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Pittsburgh Hockey History

The Steel City has long been known for hockey long before the NHL took up residence in the city. Way back in 1922, the Pittsburgh Yellow Jackets were one of the earliest teams in the city. They started as an amateur club, and in 1922 joined the USAHA. They would spend four seasons in that league, winning the USHA Championship in 1924 and 1925, the second win coming over their local rival, the Fort Pitt Hornets. After a hiauts, they played two seasons in the IHL, 1930-31 and 1931-32. 

The Pittsburgh Shamrocks were a one-year wonder in the IHL all the way back in 1935-36. The team played at Duquesne Gardens, where they shared the ice with the already established Pittsburgh Hornets of the EAHL. In their only season, the Shamrocks would go 18-27-1 and finish last in their division. 

Probably the most important pre-NHL team in the Steel City were the Hornets. They attracted huge crowds to Duqusene Gardens and later to the newly opened Civic Arena in the 1960s. 

Through the 1955-56 season the Hornets were competitive in the AHL every year. They made the playoffs in 14 of 20 seasons, and made six Finals appearances, finally winning the Calder Cup in 1952 and 1955. During this time, they sported a 'P' logo on their jerseys and generally had red and white uniforms to match those of their NHL affiliate in Detroit. By the 1950s, their uniforms did what many other teams in Pittsburgh wore, and became black and gold. After the Civic Arena was completed, the Hornets started back up for the 1961-62 season. During the 60s, the team sported an angry, hockey stick swinging Hornet as their logo. Two years later, the Hornets made the playoffs in their third season since restarting, and won 40 games. By 1966, the NHL had awarded an expansion franchise to Pittsburgh, likely in no small part to the Hornets' success. But this meant that the Hornets had to go. In their last season, 1966-67, the Hornets would win their third Calder Cup as the franchise's time expired. They swept Rochester in the Finals in four games, with long-time Maple Leaf Billy Harris scoring the franchise's final goal.