The Milwaukee Admirals hockey team plays in the American Hockey League at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They first took to the ice in the winter of 1970 as an amateur club known as the Milwaukee Wings. They lost their first game on January 25 when the Madison All-Stars beat them 17-7. The Admirals got their first win five days later when they defeated the Milwaukee Winter Club by a score of 10-8.
The following year, a group of investors bought the team from original owner Reed Fansher. Edwin J. Merar, one of the investors, owned an appliance store. The team was renamed the "Admirals" after a brand of refrigerators sold in Merar's store.
At the start of the 1973/74 season the Admirals joined the newly formed United States Hockey League. Their first season in the league was not a particularly successful one as they ended the season in last place in their division. They won only 11 games, lost 35 games, and tied 2 games in their initial season.
The fortunes of the Admirals turned around quickly. The Admirals won the USHL league championship in 1976, winning seven straight games in the league's playoffs to take the championship. After that season, the team was purchased by former Chicago Blackhawks announcer Lloyd Pettit and his wife, Jane Bradley-Pettit.
For the 1977/78 season the Milwaukee Admirals joined the International Hockey League as the USHL was turning into more of an amateur league. The Admirals appeared in the IHL's Turner Cup finals only once (1983), where they lost to Toledo in six games. They remained in the International Hockey League until they joined the American Hockey League at the beginning of the 2001/02 season. It was at that time that the IHL ceased operations. Five other IHL franchises also joined the AHL that season.
The Admirals won their first Calder Cup in 2004 when they defeated the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Prior to the Finals, Milwaukee needed seven games to knock off the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks in the first round. Then the Admirals defeated the Chicago Wolves in six games to advance to the Conference Finals, where they eliminated the Rochester Americans in five games. Milwaukee then swept the Penguins to take home the coveted Calder Cup, which is named for Frank Calder, the first President (1917-1943) of the National Hockey League. The Admirals completed a rare postseason feat in which they needed one fewer game to eliminate their opponents in each subsequent series.
The Admirals have been the top-level affiliate of the NHL?s Nashville Predators since that team was founded in 1998. In the winter of 2007, both clubs signed a new agreement that will extend the relationship through the 2009/10 season. The Milwaukee Admirals are also involved in an unusual affiliation agreement with the Edmonton Oilers. In 2006, the Oilers announced they would use five partial affiliates in the AHL beginning in the 2006/07 season. These five affiliates include the Milwaukee Admirals, the Grand Rapids Griffins, the Iowa Stars, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, and the Hamilton Bulldogs.
In June of 2005, the Admirals were purchased by a group of investors led by Harris J. Turer and included Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio, assistant general manager Gord Ash and pitcher Ben Sheets. The move will continue to further entrench the Milwaukee Admirals into the fabric of life in Milwaukee for years to come.