Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Archive for the ‘WHA’ tag

1972-73 Philadelphia Blazers

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Derek Sanderson Philadelphia BlazersWorld Hockey Association (1972-1973)

Born: May 1972 – The WHA’s planned Miami franchise shifts to Philadelphia.
Died: 
May 1973 – The Blazers relocate to Vancouver, BC.

Arena: Philadelphia Civic Center

Team Colors:

Owners: Bernard Brown & James Cooper

 

 

 

==Slideshow==

 

==Philadelphia Blazers Programs on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other

1972-73

1972-73 10/19/1972 @ Los Angeles Sharks L 4-2 Program
1972-73 12/15/1972  vs. Winnipeg Jets W 6-4 Program
1972-73 3/8/1973 vs. Minnesota Fighting Saints W 2-1 Program

 

==Links==

World Hockey Association Media Guides

World Hockey Association Programs

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1972-1973 Ottawa Nationals

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1972-73 Ottawa NationalsWorld Hockey Association (1972-1973)

Born: 1972 – WHA founding franchise.
Died: 1973 – The Nationals relocate to Toronto, Ontario.

Arenas:

Team Colors:

Owners: Nick Trbovich & Doug Michel

 

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.

Wayne Carleton Ottawa NationalsWhile 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==

Date Opponent Score Program Other
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

 

==Links==

World Hockey Association Media Guides

World Hockey Association Programs

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Written by andycrossley

August 18th, 2014 at 2:51 am

January 30, 1979 – Phoenix Roadrunners vs. Cincinnati Stingers

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Robbie Ftorek Phoenix RoadrunnersPhoenix Roadrunners vs. Cincinnati Stingers
January 30, 1979
Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Attendance: ?

Pacific Hockey League Programs
46 pages

 

This attractive program comes from an unusual in-season exhibition contest between the Cincinnati Stingers of the World Hockey Association and an independent minor league club, the Phoenix Roadrunners of the crumbling Pacific Hockey League.

The Pacific League started its second season in the fall of 1978 with six franchises.  But the Los Angeles Blades and the San Francisco Shamrocks both closed their doors in January of 1979, leaving the circuit with just four teams.  The hastily re-worked schedule didn’t offer much variety to the league’s remaining fans.  The Roadrunners played the Tucson Rustlers over twenty times.

Roadrunners owner Mike Skerlak came up with inspired idea to inject some novelty into these proceedings: bring Major League hockey back to Phoenix, if only for a couple of nights.  Starting with this two-game series against the Stingers on January 30th and February 3rd, 1979, he paid appearance fees to WHA clubs to travel to Arizona for exhibition games.  The Roadrunners themselves had been part of the World Hockey Association from 1974 until 1977 before financial problems forced the team out of business.  (Skerlak would re-organize his “new” Roadrunners within a few months to play minor league hockey).

The Winnipeg Jets said “no”, but the Cincinnati Stingers agreed to come in for two games and that offered a compelling story line: the return to Phoenix of Robbie Ftorek.   Ftorek, pictured on the cover of the evening’s game program (above right), was the greatest star for the WHA-era Roadrunners.  During the club’s final WHA season in the winter of 1976-77, Ftorek won the Gordie Howe Trophy as the league’s Most Valuable Player.  The Massachusetts native was the first American-born player to win MVP honors in a Major pro hockey league.

Ftorek was the WHA’s leading scorer midway through the 1978-79 season when the Stingers arrived in Phoenix at the end of January.  (He would ultimately finish 2nd in scoring for year to Quebec’s Real Cloutier).  But the Roadrunners held Ftorek in check, limiting him to just one assist on the evening.   Roadrunners goaltender Jim Park was superb, stopping 42 of 45 shots.  Michel Dion of the Stingers was not, allowing two first period scores to the minor league on just six shots.  Phoenix held on for a 5-3 upset of the WHA squad.

The two teams met again four days later for a Saturday afternoon matinee on February 3, 1979, but I can’t find any record of that result.

 

==Links==

Phoenix Roadrunners Home Page

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April 2, 1976 – Calgary Cowboys vs. Winnipeg Jets

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Alexander Yakushev, Bobby HullCalgary Cowboys vs. Winnipeg Jets
April 2, 1976
Stampede Corral
Attendance: 6,980

World Hockey Association Programs
80 pages

 

By contemporary media accounts, the Calgary Cowboys and the Winnipeg Jets mostly coasted through this late season World Hockey Association meeting in April 1976.  Both clubs were already confirmed as participants in the 1976 WHA playoffs, due to begin less than a week later.  Nevertheless, the game drew a standing room only  crowd to Calgary’s Stampede Corral.

The main drama was whether Bobby Hull of the Jets, the WHA’s main attraction and reigning MVP, would notch 50 goals in a season for the 9th time in his Hall of Fame career.  But Calgary held the Golden Jet to only three shots on goal.  Cowboys rookie netminder Ed Humphreys, getting a rare start, handled all three.  (Hull would get four goals in the season’s final two games to finish with 53 for the 1975-76 season).  The Cowboys beat the Jets 4-1 on this night, but the Jets went on to win the WHA’s  1976 AVCO Cup championship the following month.

So not much of a game, but I absolutely love this program cover.  Titled “The 2 Best Left Wings in the World“, it pictures Hull in his Team Canada uniform, alongside Alexander Yakushev from the Soviet Union.  The picture comes from the 1974 Summit Series between Canada and the USSR, when the two wingers were the tournament’s leading scorers.  This was the second Summit Series between the hockey superpowers.  The first Summit in 1972 saw Canada represented entirely represented by NHL players, while WHA players like Hull were banned from taking part.  In 1974, the Canadian team was entirely composed of WHA players highlighted by Hull and Gordie Howe.  The Soviets won the eight-game 1974 series 4-1-3.

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Written by andycrossley

November 24th, 2013 at 3:13 pm

December 24, 1972 – New England Whalers vs. Los Angeles Sharks

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New England Whalers ProgramNew England Whalers vs. Los Angeles Sharks
December 24, 1972
Boston Garden
Attendance: 8,496

World Hockey Association Programs

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS, Fun While It Lasted readers.

40 years ago this very night here in my hometown…Santa Claus finds time to drop in at the old Boston Garden as the New England Whalers take on the Los Angeles Sharks in World Hockey Association action.

 

==Links==

Los Angeles Sharks Home Page

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Written by andycrossley

December 25th, 2012 at 3:07 am