Firstar Center

100 Broadway
Cincinnati, OH 45202
(513) 241-1818

Hockey Capacity:

Cincinnati Cyclones (IHL)
Cincinnati Mighty Ducks (AHL)

Former Tenants:
Cincinnati Stingers (WHA) 1975-1979
Cincinnati Stingers (CHL) 1979-1980
Cincinnati Tigers (CHL) 1981-1982
Firstar Center

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The Cincinnati Stingers were the Queen City's entry in the World Hockey Association. Playing at Riverfront Coliseum (renamed The Crown then the Firstar Center), they were the first expansion franchise in the WHA. Awarded in 1973, they did not start play until 1975, as the Coliseum was still being built. They adopted the "Stingers" nickname in 1974. Even though they did not field a team until 1975, they were busy participating in the drafts, and signing players to minor league contracts, so several players were already Stinger property when 1975 came around. Upon the fold of the Chicago Cougars and Baltimore Blades, the WHA created the Denver Spurs to join the league with the Stingers. The Stingers named Terry Slater coach. The club finished out the season (more than the Spurs could do), and ended up in fourth place, just missing the playoffs. A rivalry had developed with the Cleveland Crusaders, although this was short lived, as the Crusaders moved to St. Paul in 1976. Attendance increased the following season, and the Stingers finished in second place, getting knocked out of the playoffs by the Indianapolis Racers.

In 1977, Cincinnati, along with Edmonton, Quebec, Winnipeg, New England, and Houston applied to the NHL for admission. This would have continued the rivalry with Cleveland, but it was voted down. Cincinnati started the 1977-78 season with high hopes, having lured coach Jacques Demers from Indianapolis. Cincinnati spent most of the season in last place, and financial crisis developed. However, the fans kept coming, and owners Brian Heekin III and Bill DeWitt were able to pull through. For 1978-79, the WHA's final season, the Stingers finished in fifth place and once again qualified for the playoffs, although they were eliminated by the New England Whalers. Along with Birmingham, the owners agreed to take a cash payment and fold the Stingers at season's end.

The Birmingham Bulls and Cincinnati Stingers, the two teams to play in the last WHA season but not join the NHL, did not actually fold when the merger occurred. The two teams joined the Central Hockey League. The Stingers lasted only one year in the CHL, and the Bulls lasted two, folding at the end of 1980-81.

Information on this page is from The Complete Historical and Statistical Reference to the World Hockey Association 1972-1979; by Scott Adam Surgent as written by Andrew Stiffler

On November 20, 1998 J. B. Maguire, wrote: Some further info about the Riverfront Coliseum:

  • It was designed by the same contractor which designed "The Met" in Bloomington. The exterior was quite different, but the interior was patterned after The Met. Like The Met, it also had random or "shotgun" seating colors--it made the arena look fuller than it was some nights since the sections did not have a uniform seat color, so it was harder to tell which ones were empty.
  • The Crown is the home of the IHL's Cincinnati Cyclones. This is the only city where the IHL and the AHL goes head-to-head after the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim moved their AHL franchise from Baltimore to Cincinnati in 1997. The Cincinnati Mighty Ducks play out of Cincinnati Gardens, which the Cyclones had vacated in favor of The Crown for part of their 1996-97 schedule and permanently thereafter.


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