Start My Family Tree Welcome to Geni, home of the world's largest family tree.
Join Geni to explore your genealogy and family history in the World's Largest Family Tree.

New York Golden Blades (WHA)

« Back to Projects Dashboard

Project Tags

The New York Raiders were an ice hockey team and founding member of the World Hockey Association based in New York City. Intended to be the WHA's flagship franchise, its short tenure was a result of being unable to compete with the National Hockey League's established New York Rangers, and the expansion New York Islanders. After its inaugural season, the team was known as the New York Golden Blades and eventually relocated to Cherry Hill, New Jersey, becoming the Jersey Knights.

History of the New York Golden Blades

New York Raiders

The New York Raiders participated in the first WHA draft. Its coach was Camille Henry and the very first draft pick – second overall – was Al Sims. Sims did not, however, play for the Raiders, but he signed with the Boston Bruins instead.

The team was initially slated to play in the brand-new Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Long Island. However, Nassau County didn't consider the WHA a major league and wanted nothing to do with the Raiders. Nassau County retained William Shea to get an NHL team to play in the new building. The NHL responded by hastily awarding a franchise to Long Island—the New York Islanders. The Islanders' lease with the Coliseum was structured in such a way to effectively lock out non-NHL teams.

The Raiders were forced to play in Madison Square Garden, where they faced being tenants to their major competitor, the New York Rangers. The situation rapidly became untenable, with an onerous lease and poor attendance. The three original owners defaulted, and the league ended up taking control of the team midway through the season.

New York Golden Blades/Jersey Knights

Following the season, New York real estate mogul Ralph Brent bought the team and renamed it the New York Golden Blades. While they managed to acquire Andre Lacroix from the Philadelphia Blazers, he was essentially all the franchise had going for it. The team replaced their original orange and blue uniforms with purple and gold uniforms of a unique design, and to coincide with the new identity, the team started the season wearing white skates with gold-colored blades.

The situation improved very little from the previous season; at times, the Golden Blades played before crowds of only 500 people (in an 18,000-seat arena). Sinking in debt, Brent surrendered the team to the league in late November, 20 games into the season, with a 6-12-2 record. Veteran player Harry Howell, who had been recently picked up by the Golden Blades after being released from the Los Angeles Kings, was elevated to player-coach, and ordered the team's white skates painted black.

Soon after, the WHA moved the team to Cherry Hill, New Jersey, a suburb of Philadelphia, and renamed it the Jersey Knights. While WHA trustee Howard Baldwin was quoted at the time by the Associated Press saying that "Hopefully, we will be back in New York next season with a strong owner to compete in that market," never again was there a WHA franchise in that area.