Vince Abbey

 

Player

  • Seattle City League:  Late 1930s

Co-Owner

  • Seattle Totems:  1958-75

Front Office Positions

  • Secretary-Treasurer - Seattle Totems:  1958-65
  • Secretary - Seattle Totems:  1965-68
  • President - Seattle Totems:  1968-72, 1974-75
  • Vice-President - Seattle Totems:  1972-74
 

Vince Abbey has been part of the Seattle hockey scene since he was first able to skate.  He played midget hockey with the Seattle Junior Sea Hawks in the late 1930s before graduating to West Seattle of the City Hockey League in 1940.  He spent some time at the University of Michigan in the early 1940s before the military came calling and put his hockey career on hold.

Following the war Abbey earned his law degree and worked as an attorney in Seattle.  In 1958 he was one of 12 investors who stepped forward to purchase the Seattle Americans from Bill Veneman.  Abbey loved operating the franchise and he remained an owner and officer of the renamed Totems until the demise of the franchise following the 1974-75 season.  Seattle had it's most successful era of hockey while he owned the Totems, winning three championships and moving into the Coliseum in 1964.

It was always of dream of Abbey's to bring the NHL to Seattle, and he was heavily involved in the efforts to bring an expansion team to the city in early 1975.  During the first five months of the year the rumors about the future of professional hockey in Seattle were so complicated it was hard to keep track of them all.  Not only was there talk of the city getting an expansion club, but also attempts at purchasing the struggling Pittsburgh Penguins and California Seals, as well as the Baltimore Blazers of the WHA.  None of it came to pass as Seattle was overlooked by the NHL.  Abbey responded to the snub by filing an anti-trust lawsuit against the league and Northwest Sports, owners of the Vancouver Canucks and part-owners of the Totems.  The suit and a counter-suit by Northwest Sports dragged on for over a decade and made it all the way to the steps of the Supreme Court, which refused to hear the case on appeal.  The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found against the Seattle group, and the NHL still does not have a city in the 11th largest television market in the country.