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Top 10 Sports Teams That No Longer Exist

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: George Pacheco
Gone, but not forgotten. For this list, we'll be ranking the most memorable or missed sports teams that have bitten the dust. Our countdown includes Hartford Whalers, Montreal Expos, Baltimore Colts, and more!
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Top 10 Sports Teams that Don’t Exist Anymore


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Sports Teams that Don’t Exist Anymore.

For this list, we’ll be ranking the most memorable or missed sports teams that have bitten the dust. Teams that have recently moved, who have also kept the same team name and have more or less stuck to the same branding will not be included.

Know of any we missed? Let us know in the comments!

#10: Hartford Whalers

The Whalers weren’t originally based in Hartford Connecticut. In fact, they were first known as the New England Whalers back when they played in the World Hockey Association. This changed when the WHL was absorbed into the National Hockey League in 1979 and moved from the city of Boston to Hartford. Despite some playoff appearances, the team often struggled and could never play on a consistent level. Attendance at games and the inability to come to terms on a new arena were both issues by the end of the Hartford Whalers’ existence. In 1997, owner Peter Karmanos Jr. announced the team would move to North Carolina, and they went on to become the Hurricanes.

#9: Vancouver Grizzlies

Expansion teams can often be a hit or miss prospect, both in terms of success and popularity. The Vancouver Grizzlies arrived to the National Basketball Association along with the Toronto Raptors in 1995, but only made it five years or so before relocating to Memphis in 2001. What spurred the move ultimately came down to one thing: winning. The Grizzlies didn’t make much of an impact while playing out of Canada. They never made it to the playoffs, and lost way more games than they won. In fact, for a time, they held some of the worst losing streaks in NBA history, dropping anywhere between nineteen and twenty-three games in a row.

#8: Quebec Nordiques

As we’ve seen thus far, there is a LOT of shifting between cities when it comes to the wide world of sports. Teams come and go, but Quebec City is one of the few to only have two teams to their names, both in the National Hockey League. One of them was the Bulldogs, who only played a single season in 1919. The other, the Nordiques, are more fondly remembered, despite massive early struggles to maintain a winning season. This changed after a tumultuous 1992 draft debacle with Eric Lindros, which resulted in the Nordiques acquiring a number of players who helped turn the team around. Despite the ensuing success, the team was just in too small of a market to play, and they soon shipped off to Denver. Although they were able to claim the Stanley Cup as the Colorado Avalanche, their legacy in Canada continues.

#7: Houston Oilers

In the 20th century, mergers have proven to be a fairly common practice in the sporting world. In 1970, the American Football League merged with the National Football League after a ten-year run. The Houston Oilers were one of the teams from the AFL that made the jump to the NFL. The team had its fair share of ups…and downs. While quarterback Warren Moon made a name for himself as the team’s star, they also became infamous after blowing a thirty-five to three lead against the Buffalo Bills. After failing to get a new stadium for the team, owner Bud Adams relocated the team to Tennessee in 1997. They are now the Titans, and although Houston now has their own team, let’s just say that...well...things are not going so great down there.

#6: Minnesota North Stars

The Minnesota North Stars made the Stanley Cup playoffs quite a few times during the course of their twenty-five-year career, even making it all the way to the Stanley Cup finals on two separate occasions. Unfortunately, the team could never pull off the win. Despite some strong winning seasons, the North Stars would eventually pack their things and move to Dallas in 1993. Several reasons have been cited for the relocation, including a failure to upgrade their arena, poor attendance during their losing seasons and, reportedly, a sexual harassment lawsuit against owner Norm Green. But Minnesota hockey fans didn’t have to wait too long for a new hockey team, as the state was granted an NHL franchise in 1997. The team would make their debut in 2000 as the Minnesota Wild.

#5: Brooklyn Dodgers

Believe it or not, the Dodgers weren’t always based out of Los Angeles. In fact, the history of the Brooklyn Dodgers dates all the way back to the late 1800s. This iteration of the team was in existence from 1884 all the way to 1957, and was a big part in making the “Great American Pastime” what it is today. Along with 12 National League pennants and a world championship under their belts, the Brooklyn Dodgers were the first team to ever host a paid admission game, and were responsible for breaking the color barrier in 1947 with one legendary player, Jackie Robinson. This alone makes them hugely important, but all good things must end, and after a unanimous vote at the mid-season owners meeting in 1957, the Brooklyn Dodgers made the move to L.A later that year.

#4: Montreal Expos

The Montreal Expos held the distinction of being the first team in Major League Baseball to have their home base outside of the United States. They’re fondly remembered by their fans, despite failing to muster any winning seasons during their first ten seasons. The early nineties were a great time to be an Expos fan, especially in 1994, although the team’s winning ways were waylaid by a player’s strike. It marked the beginning of the end for the team, as the Expos were never the same afterwards. Many of their best players were sold off, and their winning records became a thing of the past. The losing, along with financial troubles, resulted in a move to Washington, with a new team name: the Nationals.

#3: Baltimore Colts

One can’t discuss the history of the Baltimore Colts without a mention of one iconic quarterback: Johnny Unitas. He helped shape the Colts into a winning franchise, and they captured three NFL Championships and a Super Bowl. However, after negotiations to upgrade their stadium went sour, team management made the controversial and unpopular move to Indianapolis in 1984, much to the irritation of Baltimore citizens. The manner in which the move took place left a sour taste in their mouths. In the end however, there’s no denying the impact the Colts have had in their respective cities.

#2: Minneapolis Lakers

The Minneapolis Lakers made a name for themselves in the National Basketball League, prior to officially joining the NBA in 1947. The early days of the franchise also saw Minneapolis win a number of championships during the 1950s. It’s difficult to separate the Lakers from their more well-known home base of Los Angeles, however, and the team actually hadn’t been playing that well and attendance at home games were quite low prior to their West Coast move in 1960. Today, the Lakers are as synonymous with L.A. as sunshine and the movie industry, but for a time, the team had a completely different vibe.

#1: Seattle SuperSonics

As we’ve seen with the other defunct teams on this list, the construction of a new stadium or arena can often be a make-or-break deal when it comes to the longevity of a franchise. Case in point? The Seattle SuperSonics, whose run in the Pacific Northwest was cut short after the public wouldn’t help fund the construction of a new 500 million dollar home base back in 2006. Prior to this, the SuperSonics were a force to be reckoned with during the mid-seventies and early eighties. The team even won the NBA title in 1979. Unfortunately, The SuperSonics took a dive after this, struggling to compete as the eighties dawned into the nineties and beyond. Eventually, a relocation was announced, and the Sonics became the Oklahoma City Thunder.
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