Tallahassee Tiger Sharks Apparel
Shop for unique Tallahassee Tiger Sharks merchandise. Our collection of Tallahassee Tiger Sharks hockey t-shirts, long sleeve shirts, hoodies, and sweatshirts will help you throw it back to 90s hockey in the Florida panhandle. Order your favorite Tallahassee Tiger Sharks apparel from Vintage Ice Hockey today!
Philadelphia Firebirds Jerseys
Our Seattle Ironmen jerseys are a custom design that is an homage to the sweaters of the original Ironmen, but is also unique in its own right. They have embroidered elements and fully cut and sewn seams for that old school jersey feel.
These jerseys feature embroidered "ironmen" logos sewn onto the chest of the jersey. The Ironmen usually only wore an "S" or the words "Seattle Ironmen" one their chest, so this is a customized chest logo.
The Ironmen did wear a white and dark color scheme with a mid-chest color split that we've captured here, along with a set of five stripes on both the arms and lower chest. All of these features are embroidered at the seams for that old school look and feel; nothing sublimated about it.
Further, we mimicked the two stars on each shoulder that the Ironmen wore to the best of out ability using modern production methods. Two stars are embroidered onto the jersey over each shoulder, including one red star for a pop of color.
Finally, the names and numbers. We do offer a blank option at a lower price point without names and numbers. If you'd like yours customized, we are keeping true to the Ironmen's original design with no numbers on the arms. On the back, we have an option for a stitched name bar with heatpress lettering and large heatpressed numbers across the back. Both the name and back numbers are red, to further add color to the Ironmen and bring what we believe to be their red, white and blue color scheme to the modern age.
How our jersey pre-orders work.
We're a small mom and pop shop and due to lack of well, everything, we are not able to customize our retro hockey jerseys on the fly. Instead, we need to send them out to get made in batches. To be able to offer customization, we open up individual jerseys for pre-orders when we debut them and again later on depending on demand for that particular jersey. So if you are interested in customization or an unusual size such as youth or goalie cuts, pre-order time is the time to buy! You never know when (or if) these jerseys might be available again.
All that said, we do plan to keep stock available continuously for blank jerseys in sizes small through 3XL for most teams. Please note that pre-order jerseys are expected to ship 2-3 months from the date the pre-order period ends and payment in full is required at the time of purchase. In stock blanks will ship on our normal timeframes and usually leave the warehouse within a couple of days. You can read our pre-order policy here.
Tallahassee Tiger Sharks History
presented by Vintage Ice Hockey
Who were the Tallahassee Tiger Sharks?
The Tallahassee Tiger Sharks spent seven seasons in the late 90s playing at the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center. The Tiger Sharks relocated from Huntsville, AL for the 1994-95 season.The team found immediate success on the ice, winning over 36 games each of their first three seasons, making the playoffs all three times. In 1995-96, they won a team record 42 games and advanced to the third round of the playoffs before losing to eventual champion Charlotte. During these years, the team received solid fan support with over 6,000 per game attending. Unfortunately, the team wouldn't fair as well on the ice later on, missing the playoffs four times and going above 36 wins only once in their final four seasons.
The Beginning of the Tiger Sharks
The beginning of the Tiger Sharks in Tallahassee was far from the beginning of the franchise. Though the Tiger Sharks moved to Tallahassee in 1994, the franchise was established in 1981. They settled in Florida after being housed in Tennessee, Virginia, and Alabama.
The Tiger Shark tale is very similar to many minor hockey league teams during the 1990s: they had a strong beginning when the franchise appeared in Tallahassee, but after the new wore off, the crowds dwindled until the team eventually moved elsewhere.
The Tiger Sharks drew crowds that towered around 6000 their first several years in Tallahassee. They were also very successful their first season, with a record of 36-25-7. Their first season ended with a second place finish in the West Division, and they only fell in the playoffs to the eventual league champion, Richmond.
They went on to win over 36 games in each of their first three seasons and made the playoffs for each season as well. In their 1995-96 seasons, they won a team record 42 games and advanced to the third round of the playoffs before losing to the eventual champion, Charlotte.
The Spark Fades…
The team’s success on the ice didn’t last in their later seasons. They missed the playoffs four times. They also only went above 36 points a season once in their last four seasons. By 1999, their crowd reached a record low at 2,728. Things also took a strange turn when the team was fined $50,000 and docked 15 points in the standings for circumventing the league salary cap and making payments to NHL and AHL teams for players. The penalties prevented the Tiger Sharks from participating in the playoffs.
The owner also moved the team to Macon, Georgia in June of 2001. The franchise continued as the Macon Whoopees.
While the beginning of the Tiger Sharks’ story is a tale as old as time for the minor league hockey circuit, the franchise is still in existence today. That’s not something we can say for many of the teams we showcase. After a year in Macon, the team moved to Lexington, Kentucky for one year. Their next move was to Utah where they became the Utah Grizzlies. The Grizzlies still take the ice today.
Manon Rheaume played one period in one game during the Tiger Sharks’ first season. Rheaume was a female goaltender who played for a lot of different teams and always helped them to draw in a crowd. Unfortunately, Rheaume gave away four goals during the one period she donned a Tiger Shark jersey.
Michael Ryder was the most noteworthy player to spend time with the Tiger Sharks. He joined the NHL with the Montreal Canadiens. Over the next few years, he had several 30 goal seasons with the Canadiens and Dallas Stars. In 2011, he won a Stanley Cup with the Boston Bruins.
Mark Streit, another NHL Cup Winner, spent some time with the Tiger Sharks as well. His career boasts 96 goals in 786 games.
Todd Reirden followed up his Tiger Sharks stint with a long time career as an NHL coach. He was eventually a cup winner with the Washington Capitals.
A Wild Ride & The Philly Firebird Legacy
While their inaugural season was definitely eventful, the Firebirds sustained their fair share of exciting moments throughout the rest of their time in the NAHL as well. They eventually found their stride and won the Lockhart Cup in 1976, compiling an impressing 45-20 regular season record and defeating the Beauce Jaros in the playoff finals. The following season, 1976-77, was a good one as well although they didn't win any titles.
Unfortunately, as the Firebirds’ luck was at an all-time high, the NAHL couldn’t say the same. The league collapsed before the 1977-78 season could begin. The Firebirds hustled to join the American Hockey League (AHL), but it was also struggling at the time and was also a significant step up in play. The Firebirds weren't terrible, but they didn't finish above .500 in either of their two AHL seasons. They both of their AHL seasons in Philadelphia, but continued to lose money and saw their fan attendance dip. Their last “Hail Mary” attempt at survival was to move to upstate New York and become the Syracuse Firebirds. Unfortunately, that move failed and the Firebird franchise ended in the spring of 1980.
As far as famous Firebirds go, Reggie Lemelin went on to attain great success after goaltending for the Firebirds. He stayed with the Firebirds all 5 years they were in Philadelphia and joined the NHL in 1978. He had a 15 year professional career with the Atlanta/Calgary Flames and Boston Bruins. Interestingly, Lemelin was drafted by the Flyers in 1974, so there's a photo out there of him in a Flyers uniform, but he never played for them. Lemelin would return to Philly to be a goalie coach for the Flyers in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Mike Eruzione, a 1980s Olympic hero, also had a brief stint with the Firebirds. He joined them for their last six games during their final season in Philly.
The infamous hockey film Slap Shot was also heavily influenced by the Firebirds and the rest of the NAHL. It is rumored that Paul Newman attended several Firebird games in order to prepare for his role in the movie. Mark Bousquet, who is 3rd from the right in the second row in the picture above, played an important role in the movie as Andre "Poodle" Lussier of the Syracuse Bulldogs.
While the Firebirds were a quick and tumultuous roller coaster of a hockey franchise, they proved that Philadelphia could support two pro hockey teams. The Philadelphia Phantoms also spent more than a decade as an AHL team in the city during the 1990s and 2000s.
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Note: Pre-order products ship in 2-3 months