California (Golden Seals) Dreamin' for Kings coach
Although coach Terry Murray is new to the Kings, he long ago played a part in California hockey history.
Murray was drafted in 1970 by the late, lamented Golden Seals, who were part of the NHL's 1967 expansion. Their initial name was the Oakland Seals, but they became the California Golden Seals in 1970-71 after Charles Finley bought them. Finley also designed the then-radical uniforms in what he called kelly green, California gold and polar bear white.
Murray, a steady, fifth-defenseman type, played only 90 games over three seasons, recording 17 assists and no goals. He left town before they did, but only barely: he moved on to the Flyers' organization before the 1975-76 season and the Golden Seals moved to Cleveland for the 1976-77 season.
Murray said that somewhere in the attic of his family home in Canada he still has a pair of the white skates the Seals were required to wear. And he revealed a secret: the boots weren't white -- they were black but were covered with white shoe polish.
"They got pretty heavy by the end of the season because there were so many coats of shoe polish on them," he said.
Although many of Charlie Finley's marketing efforts in hockey (and baseball) were derided when he introduced them, some have become standard marketing practices.
"The only thing they're not following through with is buying us suits and luggage after a win," Murray said. "He'd come in and say, 'Go downtown to this store here and pick out a suit you want or a piece of luggage or shoes, whatever you want.' Didn't happen often because we didn't win many games."
The teams might have been terrible but Murray enjoyed his time there.
"Incredible," he said. "There were some fun memories."
-- Helene Elliott
Top photo: Kings Coach Terry Murray confers with his players during a preseason game last month. Credit: Danny Moloshok / Associated Press
Image of Murray's trading card courtesy of sealshockey.com.