 season.


Seattle Americans (1955–58)

The team rejoined the WHL as the Seattle Americans the following season, finishing in first place in 1957 led by a tremendous season by Fielder, who broke the professional single season scoring record with 122 points en route to Most Valuable Player honors and the first of four straight scoring championships for Seattle. Among other notables for the Americans were
Val Fonteyne Valere Ronald Fonteyne (born December 2, 1933) is a Canadian former professional ice hockey left winger. He played in the National Hockey League (NHL) from 1959 to 1972, serving the Detroit Red Wings (on two tours of duty), New York Rangers and Pi ...
, notable as the least penalized player of all time, future Vezina winner Charlie Hodge, and future
National Hockey League The National Hockey League (NHL; french: Ligue nationale de hockey—LNH, ) is a professional ice hockey sports league, league in North America comprising 32 teams—25 in the United States and 7 in Canada. It is considered to be the top ranke ...
general managers
Emile Francis Emile Percival Francis (September 13, 1926 – February 19, 2022), nicknamed "The Cat", was a Canadian ice hockey player, coach, and general manager in the National Hockey League (NHL). He played for the Chicago Black Hawks and New York Rangers f ...
and Keith Allen. The team's final season as the Americans, in 1958, saw the first time the franchise would win a playoff series.


Seattle Totems (1958–75)

The Americans were renamed the Seattle Totems for the 1958–59 season, the name by which it would go for the rest of its existence. Fielder and Filion remained the team's great stars, but like many other WHL teams the Totems had very stable rosters, and players such as
Marc Boileau Marc Claude Boileau (September 3, 1932 – December 27, 2000) was a Canadian ice hockey player and coach. He played 55 games in the National Hockey League with the Detroit Red Wings during the 1961–62 season. The rest of his career, which las ...
,
Gerry Leonard Gerry Leonard is an Irish lead guitarist and solo artist, known for his harmonic and ambient guitar style and for his work with David Bowie. He has lived and worked in Dublin, Copenhagen, and Manhattan. Hinterland From Clontarf, Dublin, Clont ...
,
Bill MacFarland William H. MacFarland (April 4, 1932 – August 12, 2011) was an ice hockey player who played in college for the University of Michigan and professionally for the Seattle Totems of the Western Hockey League. He was inducted into the University of M ...
,
Jim Powers James Manley (born January 4, 1958) is an American retired professional wrestler, better known by the ring name Jim Powers. He worked for the World Wrestling Federation from 1984 to 1994, then elsewhere until 2010. He was born in Washington Heig ...
, Gordie Sinclair and future NHL coach and general manager Tom McVie spent many seasons each in Seattle colors. Allen was the team's coach its first seven seasons as the Totems, guiding the team to a first-place finish in 1959 and to the playoffs six out of the seven years of his tenure. The Totems played the 1974–75 season in the
Central Hockey League The Central Hockey League (CHL) was a North American mid-level minor professional ice hockey league which operated from 1992 until 2014. It was founded by Ray Miron and Bill Levins and later sold to Global Entertainment Corporation, which oper ...
after the WHL folded.


Terminated NHL expansion franchise

On June 12, 1974, the NHL announced that a Seattle group headed by Vince Abbey had been awarded an expansion team to begin play in the 1976–77 season. A $180,000 deposit was due by the end of 1975 and the total franchise fee was $6 million. Additionally, Abbey had to repurchase the shares in the Totems held by the
Vancouver Canucks The Vancouver Canucks are a professional ice hockey team based in Vancouver. They compete in the National Hockey League (NHL) as a member of the Pacific Division of the Western Conference, and play their home games at Rogers Arena. Bruce ...
, who were using the minor-league Totems as a farm club. The expansion announcement also included a franchise for
Denver Denver () is a consolidated city and county, the capital, and most populous city of the U.S. state of Colorado. Its population was 715,522 at the 2020 census, a 19.22% increase since 2010. It is the 19th-most populous city in the Unit ...
, and with the loss of two more of its major markets, the WHL announced on the same day that it was folding. The Totems joined the
Central Hockey League The Central Hockey League (CHL) was a North American mid-level minor professional ice hockey league which operated from 1992 until 2014. It was founded by Ray Miron and Bill Levins and later sold to Global Entertainment Corporation, which oper ...
for 1974–75. After missing a number of deadlines while scrambling to secure financing, the NHL threatened to pull the franchise as there were a number of other suitors in the wings. Abbey allegedly passed on an opportunity to purchase a WHA team for $2 million during this period, and he missed an opportunity to acquire an existing franchise when the
Pittsburgh Penguins The Pittsburgh Penguins (colloquially known as the Pens) are a professional ice hockey team based in Pittsburgh. They compete in the National Hockey League (NHL) as a member of the Metropolitan Division of the Eastern Conference, and have playe ...
were sold in a
bankruptcy Bankruptcy is a legal process through which people or other entities who cannot repay debts to creditors may seek relief from some or all of their debts. In most jurisdictions, bankruptcy is imposed by a court order, often initiated by the debto ...
auction for $4.4 million in June 1975. The Totems folded following the 1974–75 CHL season after acquiring $2 million in debt, leaving the city without hockey for the first time in two decades; the Seattle Breakers (now the Thunderbirds) would begin play in 1977 in the junior
Western Canada Hockey League The Western Canada Hockey League (WCHL), founded in 1921, was a major professional ice hockey league originally based in the prairies of Canada. It was renamed the Western Hockey League (WHL) in 1925 and disbanded in 1926. The WCHL's Victoria C ...
. After a failed attempt by Abbey to purchase the
California Seals The California Golden Seals were a professional ice hockey club that competed in the National Hockey League (NHL) from 1967 to 1976. Based in Oakland, California, they played their home games at the Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum Arena. The S ...
in June, the NHL pulled the expansion franchise from Seattle. Abbey filed suit against the NHL and the Canucks for anti-trust violations that he alleged prevented him from acquiring a team; it was finally settled in favor of the NHL in 1986. In 2018, the NHL again awarded Seattle an NHL team, the
Seattle Kraken The Seattle Kraken are a professional ice hockey team based in Seattle. The Kraken compete in the National Hockey League (NHL) as a member of the Pacific Division in the Western Conference and began play during the league's 2021–22 season. ...
, which began play in 2021.


Season-by-season results (1958–75)

* 1943–44 – Northwest International Hockey League * 1944–52 –
Pacific Coast Hockey League The Pacific Coast Hockey League was an ice hockey minor league with teams in the western United States and western Canada that existed in several incarnations: from 1928 to 1931, from 1936 to 1941, and from 1944 to 1952. PCHL 1928–1931 The first ...
* 1952–74 –
Western Hockey League The Western Hockey League (WHL) is a major junior ice hockey league based in Western Canada and the Northwestern United States. The WHL is one of three leagues that constitutes the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) as the highest level of junior ...
* 1974–75 –
Central Hockey League The Central Hockey League (CHL) was a North American mid-level minor professional ice hockey league which operated from 1992 until 2014. It was founded by Ray Miron and Bill Levins and later sold to Global Entertainment Corporation, which oper ...
''Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes''


See also

*
Seattle Kraken The Seattle Kraken are a professional ice hockey team based in Seattle. The Kraken compete in the National Hockey League (NHL) as a member of the Pacific Division in the Western Conference and began play during the league's 2021–22 season. ...
*
Seattle Totems (junior hockey) The Seattle Jr. Totems are a junior ice hockey team in Seattle, Washington. They are a member of the United States Premier Hockey League and play their home games at Olympic View Arena in Mountlake Terrace, Washington. History The franchise was ...
– current team in the
Western States Hockey League The Western States Hockey League (WSHL) was a junior ice hockey league established in 1993. It was sanctioned by the United Hockey Union, the junior hockey branch of the Amateur Athletic Union. Previously, it was sanctioned by USA Hockey from 1 ...
. * Pioneer Square totem pole


References

{{Reflist


External links


List of NHL alumni

All-time roster (WHL, 1958–1974)

All-time roster (CHL, 1974–1975)




Defunct ice hockey teams in the United States Central Professional Hockey League teams Ice hockey in Seattle Ice hockey teams in Washington (state) Philadelphia Flyers minor league affiliates Vancouver Canucks minor league affiliates Western Hockey League (1952–1974) teams 1944 establishments in Washington (state) 1975 disestablishments in Washington (state)