Tuesday, July 29, 2014
July by the Numbers returns once again to Cincinnati for jersey #29.
When the owner of the ECHL's Cincinnati Cyclones was awarded a new International Hockey League franchise for the 1992-93 season, he retained the Cyclones identity for his new IHL franchise while moving his ECHL club to Birmingham, Alabama and renaming that club the Bulls.
The new IHL club missed the playoffs in year one, something that would never happen to them again.
Center Len Barrie arrived for the 1993-94 season and led the club with 116 points (second in the IHL) while Patrick Lebeau's 47 goals led the Cyclones in that category. The team made a great stride forward, leaping from 27 wins and 61 points to 49 wins and 107 points while Pokey Reddick went 31-12-6 in goal. Cincinnati then won their first ever playoff series by defeating the Kalamzoo Wings 4-1 before losing in the next round.
They equalled their 49 wins in 1994-95, but raised their point total to 113, led by Dave Tomlinson's 110 points, which was also good for second in the IHL. The again won a playoff round by defeating cross-state Cleveland.
Ron Smith took over as head coach of the Cyclones for the 1995-96season and would be the only coach to ever command the club from that point forward. Tomlinson again led the club in scoring as they recorded their third consecutive 100 point season, this time reaching a franchise record 51 wins. The Cyclones then went on a nice playoff run, sweeping Atlanta in three games, eliminating Kalamazoo (now renamed Michigan) in a hard fought seven game series before falling in the semifinals to Orlando in seven games, concluding with a heartbreaking 1-0 loss at home.
While the Cyclones would not top 100 points again, they would remain consistently competitive, totaling between 92 and 97 points for the remainder of their five seasons in the IHL.
The 1997-98 season saw Todd Simon lead the club with 105 points as, he too, finished second in league scoring. It would not be until the 1999-00 season that they Cyclones would escape the second round of the playoffs when they were one of six teams to receive a bye in round one and then downed Orlando 4-2 in the second round before dropping a series to Grand Rapids.
Their final season of 2000-01 saw the Cyclones raise their point total to 97, their highest since 1996, but their season came to a quick end with a 4-1 defeat by Orlando.
Following the 2000-01 season, the IHL ceased operations and six of the 11 remaining clubs joined the American Hockey League, but the Cyclones were not one of them due to the presence of the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks, members of the AHL since 1997, just seven miles up the road.
Don Biggs ended up as the franchise's all-time leading scorer with 412 points, leading Gilbert Dionne's 336 and Paul Lawless' 304. The best known Cyclones to go on to NHL careers include Erik Cole, Bob Boughner, David Tanabe and Jan Bulis.
The decline of the league brought an end to the nine year run of the Cyclones in the IHL, but not the Cyclones identity, which was sold to the owners of the ECHL's Miami Matadors, who moved their then dormant franchise to Cincinnati for the 2001-02 season, where they continue to play today.
Today's featured jersey is a 1995-96 Cincinnati Cyclones Jeff Greenlaw jersey. This shocking yellow jersey was the Cyclones alternate jersey, as their main dark jersey was black in color. For their first season of 1992-93, the Cyclones home jerseys were actually silver dazzle cloth before reverting to the traditional white in 1993-94. Their road jerseys also alternated between black and also red from season to season, with red also being used for alternate jerseys as well during their seemingly ever-changing looks.
In a moment straight out of the movie "Slap Shot", Cyclones coach Don Jackson scales the glass to get into a fight with the Atlanta Knights mascot!