6 Facts About The California Golden Seals The Hockey Fan May Not Know
The California Golden Seals existed as an NHL franchise from 1967-68 to 1975-76 and were one of six teams to join the NHL in 1967, doubling the league in size. Although originally called the San Francisco Seals, the team was mostly known as the California Golden Seals. What follows is six facts that even the most knowledgeable hockey fan might not know.
Bobby Baun was the California Golden Seals first team captain. Baun played just one season with the Seals (then known as the Oakland Seals), their inaugural year 1967-68. Baun was fresh off heroics that won the Toronto Maple Leafs the Stanley Cup the previous year. Bobby played in the National Hockey League from 1956-57 to 1972-73 with Toronto, Oakland and the Detroit Red Wings.
In four out of the team’s nine NHL season, the Golden Seals didn’t draft a player in the first round. Despite their annual dismal performance, the team never drafted higher than third overall and only took five players in the first round.
Just one player that played for the Golden Seals is in the Hockey Hall of Fame in the player’s category. Long time New York Rangers defensive great Harry Howell played two seasons with the team, 1969-70 and 1970-71, before moving down the coast to play for the Los Angeles Kings.
The Golden Seals won just three playoff games during their existence, all in one playoff series. 1968-69 was California’s best season in the NHL, winning 29 regular season games and finishing second in the West. The Seals met the Los Angeles Kings in the first round and stretched the series to seven games before falling. The team would play their only other playoff series the following season, being swept by the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Golden Seals played their home games at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Arena, now known as the Oracle Centre. At the time, the arena had a seating capacity for hockey of 13,601. The arena is still used by the National Basketball Association’s Golden State Warriors. Seating for NBA games is now 19,596 after renovations in 1997.
The California Golden Seals are direct descendents of the Dallas Stars. After the 1975-76 season, the Seals were relocated to Cleveland where they were known as the Barons. After just two seasons, the Barons merged with the Minnesota North Stars. The North Stars were relocated to Dallas after the 1992-93 season. Hockey returned to the Bay Area in 1991 in the form of the San Jose Sharks and returned to Minnesota in 2000 as the Minnesota Wild.