Baton Rouge Kingfish Hockey Apparel
Welcome to our exclusive collection of unique Baton Rouge Kingfish hockey apparel, featuring one of the most logos in minor league hockey: a ferocious, hockey-playing fish! After you browse our exciting selection of Baton Rouge Kingfish hockey jerseys, hats, hoodies, t-shirts, and other merchandise, be sure to read the team history of the Baton Rouge Kingfish below. We are a family-run, hockey-loving small business dedicated to bringing back the history and designs of fondly remembered and long-lost hockey teams from throughout hockey history.
Baton Rouge Kingfish History
presented by Vintage Ice Hockey
Who were the Baton Rouge Kingfish?
The Baton Rouge Kingfish started play at the Riverside Centroplex (now River Center) in March of 1996. The Kingfish franchise came to fruition during the boom of arena football and minor league hockey that took place in the US during the ‘90s and early ‘00s. By 2001, there were eight minor league hockey teams in Louisiana. In comparison, today there is only one: the Mudbugs out of Shreveport.
The Kingfish got immediate attention by selecting Pierre McGuire as their head coach. McGuire was a head coach in Hartford and an assistant in Ottawa, but accepting the head position with the Kingfish proved to be his coaching swan song. He retired after one season to begin his 20+ career in broadcasting.
McGuire and the Kingfish didn’t have a very impressive first season. They had a “middle of the road” performance, going 31-33 and missing the playoffs. Upon McGuire’s retirement, the Kingfish were the topic of discussion in the hockey circuit once again when they hired legendary enforcer Dave Schultz as coach. Schultz and McGuire started a trend for the Kingfish: they weren’t the only coaches to leave the program after one season. In fact, the Kingfish went through eight coaches throughout their seven seasons.
The Kingfish remained consistent in their successes on the ice each season. Their record remained mediocre, but they did make three playoff appearances before relocating to Canada in 2003.
The Southern Louisiana Rivalry
The Louisiana IceGators and New Orleans Brass were also prominent hockey teams during this time in Southern Louisiana. The IceGators, Brass, and Kingfish had an intense rivalry that each team profited from. With hockey being so popular during this time, the rivalry between the three teams drew a lot of fans to games. When the Kingfish first moved into Baton Rouge, the were drawing around 6,000 fans per game. The IceGators drew around 11,000 fans per game in their prime.
Despite their great success in the ‘90s, all three franchises suffered huge profit losses during the ‘00s. By their last season, the Kingfish only averaged about 1,700 fans in attendance, and the IceGators’ attendance fell to around 5,000. The Brass were forced out of business after they lost their lease at New Orleans Arena when the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets came to town in 2002.
With attendance and profits steadily decreasing over the seven years the Kingfish had been in operation, ownership announced they would suspend operations for the franchise to evaluate their options. Ultimately, they decided to sell and the team was moved to British Columbia, Canada where they played seven more seasons before folding completely.
The Kingfish Legacy
Notable Kingfish alums include Alexandre Burrows, Cam Brown, Bryon Richardson, John Hedberg, and Shane Hnidy. To this day, the Kingfish’s seven seasons remain the only time New Orleans every hosted a professional hockey team.
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