|1990-91 Regular Season (Opponent Unknown)|
Both the IHL and AHL were not pleased with this move. The AHL was not happy that a rival league had placed a team in it's own territory, especially close to an established franchise, the Adirondack Red Wings. Likely in an attempt to undercut the new Choppers, the AHL quickly approved the sale of a franchise to Mike Cantanucci, who placed his Capital District Islanders in nearby Troy's RPI Fieldhouse. The IHL was not pleased by Welker moving the team to Albany without league approval. Welker got his way when he agreed to cover the travel costs, hotel and per diem fees of six IHL teams.
The Choppers never came close to filling the Knickerbocker Arena, rarely drawing over 3000 per game and, near the end, drawing around 1000. The team started missing pay days and by February 14, 1991, the franchise folded with a 22-30-3 record.
What happened to Fort Wayne? The Franke family purchased the rights to the defunct Flint Spirits and moved them to Indiana in time for the 1990-91 season. The new Komets took over the name and history of the original franchise, and the Frankes still own the team, now in the ECHL. Albany would get another shot at pro hockey in 1993-94. The Capital District Islanders would relocate to Knickerbocker Arena and would become the Albany River Rats.
Just like Lancers programs, I have only seen two Choppers programs online over the years. This was the first one I saw, and I made sure I got it.
Some of the info for this post is from an article in Hockey Digest called "The Albany Choppers: The IHL's Dirty Little Secret". An abridged version can be found here. Stats, of course, are from hockeydb.com.