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Early Baltimore Hockey History

1895-1933       Records in The United States Hockey Hall of Fame indicate that Baltimore had possibly the earliest organized hockey games in the United States. This early hockey was associated with Johns Hopkins University. Within the same story, Baltimore is also credited with building the first indoor arena in North America with artificial ice. High school hockey in Baltimore was being played as early as 1910.

1933-1956       During this time period, The Sports Centre was the place to go for amateur hockey in Baltimore. It was built in 1932 at North Ave and Charles Street. The Maryland Scholastic Association (MSA) high school league operated for 23 winters, starting in 1933-34. Games were held on Tuesday afternoon and Friday Night at the Sports Centre. High School teams during this era included: Calvert Hall, Loyola, Mt St. Joseph, Poly, City, Gilman, Forest Park and The Tome School of Port Deposit. In the late 1940’s, an unlimited age amateur hockey league played at the Sports Centre. It was known as The Baltimore Hockey League and operated for 3 winters, from 1946-47 to 1948-49. Most of the players had played previously in the local MSA league. Teams in this league included: Peterson Esso Blades, Bowers Batteries, Sports Centre, Northampton, Champion Brickyard and Betholine Braves. The professional {really a semi-pro or high caliber amateur} Baltimore hockey teams during this era were the Orioles, U.S. Coast Guard Cutters, Blades and Clippers.  They played at Carlin’s Park Iceland rink in the Park Circle area near Mondawmin. In early January of 1956, it was announced that the Sports Centre property had been sold to a bank and the rink would be closed. Plans were made to shift the high school league’s games to Carlin’s. Two weeks later, on January 23, 1956 Carlin’s Iceland burned to the ground in an 8 alarm fire. As a result of the fire, the high school league disbanded and the Eastern Hockey League Baltimore Clippers were immediately relocated to Charlotte, NC.

1956-59           3 new ice rinks opened and local hockey was played at Meadowbrook Ice Rink (near Falls Rd. and Kelly Ave.), the outdoor rink at Memorial Stadium (on the parking lot, just west of the third base side stands) and the outdoor rink at Westview Shopping Center. The local unlimited age amateur team took the name Baltimore Clippers after the professional EHL Clippers had moved to Charlotte. They were later renamed the Baltimore Jr. Clippers, when the American Hockey League’s Baltimore Clippers began play in 1962. Youth hockey began play with the Baltimore Boys Hockey Program in 1961. For additional historical information on early youth hockey in Baltimore, please visit the official web site of Baltimore Youth Hockey.

1960-68           In the fall of 1960, a league was formed for Baltimore and Washington unlimited age players. It was named the Metro League and was part of the Potomac Amateur Ice Hockey Association (PAIHA) based in Washington. The Metro League’s Baltimore games were played at Meadowbrook and the Memorial Stadium rink. The Washington games were played at the Pentagon outdoor rink and the 8000 seat Washington Coliseum. Some of the early teams included: Baltimore’s Monro-Matic Mercurys, Washington Presidents, Rockville Rebels, Gallaudet College, Sholl’s Cafeteria, Miller’s Restaurant, Bethesda Canucks, Arlington Patriots and University of Maryland. The Mercurys’ skaters included former players from the MSA high school league that had disbanded in 1956. Many of the Mercurys’ players played with the Baltimore Jr. Clippers also. The Jr. Clippers played an independent schedule through 1964-65. Their home games were regularly played at 4PM on every Saturday that the AHL Baltimore Clippers played at the Baltimore Civic Center. They played in the Middle Atlantic Hockey League (MAHL) for the 1965-66 season. The other MAHL entries at that time were: Washington Chiefs, Pittsburgh, Asbury Park, New York and Long Island. With the demise of the MAHL after one season, the Jr. Clippers entered the Metro League for the 1966-67 season. In 1968-69, the Metro League’s name was changed to the Chesapeake Hockey League to better reflect the local area.

7 Time Chesapeake Hockey League Champions!!