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1966 California Seals NHL Vintage Zippo Lighter - Inaugural Season NOS Unfired

SKU BF000551

This 1966 NHL Expansion team lighter was created for the California Seals inaugural season into the league in 1967. The team played for a bit in San Francisco and was then purchased by the A's Charles O. Finley and moved to Oakland.   

The unfired lighter is perfect on the face and inside, as clean as can be. It presents really well in the box. The box is exceptionally crisp and clean. The reverse side of this lighter has a number of pit marks from the 56-years of storage in the box (see the photo). That is the only thing that keeps this lighter from being gem mint. For display purposes its 3 color etch & paint is sharp and a rare team logo graphic. Tremendous history as this team was disbanded after a number of years of play in the NHL. This lighter has as much value to a pro sports/NHL oddity collector as it does to a zippo collector. We are grading this Excellent 92 - (the front side is 100% mint)

The California Golden Seals were a professional ice hockey club that competed in the National Hockey League (NHL) from 1967 to 1976. Initially named the California Seals, the team was renamed the Oakland Seals partway through the 1967–68 season (on December 8, 1967) and then to the California Golden Seals in 1970, after two games as the Bay Area Seals. The Seals were one of six teams added to the league as part of the 1967 NHL expansion. Based in Oakland, California, they played their home games at the Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum Arena. The Seals were never successful at the gate, qualifying for the postseason in only two of their nine seasons and failing to obtain a winning record in each, and eventually moved to Cleveland to become the Cleveland Barons in 1976, only to cease operations two years later. They are the only franchise from the 1967 expansion to never reach the Stanley Cup Finals.

In 1966, the NHL announced that six expansion teams would be added as a new division for the 1967–68 season, officially because of a general desire to expand the league to new markets, but also to squelch the Western Hockey League's threat to turn into a major league. The San Francisco Seals were one such team from the WHL. The NHL awarded an expansion team to Barry Van Gerbig for the San Francisco Bay area. Van Gerbig decided to purchase the WHL club with the intent of bringing them into the NHL as an expansion team the following season.

Van Gerbig had planned to have the team play in a new arena in San Francisco, but the new arena was never built. He decided to move the team across the Bay from the Cow Palace in Daly City to Oakland to play in the new Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum Arena. He renamed the club the California Seals. This was done in an attempt to appeal to fans from San Francisco, and to address complaints from the other NHL teams that Oakland was not considered a major league city and would not be a draw for fans.

A year later, Van Gerbig brought the Seals into the NHL as an expansion team and retained a portion of the club's WHL roster such as Charlie Burns, George Swarbrick, Gerry Odrowski, Tom Thurlby, and Ron Harris. While the Bay Area was not considered a particularly lucrative hockey market, the terms of a new television agreement with CBS called for two of the expansion teams to be located in California.

While the WHL Seals had drawn well at the Cow Palace, the team drew poorly in Oakland once they entered the NHL. The plan to bring fans in from San Francisco failed, and on November 6, 1967, Van Gerbig announced that the team's name would be changed to the Oakland Seals (although the league did not register the change until December) to focus more on the East Bay.

Collectors Flame General Grading System
90+ Excellent - Excellent condition reflects a lighter that has no damage to its design but may have slight exceptionally light scratches or blemishes that are not that easily seen without close inspection. It may have been fired and used very gently.
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