Toledo Walleye to Honour IHL Goaldiggers

That's not a typo. From 1974-86, Toledo was home to a minor league hockey team that was called the Goaldiggers. Call it a terrible pun, but they were the last of Toledo's IHL franchises. The first being the Toledo Mercurys, who played from 1947-62 under various city names later when the team played out of Marion, OH and St. Louis, MI. For one season, 1949-50, the Mercurys left the IHL for the soon folding Eastern Amateur Hockey League to play as the Toledo Buckeyes. Toledo would get a new franchise in 1963; the Toledo Blades. After winning the 1964 and 1967 Turner Cups, the team would become the Toledo Hornets from 1970-74.

The Goaldiggers would win four more Turner Cups; 1975, 1977, 1982, 1983, and only missed the playoffs twice. Poor attendance would cause the team to fold in 1986, only to be revived in 1990 as the Kansas City Blades, who would play until 2001 when the IHL folded and were not part of the AHL merger with the Chicago Wolves and Grand Rapids Griffins. The Goaldiggers had their share of stars, including Blackhawks great Dirk Graham, and Montréal Canadiens' great Peter Mahovlich.

Since then Toledo has had two major and well known ECHL franchises; the Toledo Storm, who play from 1991-2008, and the beloved Toledo Walleye, who have been Detroit's AA farm team since 2009 and have one of the best identities in hockey. The Walleye announced that this season throughout the month of February the team will honour this championship team in a month's time!

Toledo Walleye Official Twitter
If you think this looks like a concept, you're not alone. For those who like white jerseys with coloured helmets, this is one of the best examples I've seen in recent memory. The colour scheme is nice and vibrant, and I'm always a fan of old school simple logos being put in HD.

As if that wasn't enough, the very next day, the Walleye will give the green jerseys a go!

Toledo Walleye Official Twitter
For this curious, this is what the Goaldiggers wore in their heyday

Toledo Walleye Official Website
Huge kudos to the Walleye for keeping up on their city's hockey history, and honouring it despite the team they're honouring not existing for 32 years and in a no longer existing league.

You can see both these jerseys back to back February 23rd and 24th when they take on the Atlanta Gladiators back to back on Hockey Heritage Weekend in Ohio.

Toledo Walleye to Honour IHL Goaldiggers Reviewed by winnipegjets96 on January 23, 2018 Rating: 5


Geoff said...

Can you explain further how they folded and then became the KC Blades? I've been under the impression that the Blades were an expansion team. Was it owned by the same owners? I cannot remember the family's name and not sure anymore where my first season yearbook is at the moment but really curious about this

winnipegjets96 said...

Sure, Geoff! Based on my research the Goaldiggers IHL franchise was sold to the Parker family during the time between 1986-90 when the franchise was dormant/suspended and did not play a team but still existed and if they had found financial stability could return to play in the IHL at any point (think the Columbia Inferno as a more recent example in the ECHL from 2008-13). The Parker family would move the team to KC in 1990 and own the team until 1996 when the DeVos family purchased it for the final 5 years of franchise history.

Geoff said...

Gotcha I forgot about the Parkers being the original owners. Of course the local sports guys barely covered the Blades so I had never heard that story. I have many fond memories of the Blades and have three game worn jerseys.

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