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Sep 14, 2020

Little did we know when we dropped our minor league hockey tribute to the 1990s ECHL Columbus Chill in our Episode 169 with David Paitson & Craig Merz earlier this year that it would not only become our most listened-to episode of 2020 (so far), but would also unearth a project devoted to the colorful history of the forgotten teams that preceded it.

Columbus native and Cincinnati creative agency professional Eric Weltner ("International Incidents"), previews his soon-to-be-released 80-minute documentary of "old-time hockey gold" devoted to the three clubs in the rock 'em, sock 'em International Hockey League that called Ohio's capital city (and the scruffy Ohio Expo Fairgrounds Coliseum) home during the late 1960s and early 1970s:

  • The Columbus Checkers (1966-70): the city's first-ever professional hockey franchise - a "Plan B" sports ownership pursuit for Cleveland's entrepreneurial Schmeltzer brothers, after just missing out on the NBA's Boston Celtics;
  • The Columbus Golden Seals (1971-73): Charlie O. Finley's malnourished attempt to create a feeder team for his floundering California NHL namesake - whose woeful 25-117 record set IHL futility records; and
  • The Columbus Owls (1973-77): mortgage executive Al Savill's franchise rehab that handed full managerial reigns to local hockey legend "Moe" Bartoli - undermined by Savill's 1975 purchase of the NHL Penguins.