World Hockey Association (1972-1973)
Born: 1972 – WHA founding franchise.
Died: 1973 – The Nationals relocate to Toronto, Ontario.
The Ottawa Nationals were a short-lived original franchise in the defunct World Hockey Association (1972-1979). Originally the WHA and team founder Doug Michel hoped to place the club in either Toronto or Hamilton, but the Nationals struggled to line up an arena in those cities and ultimately ended up at the Ottawa Civic Centre.
While upstart franchises in Winnipeg, Philadelphia and elsewhere made headlines luring big-name players away from the NHL, the cash-poor Nationals were unable to lure big names to Ottawa. Nevertheless, the club was competitive under Head Coach Billy Harris, finishing with a 35-39-4 record and a 1973 playoff date with the New England Whalers. Ex-NHL journeyman Wayne Carleton was the Nats’ leading scorer with 42 goals and 49 assists.
The team was poorly supported in Ottawa and chose to move its home playoff games to Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. The Whalers eliminated the Nationals 4 games to 1.
In May 1973, John Bassett Jr., the son of former Toronto Maple Leafs owner John Bassett, Sr., purchased the Nationals. Bassett was considerably wealthier than the club’s previous owners. He moved the franchise to Varsity Arena in Toronto and re-named the team the Toronto Toros prior to the 1973-74 season.
==Ottawa Nationals Games on Fun While It Lasted==
|11/2/1972||vs. Los Angeles Sharks||T 1-1||Program|
|11/20/1972||@ New England Whalers||L 7-5||Program|
|12/4/1972||@ New England Whalers||L 7-2||Program|
|1/9/1973||vs. Quebec Nordiques||W 7-5||Program|
|2/2/1973||@ Chicago Cougars||L 4-1||Program|