The San Diego Mariners were an ice hockey team based in San Diego that played in the World Hockey Association (WHA).
They played from 1974 to 1977 & their home ice was the San Diego Sports Arena.
Previous to being in San Diego, the team was known as the New York Raiders, New York Golden Blades and the Jersey Knights.
During the Mariners' final season, the team was owned by then-San Diego Padres and McDonald's owner Ray Kroc.
However, the team never drew well and when they only managed to attract 5,000 fans per game, Kroc sold the team to a group who planned to move it to Melbourne, Florida. The new owners couldn't find a suitable arena.
The team was then sold to former Philadelphia Flyers minority owner Bill Putnam, who changed the team's name to the Florida Breakers and announced they would play at the Hollywood Sportatorium in Hollywood, between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
After this deal fell apart, Jerry Saperstein tried to buy the team and move them to the same area as the Florida Icegators, but this deal collapsed as well.
After three attempts by three different groups to move the team to Florida all failed, the Mariners folded just before training camp opened in the fall of 1977. Fans who put down deposits for season tickets never got their money back.
The last Mariners player active in major professional hockey was Kevin Devine, who played his last NHL game in the 1982-83 NHL season and Mariners draft pick Don Edwards played in the NHL until 1986, but never played in the WHA.
After the Mariners folded, San Diego Arena operator Peter Graham joined the idea for a new West Coast-based minor championship, the Pacific Hockey League and founded a new San Diego Mariners in 1977.
Those Mariners were sold in 1978 to Pittsburgh businessman Elmer Jonnet and played the PHL's second and final season as the San Diego Hawks.
The team colors for the Mariners were orange and blue. The uniforms were the same design as the team wore as the New York Raiders and Jersey Knights, albeit with the jersey crest replaced with "SAN DIEGO" spelled out diagonally across the front.
The color scheme was the same as it was for the San Diego Gulls of the old Western Hockey League (WHL).
The color scheme was later again adopted in the form of throwback jerseys for the now defunct WCHL/ECHL San Diego Gulls.
|1974–75||78||43||31||4||90||326||268||1058||2nd, Western||Won Quarterfinals (Toros) |
Lost Semifinals (Aeros)
|1975–76||80||36||38||6||78||303||290||716||3rd, Western||Won Preliminaries (Roadrunners) |
Lost Quarterfinals (Aeros)
|1976–77||81||40||37||4||84||284||283||834||3rd, Western||Lost Quarterfinals (Jets)|
Star players for the Mariners included defenseman Harry Howell, center Andre Lacroix and goaltender Ernie Wakely.
The Mariners were coached by Howell (as player/coach) during their first season and Ron Ingram the succeeding two seasons, qualifying for the WHA playoffs each year.