By Sam Cortes, Communications Coordinator
The Winnipeg Ice is no more.
On Friday, June 16, news broke that the Western Hockey League team was sold and will be re-emerging in Washington for the 2023-24 season.
The news is heartbreaking for junior league fans who had closely followed the team, particularly in the latest run to the WHL Finals. But it is not the first time Manitoba has seen a departure from the league.
The Flin Flon Bombers
The Flin Flon Bombers, who were Memorial Cup winners in 1956-57, migrated through a number of leagues before joining the WCJHL (Later the WCHL and eventually the WHL). Once there, the Bombers continued to pile on championships, including the 1969 league and CHL titles. The team moved to Edmonton in 1978, spending one season as the Oil Kings, then to Great Falls as the Americans and finally to Spokane, WA where they spent two seasons as the Flyers. The team is now defunct.
The Original Winnipeg Jets
The original Winnipeg Jets weren’t, in fact, the WHA team. Instead, the moniker arose for the newly-founded WCJHL team in 1967. That nickname survived until 1973, when the club was renamed the Winnipeg Clubs. In 1976, the name changed again, this time to the Winnipeg Monarchs, who existed for just one season before moving to Calgary to first become the Wranglers before eventually finding a permanent home in Lethbridge as the Hurricanes.
The Winnipeg Warriors
In 1980, another attempt at WHL hockey came about with the birth of the Winnipeg Warriors. That team, which featured future Jets Darren Boyko and Randy Gilhen, lasted until 1984 before moving to Moose Jaw, SK, where they currently play as the Warriors.
The departure leaves the Brandon Wheat Kings, once again, as the only Manitoba-based WHL team. Their history dates back to the 1930s and have been part of the WHL’s various incarnations since 1967.