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1972-73
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1972-73

• The WHA forms with 12 teams taking to the ice in the league's inaugural season. As is the norm for a startup league, there were several franchise shifts before the puck dropped for the first time. Do you remember the Calgary Broncos, the Dayton Arrows, the Miami Screaming Eagles or the San Francisco Sharks? They were all slated to be charter members of the WHA, but all four moved prior to the inaugural season. The Broncos moved to Cleveland and became the Cleveland Crusaders, the Arrows moved to Houston and changed the spelling of their nickname to Aeros to reflect the city's aerospace industry, the Screaming Eagles became the Philadelphia Blazers, and the San Francisco Sharks would head north of the border to become the Quebec Nordiques.

• The Winnipeg Jets give instant credibility to the WHA, luring Bobby Hull from the NHL for a then-astronomical 10-year, $1 million contract. His debut would be held up in litigation for a time by the NHL.

• The league debuted on October 11, 1972, with a pair of games. The Alberta Oilers beat the Ottawa Nationals, 7-4, while the Cleveland Crusaders blanked the Quebec Nordiques, 2-0.

• The league found itself in a bind when the Oilers and the Minnesota Fighting Saints ended the regular season tied for the last playoff spot in the Western Division. Both finished with the same number of wins and they evenly split the head-to-head season series. Problem is, the league didn't specify any additional tiebreakers beyond those two, so they had them play a one-game playoff at a neutral site (Calgary). The Fighting Saints beat the Oilers, 4-2, to claim the last playoff spot in the West.

• The New England Whalers claimed the league's first championship, beating the Winnipeg Jets in the Avco Cup Finals. The Whalers, however, would not get to skate with the trophy, because it wasn't finished yet. They had to settle for skating with their division championship trophy instead, leaving the league with egg on its face.



Alberta Oilers


Chicago Cougars


Cleveland Crusaders


Houston Aeros


Los Angeles Sharks


Minnesota Fighting Saints


New England Whalers


New York Raiders


Ottawa Nationals


Philadelphia Blazers


Quebec Nordiques


Winnipeg Jets


1973 All-Star Game
Quebec City, QC