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Born: 1994 – CHL expansion franchise
Folded: June 26, 2002

First Game: October 29, 1994 (L 6-5 @ Tulsa Oilers)
Last Game:
 March 30, 2002 (L 4-3 vs. Austin Ice Bats)

Levins Cup Championships: None

Freeman Coliseum (9,541)

Team Colors: Purple, Orange & Black

  • 1994-1997: Central Hockey League (Horn Chen, Ray Miron, et al.)
  • 1998-2002: David Elmore, Horn Chen, et al.

Logos

1994-1995

1996-1997

San Antonio Iguanas Statistics and History

Background

The Iguanas were a hard luck hockey outfit that slugged it out in the River City for the better part of a decade. The team’s off-ice competition proved even more formidable than their Central Hockey League rivals and ultimately drove the Iguanas out of business on two separate occasions.

On The Ice

1996-97 San Antonio Iguanas ProgramThe Iguanas first set up shop at the Freeman Coliseum in the fall of 1994. San Antonio was the first expansion franchise to come online in the Central Hockey League, a single entity low-level circuit that began play two years earlier in 1992.

The original coach of the Iguanas was former NHL star Bill Goldsworthy. The former Minnesota North Stars stalwart, then 50 years old, was in poor health as training camp got under way. During a road trip in Tennessee two weeks into the Iguanas first season, Jim Riggs, the General Manager of the opposing Memphis River Kings, noticed that Goldsworthy looked unwell. He was hospitalized in Memphis with blood clots in his lungs and pneumonia. Placed into intensive care, Goldsworthy soon got even more dire news: he had tested positive for AIDS. He never returned to coaching and passed away 16 months later at the age of 51.

30-year old John Torchetti took over the team from Goldsworthy. And the Iguanas were off to the races. San Antonio advanced through the playoffs to the Levins Cup Final under Torchetti in each of their first two seasons, losing to the Wichita Thunder in 1995 and the Oklahoma City Blazers in 1996.

Brian Shantz led the league in scoring in 1995 and 1996 and won the CHL’s Most Valuable Player award in 1996. Shantz’s teammate Paul Jackson earned the league MVP award for the 1994-95 campaign.

Overall the Iguanas posted winning records in sixth of their seven seasons of play. They would never return to the Finals after their first two excellent seasons, however.

Predators

San Antonio is a big market. And the CHL brand of hockey was … just alright. So it’s not surprising that the city would draw the eye of more ambitious leagues and wealthier investors. Ultimately, the story of the Iguanas belonged on the business pages rather than the sports section, defined by a pair of David vs. Goliath contests over the San Antonio market.

Before the Iguanas’ third season in the winter of 1996-97, the owner of the Peoria Rivermen of the International Hockey League moved his franchise to San Antonio. Renamed the San Antonio Dragons, the IHL club secured a lease in the very same building as the Iguanas. The 50-year old Freeman Coliseum would host 74 hockey games that winter, 33 for the Iguanas and 41 for the Dragons.

It was an unfortunate year for the Iguanas to have their worst season, a 26-36 last place campaign. The Dragons, playing in the higher quality IHL, a league with both top prospects on the way up and grey-haired former NHL All-Stars playing out their final years, won a division championship. Crowded out by the bigger budget Dragons, Iguanas attendance plummeted 50%.

The Iguanas lost a court battle over the Freeman Coliseum lease and closed down following the 1996-97 season. But the Dragons, given the San Antonio market all to themselves for the 1997-98 season, squandered the opportunity. After losing $7 million over two IHL seasons from 1996 to 19983 the Dragons’ owners were desperate to get out. They turned the IHL franchise over to Horn Chen, the Iguanas’ secretive original owner and majority backer of the CHL itself.

In a swift sequence of moves during the summer of 1998, Chen changed the name of the former Dragons club back to the Iguanas, dropped the team from the IHL back into his own Central Hockey League, and sold 90% interest in the new Iguanas to David Elmore, a fellow serial sports investor and owner of San Antonio’s minor league baseball team, the Missions.

The Iguanas played on for four more seasons.

Predators Redux

In 2002, Spurs Sports & Entertainment, owners of the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs, acquired an American Hockey League franchise. The Spurs-owned San Antonio Rampage would begin play in the brand new $186 million SBC Center right next door to the Freeman Coliseum in October 2002.

The Rampage would serve as the top farm team for the NHL’s Florida Panthers. John Torchetti, the man who guided the Iguanas to back-to-back CHL finals appearances in 1995 and 1996, signed on as the Rampage’s first head coach.

Bowing to the inevitable the Iguanas closed up shop for good in June 2002.

Trivia

Johnny Brdarovic (Iguanas ’98-’02) was the club’s all-time leader in both goals (148) and assists (200).

Former Iguanas head coach John Torchetti later became the interim head coach of no less than three NHL teams: the Florida Panthers (2003-04 season), the Los Angeles Kings (2005-06) and the Minnesota Wild (2015-16). He has never held an NHL head job on a full-season basis.

Game Programs

San Antonio Iguanas [CHL, 1994-1997] all-time player list

This is a list of all the players that played for the San Antonio Iguanas, a hockey team playing in the Central Hockey League from 1994 to 1997. This list is accurate for most teams, but for some obscure teams the list may be partial. We have found 75 players.
Player Name GP G A. Pts PIM Seasons Yrs. Pos. Birthdate Birthplace Highest Level
Chris Albert 92 27 41 68 102 1995-1997 2 R 1972-10-12 Ottawa, ONT Minor Pro
Carlos Assayag 21 7 7 14 14 1996-1997 1 R 1972-02-11 Ste. Foy, PQ Minor Pro
Ron Aubrey 31 3 4 7 228 1994-1997 2 L 1967-09-27 Portland, ME Minor Pro
Greg Bailey 19 2 4 6 90 1995-1997 2 D 1973-10-03 Port Stanley, ONT Minor Pro
Mark Bernard 29 0 2 2 18 1994-1995 1 G 1969-02-01 Hamilton, ONT Minor Pro
Jamie Bird 25 3 12 15 22 1995-1996 1 D 1974-07-03 Rochester, NY Minor Pro
John Blessman 16 2 10 12 13 1994-1995 1 D 1967-04-27 Agincourt, ONT Minor Pro
Matt Bowden 49 0 1 1 4 1995-1997 2 G 1973-02-20 Warwick, RI Minor Pro
Dampy Brar 40 21 19 40 48 1996-1997 1 C 1976-05-22 Sparwood, BC Minor Pro
Trevor Buchanan 111 64 54 118 604 1994-1996 2 R 1969-06-07 Fort McMurray, ALTA Minor Pro
Darcy Cahill 3 0 1 1 4 1996-1997 1 C 1970-08-19 Kingston, ONT Minor Pro
Malcolm Cameron 4 0 1 1 0 1994-1995 1 R 1969-08-30 Cole Harbour, NS Minor Pro
Gord Christian 49 15 24 39 89 1995-1996 1 L 1969-02-24 Mount Hope, ONT Minor Pro
Brent Convery 9 0 0 0 15 1996-1997 1 G 1972-01-10 Kingston, ONT Minor Pro
Stephen Corfmat 18 2 3 5 80 1994-1995 1 D 1970-05-05 Minor Pro
Michel Couvrette 7 4 1 5 6 1996-1997 1 C 1965-11-11 Verdun, PQ Minor Pro
Don Dwyer 3 0 0 0 2 1996-1997 1 D 1969-01-20 Edmonds, WA Minor Pro
Brent Fleetwood 5 3 4 7 0 1996-1997 1 C 1970-06-04 Edmonton, ALTA Minor Pro
Link Gaetz 13 0 3 3 156 1994-1995 1 D 1968-10-02 Vancouver, BC Major League
Andrew Gagnon 11 0 3 3 14 1995-1997 2 D 1972-04-04 Manchester, CT Minor Pro
Liam Garvey 50 11 39 50 118 1995-1996 1 D 1973-01-02 Chicago Heights, IL Minor Pro
Trent Gleason 25 3 9 12 25 1996-1997 1 D 1971-04-29 Brockville, ONT Minor Pro
Sean Goldsworthy 23 11 6 17 32 1994-1995 1 C Minneapolis, MN Minor Pro
Fred Goltz 87 38 29 67 165 1994-1997 2 L 1971-06-04 Kingston, ONT Minor Pro
Sheldon Gorski 57 45 26 71 96 1994-1995 1 R 1965-10-16 Grenfell, SASK Minor Pro
Tim Green 11 1 1 2 10 1995-1996 1 D 1969-06-25 Calgary, ALTA Minor Pro
Shaun Hall 2 0 0 0 0 1996-1997 1 D 1968-08-20 Gananoque, ONT Minor Pro
Ross Harris 13 2 2 4 16 1994-1995 1 L 1973-12-14 Victoria, BC Minor Pro
Jason Helbing 6 0 1 1 0 1996-1997 1 C 1974-03-29 Beaver Dam, WI Minor Pro
Dale Henry 140 67 95 162 345 1994-1997 3 L 1964-09-25 Prince Albert, SASK Major League
Mike Hiebert 20 2 6 8 62 1996-1997 1 D 1975-04-16 Winnipeg, MAN Minor Pro
Mark Hilton 38 8 26 34 56 1995-1996 1 D 1969-02-09 Toronto, ONT Minor Pro
Dean Hulett 41 20 34 54 154 1996-1997 1 R 1971-07-25 San Juan, PR Minor Pro
Paul Jackson 176 145 160 305 826 1994-1997 3 C 1966-02-07 Toronto, ONT Minor Pro
Scott Kelsey 32 4 7 11 84 1994-1995 1 D 1971-01-31 New Hartford, NY Minor Pro
Travis Kirby 8 0 1 1 2 1996-1997 1 G 1974-06-15 Parksville, BC Minor Pro
John Klaers 13 2 4 6 6 1994-1995 1 R 1970-01-25 Minneapolis, MN Minor Pro
Stu Kulak 65 30 38 68 97 1994-1995 1 R 1963-03-11 Edmonton, ALTA Major League
Sebastien LaPlante 77 37 61 98 280 1995-1997 2 L 1971-04-23 Cap-Rouge, PQ Minor Pro
Patrick Larose 12 1 0 1 73 1996-1997 1 D 1973-02-10 Ottawa, ONT Minor Pro
Ryan Leschasin 11 1 1 2 57 1995-1996 1 C 1970-07-11 Rivers, MAN Minor Pro
Dave Lylyk 63 23 21 44 29 1996-1997 1 L 1975-12-22 Guelph, ONT Minor Pro
Mark Macera 21 2 7 9 60 1996-1997 1 D 1971-12-20 London, ONT Minor Pro
Steve Magnusson 5 0 1 1 10 1996-1997 1 C 1972-11-15 Anoka, MN Minor Pro
Don Margettie 40 19 27 46 66 1996-1997 1 W 1975-07-10 Niagara Falls, ONT Minor Pro
Jeff Massey 62 18 21 39 113 1995-1997 2 C 1968-09-17 Swampscott, MA Minor Pro
Mike Mychalyshyn 17 1 3 4 12 1996-1997 1 D 1975-06-01 Edmonton, ALTA Minor Pro
Bill Peters 1 1 2 3 2 1994-1995 1 R Three Hills, ALTA Minor Pro
Jim Peters 19 3 14 17 30 1996-1997 1 D 1969-06-11 Barrie, ONT Minor Pro
Steve Phillips 3 1 0 1 7 1996-1997 1 F 1972-05-21 Los Angeles, CA Minor Pro
Ryan Pisiak 43 15 16 31 397 1995-1997 2 R 1975-05-12 Swift Current, SASK Minor Pro
Ken Plaquin 92 10 54 64 111 1994-1996 2 D 1970-02-22 Calgary, ALTA Minor Pro
Jim Popa 15 0 2 2 8 1996-1997 1 D 1972-08-27 Massillon, OH Minor Pro
Steve Pottie 27 0 0 0 4 1996-1997 1 G 1973-09-28 Waverley, NS Minor Pro
Darryl Sangster 7 0 2 2 12 1995-1996 1 C 1974-10-12 Yorkton, SASK Minor Pro
Curtis Sayler 25 2 4 6 120 1996-1997 1 R 1975-03-30 Two Hills, ALTA Minor Pro
Brandy Semchuk 51 26 24 50 79 1994-1997 3 R 1971-09-22 Calgary, ALTA Major League
Brian Shantz 130 93 165 258 215 1994-1996 2 C 1970-05-15 Edmonton, ALTA Minor Pro
Dean Shmyr 60 3 29 32 225 1994-1995 1 D 1971-04-29 Chicago, IL Minor Pro
David Shute 70 29 37 66 109 1994-1996 2 L 1971-02-10 Richfield, MN Minor Pro
Jason Smith 6 0 0 0 6 1996-1997 1 1970-07-10 Southgate, MI Minor Pro
Jim Sprott 115 26 75 101 429 1995-1997 2 D 1969-04-11 Oakville, ONT Minor Pro
Kevin St. Pierre 12 0 2 2 8 1996-1997 1 G 1975-04-07 Sherbrooke, PQ Minor Pro
Chuck Texeira 4 0 0 0 12 1994-1995 1 R 1971-01-30 Easton, MA Minor Pro
Adam Thompson 9 0 0 0 0 1994-1995 1 G 1972-09-29 Cornwall, ONT Minor Pro
Paul Tompkins 4 0 0 0 0 1996-1997 1 G 1971-06-27 Gananoque, ONT Minor Pro
Gatis Tseplis 21 5 12 17 10 1996-1997 1 D 1971-05-01 Riga, Latvia Minor Pro
Ken Venis 49 7 19 26 131 1994-1995 1 D 1970-02-26 South Boston, MA Minor Pro
Daniel Villeneuve 60 3 8 11 334 1996-1997 1 D 1975-03-21 Buckingham, PQ Minor Pro
Rob Weingartner 45 20 30 50 184 1995-1996 1 R 1971-10-22 Lake Ronkonkoma, NY Minor Pro
Mike Williams 86 0 2 2 74 1994-1996 2 G 1967-04-16 Brownstown, MI Minor Pro
Rob Wilson 5 0 2 2 6 1996-1997 1 D 1968-07-18 Toronto, ONT Minor Pro
Jeff Winstanley 25 3 14 17 24 1994-1995 1 D 1966-08-11 Mississauga, ONT Minor Pro
Mark Yannetti 178 12 43 55 166 1994-1997 3 D 1971-06-07 Bayford, MA Minor Pro
Dean Zayonce 49 7 14 21 140 1995-1996 1 D 1970-10-28 Kelowna, BC Minor Pro