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1973–74 WHA season: Wikis

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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 in Canada, 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.

Contents

Regular season

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Final standings

Eastern Division
GP W L T GF GA PIM Pts
New England Whalers 78 43 31 4 291 260 875 90
Toronto Toros 78 41 33 4 304 272 871 86
Cleveland Crusaders 78 37 32 9 266 264 1007 83
Chicago Cougars 78 38 35 5 271 273 1041 81
Quebec Nordiques 78 38 36 4 306 280 909 80
NY Golden Blades / NJ Knights 78 32 42 4 268 313 933 68
Western Division
GP W L T GF GA PIM Pts
Houston Aeros 78 48 25 5 318 219 1038 101
Minnesota Fighting Saints 78 44 32 2 332 275 1243 90
Edmonton Oilers 78 38 37 3 268 269 1273 79
Winnipeg Jets 78 34 39 5 264 296 673 73
Vancouver Blazers 78 27 50 1 278 345 1047 55
Los Angeles Sharks 78 25 53 0 239 339 1086 50

Summary

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.

Scoring leaders

Mike Walton of Minnesota led the league in scoring with 57 goals and 60 assists for 117 points.

All-Star Game

At St. Paul Civic Center in St. Paul, MN, the East defeated the West 8-4.

Playoff Summary

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 playoffs

Quarterfinals
  • Houston 4 Winnipeg 0
  • Minnesota 4 Edmonton 1
  • Chicago 4 New England 3
  • Toronto 4 Cleveland 1
Semifinals
  • Houston 4 Minnesota 2
  • Chicago 4 Toronto 3
Avco World Trophy finals
  • Houston 4 Chicago 0

WHA awards

Avco World Trophy: Houston Aeros
Gary L. Davidson Award: Gordie Howe, Houston Aeros
Bill Hunter Trophy: Mike Walton, Minnesota Fighting Saints
Lou Kaplan Trophy: Mark Howe, Houston Aeros
Ben Hatskin Trophy: Don McLeod, Houston Aeros
Dennis A. Murphy Trophy: Pat Stapleton, Chicago Cougars
Paul Deneau Trophy: Ralph Backstrom, Chicago Cougars
Howard Baldwin Trophy: Bill Harris, Toronto Toros

See also

References


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