The Alaska Gold Kings or Fairbanks Gold Kings are a historic team in Alaska, and their start dates back to the 1970s. The Gold Kings were a senior men’s team and played independent outside of any league for much of the 70s, 80s and into the 90s.
In the lower 48, teams barnstormed or played independent schedules early in hockey history (1940s and prior) but after WWII most teams were attached to a league. Given the geographic challenges of that, the Gold Kings improvised and played whoever they could get to come up to Fairbanks. Many times that included international teams! In 1986 they played the Soviet Union in Alaska, and they also made trips to Norway and France in the 1990s to play those nations. Closer to home, the Gold Kings developed a heated rivalry with their in-state and also independent rivals, the Anchorage Wolverines. The Gold Kings were also a force in the US’ senior men’s circuit, as they won five national titles at that level.
In the 1990s, the Gold Kings did join a league - the West Coast Hockey League (WCHL). The WCHL was a successor to the Pacific Hockey League (PHL) which only lasted one year. The WCHL was on par with the likes of the WPHL or ECHL. At long last, the Gold Kings were in a formal league although it was somewhat unstable with teams coming and going every year. The Gold Kings last two fairly unsuccessful seasons in the league from 1995-97 before ownership moved the team to Denver and renamed them the Colorado Gold Kings. Unfortunately the storied Gold Kings name was no more in Alaska. However their place was filled as of 2023, the Fairbanks Ice Dogs have spent 20 successful seasons as an amateur team in the city.