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1972-73 WHA Season

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72-73WHAprogram

The 1972–73 WHA season was the first regular season of the now defunct World Hockey Association (WHA). Twelve teams played 78 games each. The league was officially incorporated in June of 1971 by Garry L. Davidson and Dennis A. Murphy and promised to ice twelve teams in various markets around Canada and the United States. The league championship trophy, the Avco World Trophy, was donated by AVCO Financial Services Corporation along with $500,000. The New England Whalers won the first Avco World Trophy.

Regular Season SummaryEdit

The first WHA game, on 12 October, 1972, was won by the Alberta Oilers 7-4 over the Ottawa Nationals.

The WHA was split into two divisions, the Eastern Division and the Western Division. Each division sported 6 teams. The New England Whalers led the Eastern Division and had the best record in the league. The other playoff qualifiers in the East were Cleveland, Philadelphia, and Ottawa. The Winnipeg Jets led the Western Division and had the second best record in the league. Behind Winnipeg, the West had a thrilling race with 4 teams fighting for three playoff spots, trading 2nd through 5th place all season. Houston won 3 of its last 4 games to finish 2nd with 82 points. With 2 games remaining, Minnesota had 79 points, Alberta had 77, and Los Angeles had 76. Los Angeles won their last two games to finish 3rd, while Minnesota and Alberta both lost their next to last game of the season, setting up a final game showdown in Minnesota against each other with Minnesota 2 points ahead of Alberta. Alberta won the game 5-3, so both teams finished with identical records. The league now faced a dilemma. The first standings tiebreaker was number of wins, and the teams both had 38. The second tiebreaker was head to head record and the teams split their 8 games with 4 wins apiece. The league by-laws did not specify further tiebreakers. In the NHL, the next two tie breakers were goal differential and goals scored, both with favored Alberta. But because the WHA by-laws did not specify additional tiebreakers, the league Board of Governors met to decide how to break the tie. They ultimately decided on a 1 game playoff at a neutral site. The Alberta Oilers missed the playoffs, despite having a superior goal-differential to the Minnesota Fighting Saints, because they lost the neutral-site, tie-breaking game against the Saints in Calgary by a score of 4-2.


Final standingsEdit

GP = Games Played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes
Teams that qualifies for the playoffs are highlighted in bold

Eastern Division GP W L T Pts GF GA PIM
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
Western Division GP W L T Pts GF GA PIM
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 79 250 269 843
Alberta Oilers 78 38 37 3 79 269 256 1134
Chicago Cougars 78 26 50 2 54 245 295 811

Scoring leadersEdit

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
72-73WHAASprogram

All-Star GameEdit

January 6, 1973, Quebec City, att. 5435.

East 6, West 2

MVP: Wayne Carleton (East, Ottawa Nationals)

Playoff SummaryEdit

Compared to the thrilling race in the West Division, the playoffs were unexciting in that the team with the better record won every series and only one series went beyond 5 games. That was the West semifinal between Houston and Los Angeles. After getting blown out in game one in Houston by a score of 7-2, Los Angeles rallied to win game two 4-2 and even the series. The Sharks then won a thrilling game three in L.A. 3-2. Game 4 was the turning point of the series. The teams headed into overtime tied at 2; a Houston goal would even the series while a Los Angeles goal would give the Sharks a commanding 3-1 series lead. The Aeros scored in overtime to even the series, then won game 5 in Houston, 6-3. Game six in L.A. was another thriller, with Houston scoring late to win the game 3-2 and win the series.

Avco World Trophy playoffsEdit

  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  

Avco World Trophy finalsEdit

New England Whalers defeated the Winnipeg Jets, 4 games to 1. The Whalers defeated the Jets 9 to 6 in the deciding game, with Larry Pleau scoring a hat trick.

WHA awardsEdit

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

ReferencesEdit

This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at 1972-73 WHA Season. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Ice Hockey Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 3.0 (Unported) (CC-BY-SA).


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