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The 1973-74 WHA season was the second season of the now defunct World Hockey Association. Twelve teams each played 78 games. The Philadelphia Blazers relocated to Vancouver, becoming the Vancouver Blazers. They were moved to the Western Division and Chicago moved to the East. The New York Raiders were renamed the New York Golden Blades and then moved to Cherry Hill, New Jersey to become the New Jersey Knights after just 24 games. The Ottawa Nationals moved to Toronto and became the Toronto Toros.
|New England Whalers||78||43||31||4||90||291||260||875|
|NY Golden Blades / NJ Knights||78||32||42||4||68||268||313||933|
|Minnesota Fighting Saints||78||44||32||2||90||332||275||1243|
|Los Angeles Sharks||78||25||53||0||50||239||339||1086|
The Houston Aeros lured 45 year old Gordie Howe out of retirement by promising him that he could play with his sons Mark and Marty who were also on the team. Howe responded by having a 100 point season, leading the team in scoring and helping them finish with the best record in the league. The Aeros also received excellent goaltending from Don McLeod and Wayne Rutledge. The defending Western Division champion Winnipeg Jets slipped to 4th place with a sub-.500 record. The other playoff qualifiers in the West were Minnesota and Edmonton. In the East, defending Avco World Trophy champs New England won their second straight division title followed by Toronto, Cleveland, and Chicago.
Mike Walton of Minnesota led the league in scoring with 57 goals and 60 assists for 117 points.
The West Division playoffs went according to form, with the top 2 seeds, Houston and Minnesota, easily disposing of Edmonton and Winnipeg respectively. In the east, Toronto won as expected over Cleveland, but Chicago shocked the WHA by upsetting the defending champion New England Whalers in 7 games, winning 3 of the 4 games in New England. In the division finals, favored Houston defeated Minnesota in six games, while Chicago pulled its second upset by beating Toronto in 7 games, outscoring the Toros 14-4 in winning games 6 and 7. They ran out of magic in the finals however, as Houston swept them in four straight, outscoring them 22-9.
Avco World Trophy playoffsEdit
- Houston 4 Winnipeg 0
- Minnesota 4 Edmonton 1
- Chicago 4 New England 3
- Toronto 4 Cleveland 1
- Houston 4 Minnesota 2
- Chicago 4 Toronto 3
- Avco World Trophy finals
- Houston 4 Chicago 0
|1973–74 WHA season by team|
|Eastern:||Chicago • Cleveland • New England • NY Golden Blades / NJ Knights • Quebec • Toronto|
|Western:||Edmonton • Houston • Los Angeles • Minnesota • Vancouver • Winnipeg|