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Michigan Stags

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Michigan Stags
Michigan stags
City: Detroit, Michigan
League: World Hockey Association
Operated: 1974–75
Home Arena: Cobo Arena
Colors: Red, Black & Gold
Franchise history
1972 to 1974: Los Angeles Sharks
1974 to 1975: Michigan Stags
1975: Baltimore Blades

The Michigan Stags were a professional ice hockey team based out of Detroit, USA that played in the World Hockey Association. The team only played part of one season, 1974–75. On January 18, 1975, the franchise moved to Baltimore to become the Baltimore Blades. Before being in Detroit, the franchise was known as the Los Angeles Sharks. While in Detroit, the team played at Cobo Arena; in Baltimore, the Baltimore Civic Center.

Michigan Stags Edit

Having made their fortunes in industrial chemicals, Detroiters Charles Nolton and Peter Shagena bought the Los Angeles Sharks from Dennis Murphy and re-named the club the Michigan Stags.

Coached by former Red Wing player and coach Johnny Wilson, the Stags began play in the 1974–75 season. The owners believed the Stags would and could be an alternative to the NHL's Detroit Red Wings' fans. With the Wings struggling on the ice and the WHA gaining popularity, the Stags' opportunity would be great. Unfortunately, the Stags were as much of a disaster on ice as were the Red Wings. The team was composed of journeymen at best, with the exceptions of star left winger Marc Tardif, veteran Western leaguer Gary Veneruzzo and beleaguered ex-NHL goaltender Gerry Desjardins. On a side note Desjardins found his way back to the NHL in mid season and helped lead the Buffalo Sabres to the Stanley Cup finals. The Stags also had problems with attendance. The team played over .500 at home but only averaged around 3,000 fans a game, not nearly enough to break even. The team was eventually forced to trade Tardif to Quebec for Pierre Guite, Michel Rouleau and famed minor league sniper Alain Caron. Scheduling glitches delayed the highly anticipated return of Gordie Howe to Detroit until early February, before which time the team folded on January 18, 1975.


Baltimore Blades Edit

Baltimore Blades
Baltimore blades
City: Baltimore, Maryland
League: World Hockey Association
Operated: 1974–75
Home Arena: Baltimore Civic Center
Colors: Orange, Black & White
Franchise history
1972 to 1974: Los Angeles Sharks
1974 to 1975: Michigan Stags
1975: Baltimore Blades

The Baltimore Blades were created a week after the demise of the Stags and were operated by the league. The Blades played out of the Baltimore Civic Center, but attendance did not improve, and was not helped by the team finishing out the season with a 3-13-1 record. At season's end, the league contemplated moving the franchise to Seattle, but the move never materialized and the Blades folded outright. Players from the Michigan/Baltimore team, along with those of the defunct Chicago Cougars, were put into a dispersal draft to be claimed by other WHA teams.

The team's final record was 21-53-4, the second worst in the league that season and far out of a playoff spot. Veneruzzo was the leading scorer for the team with a 33-27-60 mark, nearly twice as much as anyone else save for Jean-Paul LeBlanc.

Media coverage Edit

The Stags' radio station was WWJ (AM). Gary Morrel was play-by-play announcer and local sports radio voice Norm Plummer handled color commentary.

Michigan played just one game on local television: the season opener against the Indianapolis Racers, broadcast live from Indianapolis on WXON Channel 20. Detroit radio icon Vince Doyle called play-by-play and former Red Wing Marty Pavlich was the color commentator. The Stags won the game, 4-2, but few saw it; the Stags were up against game five of the 1974 World Series. Eight other games were scheduled to be televised but money became a problem by mid-November, especially after Michigan lost 11 of their next 12 following their season-opening win.

Season-by-season recordEdit

Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes

Season GP W L T Pts GF GA PIM Finish Playoffs
1974–75 7821534462053411104 5th, Western Did not qualify

See alsoEdit

This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Michigan Stags. 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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