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The Dayton Flyers are an American professional hockey franchise located in Dayton, Ohio, playing in the National Hockey League's Eastern Conference. Added to the league as an expansion franchise in 1990, the Flyers are currently the only NHL franchise in Ohio and the only professional franchise of any kind in Dayton.
Located 70 miles from Columbus, 54 miles from Cincinnati, and 117 miles from Indianapolis, Dayton is strategically located at the intersection of three major media markets and thus is one of the most financially successful franchises in the NHL, despite playing in one of the smallest cities. The Flyers play in the NewCentury Sports Arena in downtown Dayton, which was built in 1990 and significantly remodeled and expanded in 2008. They have never played in a Stanley Cup Finals game, despite making the playoffs for nine straight seasons between 1998-2007.
NHL Expansion Eyes Return to Ohio
Under general manager Bobby Pellitt and head coach Mark Missal, the Dayton Flyers enjoyed their most successful years in history, making the playoffs nine straight seasons between 1998-2007. The apex of this success came in 2000-2001 and 2001-2002, when they finished with the best record in the Eastern Conference two years in a row. However, in the 2001 Eastern Playoffs, they were upset by the eighth-seeded New York Rangers and swept despite being the top seed. The next year, they managed to defeat the Philadelphia Quakers in the first round, but were beaten in the Eastern Semifinals by the defending Stanley Cup Champion, the Halifax Whalers. From 1997-2004, the Flyers team captain was Danish superstar center Hans Adsel, one of the first
international stars in the NHL. They also featured a star-studded roster with players such as goalie Michael Rose, forwards Floyd Herring and Tim Perry, and defensemen Ryan Minnows and Joe McMahon. However, despite a loaded roster and one of the best head coaches in the country, the Flyers failed to advance any further than the Eastern Conference Finals, which they reached in 1999 (losing to Philadelphia) and 2004 (losing to Nashville in seven games). Following the 2004 playoff exit, head coach Missal left to take over in Tacoma, where he was promised a higher salary and co-managerial duties, and Adsel followed him west.
However, new head coach George Murray led the Flyers to three straight division titles in 2004-05, 05-06 and 06-07, winning at least one playoff series each of these three years and they advanced to the Eastern Finals once again in 2007, but were once more defeated in seven games by the Yorktown Mohawks, who went on to be defeated in the Stanley Cup Finals by Missal and the Tacoma Thunderbirds. In 2008, Murray led the Flyers to a playoff berth, but they were swept in the first round by Philadelphia. Pellitt retired, Murray resigned after disagreements with the new general manager Jack Mannseri and many of the star players left the team.