The Lexington Men O’ War were a one-year wonder, playing the 2002-03 season at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. When the previous franchise in the city, the Kentucky Thoroughblades, were relocated to Cleveland the Men O’ War took their placed and continued to play off the city’s horse racing lineage with their moniker a reference to Man O’ War, the horse from the 1920s that is regarded as likely the best of all time.
Unfortunately, the Men O’ War weren’t quite as memorable and were hastily put together. The team wasn’t formally announced in the local newspapers until July 31st, about two-and-a-half months before the start of the season. The team ended up halfway decent on the ice, going 34-31-7 in their single season and making the playoffs. They can boast one NHL alum too, goalie Mike Smith played 27 games for them.
Towards the end of their first campaign, the writing was on the wall. News of a transfer of ownership or sale of the team broke and the team was placing ads in the paper that it needed to secure 1,200 season tickets by March 1st (the season ended in April). By the time they were knocked out of the playoffs, the ownership sale went bad and left the team without a willing owner in addition to being out of a lease with the arena. Unfortunately, Lexington hasn’t had a pro hockey team since.