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1972-73 WHA Season

By Patrick Mondout

The 1972-73 season was the first regular season of the now defunct World Hockey Association (WHA). The New England Whalers, which are based in Boston, win the first AVCO World Trophy (the WHA equivalent of the NHL's Stanley Cup).  Bernie Parent and Gerry Cheevers join Bobby Hull as high-profile NHL defectors in the new league.

See also: Statistical Leaders for 1972-73, Complete League Attendance

The league was divided into Eastern and Western divisions of six teams each. The top four in each division met in the playoffs. A close look at the standings reveals that the Alberta Oilers (as they were then know) finished tied with the Minnesota Fighting Saints for the final playoff spot. A tie-breaking game was played between the two in the neutral site of Calgary and Minnesota prevailed 4-2.

Winnipeg Jets* 78 43 31 4 90 285 249 757
Houston Aeros* 78 39 35 4 82 284 269 1363
Los Angeles Sharks* 78 37 35 6 80 259 250 1477
Minnesota Fighting Saints* 78 38 37 3 79 250 269 1134
Alberta Oilers 78 38 37 3 79 269 256 843
Chicago Cougars 78 26 50 2 54 245 295 811
New England Whalers* 78 46 30 2 94 318 263 858
Cleveland Crusaders* 78 43 32 3 89 287 239 1095
Philadelphia Blazers* 78 38 40 0 76 288 305 1260
Ottawa Nationals* 78 35 39 4 74 279 301 1067
Quebec Nordiques 78 33 40 5 71 276 313 1354
New York Raiders 78 33 43 2 68 303 334 900

Key: GP = Games Played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF = Goals For, GA = Goals Against, PIM = Penalties in Minutes
* Indicates teams that qualifies for the playoffs

AVCO World Trophy Playoffs

  Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
  E1  New England Whalers 4  
E4  Ottawa Nationals 1  
  E1  New England Whalers 4  
Eastern Division
  E2  Cleveland Crusaders 1  
E2  Cleveland Crusaders 4
  E3  Philadelphia Blazers 0  
    E1  New England Whalers 4
  W1  Winnipeg Jets 1
  W1  Winnipeg Jets 4  
W4  Minnesota Fighting Saints 1  
  W1  Winnipeg Jets 4
Western Division
  W2  Houston Aeros 0  
W2  Houston Aeros 4
  W3  Los Angeles Sharks 2  

With the New England leading Winnipeg 3 games to 1, Larry Pleau scoring a hat trick for the Whalers as they defeated the Jets 9 to 6 in the deciding game.

WHA All Star Game

The first World Hockey Association All-Star game was played January 6, 1973 in Quebec City, Quebec. The East beat the West 6-4 in front of 5,435 spectators while Ottawa's Wayne Carleton skated home with MVP honors. Jack Kelley of New England coached the East while Bobby Hull (assisted by Nick Mickoski) of Winnipeg coached the West. These were the lineups for the game:

G Al Smith New England
G Gerry Cheevers Cleveland
G Serge Aubry Quebec
D Rick Ley New England
D JC Tremblay Quebec
D Paul Shmyr Cleveland
D Jim Dorey New England
D Gary Jarrett Cleveland
D Ken Block New York
F Larry Pleau New England
F Ron Ward New York
F Bobby Sheehan New York
F Wayne Carleton Ottawa
F Gerry Pinder Cleveland
F Michel Parizeau Quebec
F Tom Webster New England
F Danny Lawson Philadelphia
F Norm Ferguson New York
F John McKenzie Philadelphia
F Ron Climie Ottawa1
F John Hanna Cleveland
F Guy Trottier Ottawa2
G Mike Curran Minnesota
G Ernie Wakely Winnipeg
G Jack Norris Alberta
D Al Hamilton Alberta
D Larry Hornung Winnipeg
D Gerry Odrowski Los Angeles
D Terry Ball Minnesota
F Bobby Hull Winnipeg
F Chris Bordeleau Winnipeg
F Norm Beaudin Winnipeg
F Gary Veneruzzo Los Angeles
F Ron Anderson Alberta
F Bob Wall Alberta
F Wayne Connelly Minnesota
F Ted Hampson Minnesota
F Mike Byers Los Angeles
F Jim Harrison Alberta
F Ted Taylor Houston
F Gordon Labossiere Houston
F Jan Popiel Chicago

1 Injured: Did not participate
Replaced injured Ron Climie

Avco World Trophy New England Whalers
Gary L. Davidson Award Bobby Hull, Winnipeg Jets
Bill Hunter Trophy Andre Lacroix, Philadelphia Blazers
Lou Kaplan Trophy Terry Caffery, New England Whalers
Ben Hatskin Trophy Gerry Cheevers, Cleveland Crusaders
Dennis A. Murphy Trophy J.C. Tremblay, Quebec Nordiques
Paul Deneau Trophy Ted Hampson, Minnesota Fighting Saints
Howard Baldwin Trophy Jack Kelley, New England Whalers
ATTENDANCE G Total Average
New England Whalers 39 272,255 6,981
Quebec Nordiques 39 269,979 6,923
Winnipeg Jets 39 237,982 6,102
Los Angeles Sharks 39 233,285 5,982
New York Raiders 39 228,857 5,868
Minnesota Fighting Saints 39 228,360 5,855
Cleveland Crusaders 39 206,202 5,287
Houston Aeros 39 180,037 4,616
Chicago Cougars 39 178,960 4,589
Philadelphia Blazers 39 168,680 4,325
Alberta Oilers 39 149,280 3,828
Ottawa Nationals 39 125,802 3,226
LEAGUE 468 2,479,679 5,298
Player Team Goals Assists Points
Andre Lacroix Philadelphia Blazers 50 74 124
Ron Ward New York Raiders 51 67 118
Danny Lawson Philadelphia Blazers 61 45 106
Bobby Hull Winnipeg Jets 51 52 103
Norm Beaudin Winnipeg Jets 38 65 103
Tom Webster New England Whalers 53 50 103
Chris Bordeleau Winnipeg Jets 47 54 101
Terry Caffery New England Whalers 39 61 100
Gord Labossiere Houston Aeros 36 60 96
Wayne Carleton Ottawa Nationals 42 49 91
Goalie 1st: Gary Cheevers, Cleveland
2nd: Bernie Parent, Philadelphia
3rd: Al Smith New England
Defenseman 1st: JC Trembley, Quebec
2nd: Jim Dorey New England
3rd: Rick Ley New England
Defenseman 1st: Paul Shmyr, Cleveland
2nd: Larry Hornung Winnipeg
3rd: Ted Green New England
Center 1st: Andre LaCroix, Philadelphia 
2nd: Ron Ward New York
3rd: Norm Beaudoin Winnipeg
Right Wing 1st: Danny Lawson, Philadelphia 
2nd: Tom Webster New England
3rd: Chris Bordeleau Winnipeg
Left Wing 1st: Bobby Hull, Winnipeg
2nd: Gary Jarrett Cleveland
3rd: Wayne Carleton Ottawa

WHA Bibliography
The Rebel League: The Short and Unruly Life of the World Hockey Association by Ed Willes
The Complete Historical and Statistical Reference to the World Hockey Association by Scott Adam Surgent
WHA Pro Hockey '75 - '76 by Dan Proudfoot
WHA Media Guides (each team published one each year)

These and many other WHA items can be found at eBay - check our links on the far right of this page!

Share Your Memories!

We have a WHA Forum! Our sites have always been by you and about you. If you check our TV Forums or our Technology & Science forums, you'll find literally thousands of messages from fans of 1970s TV shows, survivors of hurricanes or aircraft accidents, etc. from all over the world sharing their memories, asking questions, making comments. Our baseball section is new, but don't let that stop you from sharing your memories of WHA games you saw, now-forgotten stadiums, etc. Of course you can also ask questions, post trivia, or just read what others are saying.

--Patrick Mondout


WHA Media Guides can be found at eBay (see our links below)

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