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Because of Salt Lake’s entry into the International Hockey League in 1984, what was once a Midwestern bus league has expanded into major league markets from coast to coast and boasts talent half a step away from the National Hockey League.

When the Eagles moved to the Delta Center in 1991, it spelled the end of an era. Though roomy and new, the DC lacks the gloried history of the Salt Palace. Through nearly 1,000 hockey games, the Salt Palace hosted eight league championship series, two Central Hockey League All Star games and countless memories and traditions, from between period puck shoots to Bikini Night. It started in the days when many goalies went without facemasks and most skaters played helmetless, when wooden dashers and wire screen defined the rink.

Eagle legend Lyle Bradley had an assist on that goal. His retired jersey, No. 11, hangs from Delta Center rafters as do five championship banners, three CHL, two IHL. The other jersey hanging there is Doug Palazzari’s No. 24. “Pizza” led the Eagles to two CHL titles and was one of the most talented American skaters. Another American who starred for the Eagles in a sport still dominated by Canadians was current Pittsburgh Penguin Joey Mullen. He holds the NHL record for career points by an American and has skated on three Stanley Cup championship teams and two Adams Cup Eagle teams. Mullen has enjoyed more than any other Eagle, and it all started in Salt Lake.

On defense, the Eagles have featured Moose Vasko, Brent Meeke, Steve Harrison, Paul Terbenche, Glenn Patrick, Neil Labatte, Len Frig and Ken Sabourin. Smooth forwards like Bradley, Mullen and Palazzari, Guyle Fielder, Rich Chernomaz, Charlie Simmer, Richie Hansen, Marc Bureau, Theoren Fleury and Scott MacLeod collectively scored almost as many points as the Salt Palace had bricks. Holt, Floyd Thomson, Jim Nill, Curt Brackenbury, Rick Bowness, Dave Hrechkosy and Perry did the dirty work in the corners. Enforcers Paul Kruse, Kerry Clark, Stu Grimson, Martin Simard, Reggie Fleming, Paul Tantardini and Rick Hayward kept the Eagle penalty box warm.

Too many faces go unmentioned: Fans, management, trainers, stickboys, rinkrats, ushers, pressbox aides, popcorn and soda vendors; they, too, helped make hockey something to look forward Cheap Jerseys from China
to. As the Golden Eagles’ 25th anniversary season comes to a close, fans everywhere mourn the loss of a hockey team. We are all genuinely fortunate to be able to recall so many fond memories of the past quarter century. Isn’t it ironic that the Golden Eagles’ final home opponent is the San Diego Gulls? Anyone care to bet on the score?

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