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Brief Team History
Team Information
Head Coaches/General Managers
Yearly Records
Post Season Action
Award Winners
All-time Stats
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Joseph J. Hulsebus <>
Created: 4-1-95 ... Revised: 5-5-99

Brief Team History

Owls Captain Rick Dorman On December 17, 1977 the Grand Rapids Owls were relocated from Dayton during mid-season. The Owls played in the old Stadium Arena located in downtown Grand Rapids. The arena became an important part of Owl history. The ice surface in the arena was several feet shorter than most IHL arenas; this "short-coming" became a notorious advantage for the Owls.

The first full season in Grand Rapids was a season of excitement. The Owls had been perenial basement dwellers during their years in Columbus and Dayton; however, the 1978-79 season saw the Owls post the best record in the IHL by winning 50 games! They set an IHL record by recording a 27-game home ice unbeaten streak; a record which still stands entering the 1997-98 IHL season. In addition to being the best team in the league, they offered an interesting collection of personalities on their roster - most notably was John Flesch who often donned very "interesting" haircuts. The Owls reached the Turner Cups finals that season against their chief rivals the Kalamazoo Wings. The K-Wings won the championship.

Grand Rapids Owls Hockey The 1979-80 season was a disappointing (and last) season for the Owls as they finished with the league's second worst record. The season was filled with rumors of the Owls moving to other cities due to the poor conditions of Stadium Arena. At the conclusion of the season, it was announced that the Owls were going on a one-to-two year hiatus while a new stadium was being planned for Grand Rapids. Well over fifteen years later, the stadium had never been constructed and the Owls never returned from hibernation.

Finally in the fall of 1996, the new Van Andel Arena was completed. The IHL returned to Grand Rapids as the Grand Rapids Griffins became an expansion team for the 1996-97 season.

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Team Information

Stadium Arena
Grand Radids, MI
Team Colors
Black and Red
NHL Parent Club
Pittsburgh Penguins

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Head Coaches

Ed "Mo" Bartoli (1977-78 - 1978-79)  (77-64-19)
Nelson LeClair (1979-80)             (27-41-12)

General Managers

Ed "Mo" Bartoli (1977-78 - 1979-80)

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Yearly Records 1977-78 - 1979-80

year       w    l    t   pct.
1977-78   27   43   10   .400   4th
1978-79   50   21    9   .681   1st#@
1979-80   27   41   12   .413   4th

Total    104  105   31   .498

# won Fred A. Huber Trophy (regular season champion)
@ lost Joseph Turner Memorial Cup (playoff runner-up)

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Post Season Action

1978-79  beat Milwaukee, 4-3
         beat Fort Wayne, 4-3
         lost to Kalamazoo, 4-3

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Award Winners

1978-79 Gordie Laxton - G (1st team)
1978-79 Guido Tenesi - D (1st team)
1978-79 John Flesch - LW (2nd team)
James Norris Memorial Trophy (Outstanding Goaltenders)
1978-79 Gordie Laxton
Govenors Trophy (Outstanding Defenseman)
1978-79 Guido Tenesi

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