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|Home Arena:||Philadelphia Civic Center|
|Colors:||Yellow and burnt orange|
|1972:||Miami Screaming Eagles|
The Philadelphia Blazers are a defunct professional team that existed for one single season in the World Hockey Association. Founded in 1972, the team was moved to Vancouver after the 1972-73 WHA season to become the Vancouver Blazers.
In June 1972, Bernard Brown and James Cooper were granted the rights to the Miami Screaming Eagles along with the players (namely Bernie Parent) that were under contract with the team, from Herb Martin, previous owner. Brown and Cooper then relocated to Philadelphia and renamed the team the Philadelphia Blazers. Shortly after the relocation to Philadelphia, they came to contract terms with Derek Sanderson, signing him for $2.6 million over 5 years, at the time the highest salary ever paid to a professional sports player. The signing caused a great deal of publicity, but controversy as well, as many hockey pundits asserted that Sanderson was nowhere near enough of a preeminent star to warrant such a payout.
The Blazers had high hopes going into the inaugural WHA season with such stars as Parent, Sanderson, and fellow ex-Bruin John McKenzie, who was named the team's player-coach. But their hopes were soon dashed as McKenzie suffered an injury in a pre-season game and Parent and Sanderson also suffered from injuries. The team's first home game was also a disaster. The Zamboni malfunctioned and took a chunk of ice out of the playing surface, forcing the game to be rescheduled. The team started out with a 1-6 record (after which McKenzie was replaced as coach by Phil Watson). Philadelphia went on to drop a scarcely better 10 of their next 13 games, by which time Parent and McKenzie returned. By that point Sanderson was long gone. After only eight games (scoring three goals and three assists) in Philadelphia and considerable controversy, the owners paid Sanderson one million dollars to void his contract; he promptly returned to the Bruins to finish out the season.
Despite a rough early season, things actually improved for the Blazers towards the end. Ex-Philadelphia Flyer Andre Lacroix led the league in scoring, and ex-Buffalo Sabre Danny Lawson scored 61 goals; they would prove over the years to be two of the WHA's brightest stars, and Lacroix eventually was the league's all-time leading career scorer. Coupled with Bernie Parent's goaltending, the team made the playoffs with a record of 38 wins and 40 losses. However, a discontented Parent left the team during the playoffs and the Blazers were swept in four by the Cleveland Crusaders.
After the season ended, owners Brown and Cooper sold the team to Jim Pattison and he promptly moved the team north of the border to Vancouver, British Columbia. The team was renamed the Vancouver Blazers.
|Blazers' season-by-season record|
|1972–73||Philadelphia Blazers||78||38||40||0||76||288||305||1260||3rd, Eastern||Lost Quarterfinals (Cleveland)|
All-time scoring leadersEdit
|Blazers' all-time scoring leaders|