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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: A step forward

   June 3, 1969 -- This might be the biggest day in Buffalo's hockey history that few know about.

   A local group headed by Seymour and Northrup Knox had tried to purchase the Oakland franchise earlier in the year, but that plan fell through because of a series of roadblocks. The Los Angeles Kings didn't want Oakland to move to Buffalo, leaving the Kings alone on the West Coast. A Vancouver group also was in the picture, with hopes of getting a team at some point.

   The NHL decided the best course of action for the time being was to essentially do nothing. That thrilled the 4,000 paying hockey fans of the Bay Area, but didn't help the Seals much. However, the Knox group did acquire 20 percent of the franchise on this date.

   That was important, because it allowed Seymour Knox to become an alternate governor of the Seals franchise. It was a key to the door that led to major league hockey in Buffalo.

   "I think this was the absolute key move," Knox said years later. "It was part of the master game plan. We were privy to the group which set the conditions and terms by which the league would expand. I made it a point of attending every single governors' meetings."

When the NHL was ready to expand in December, Buffalo would be ready.

--- Budd Bailey


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About Sports, Ink

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has served in a variety of roles in Buffalo sports in the past 35 years, including reporter, talk-show host, baseball announcer, public relations staffer and author. He covers the Bandits and running for The News when not working as an editor.