1973–74 WHA season

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1973–74 WHA season
League World Hockey Association
Sport Ice hockey
Regular season
Top scorer Mike Walton (Minnesota)
Avco World Trophy
Champions Houston Aeros
  Runners-up Chicago Cougars
WHA seasons

The 1973–74 WHA season was the second season of the 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.

Regular season[edit]

Final standings[edit]

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 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[edit]

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.

Player stats[edit]

Scoring leaders[edit]

Bolded numbers indicate season leaders

GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; PIM = Penalty minutes

Player Team GP G A Pts PIM
Mike Walton Minnesota Fighting Saints 78 57 60 117 88
Andre Lacroix NY Golden Blades / NJ Knights 78 31 80 111 54
Gordie Howe Houston Aeros 76 31 69 100 46
Wayne Connelly Minnesota Fighting Saints 78 42 53 95 16
Bobby Hull Winnipeg Jets 75 53 42 95 37
Wayne Carleton Toronto Toros 78 37 55 92 31
Bryan Campbell Vancouver Blazers 76 27 62 89 50
Danny Lawson Vancouver Blazers 78 50 38 88 14
Serge Bernier Quebec Nordiques 74 37 49 86 107
Larry Lund Houston Aeros 75 33 53 86 109

Leading goaltenders[edit]

Bolded numbers indicate season leaders

GP = Games played; Min = Minutes played; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties, GA = Goals against; GA = Goals against; SO = Shutouts; SV% = Save percentage; GAA = Goals against average

Player Team GP Min W L T GA SO SV% GAA
Don McLeod Houston Aeros 49 2971 33 13 3 127 3 91.1 2.56
Gerry Cheevers Cleveland Crusaders 59 3562 30 20 6 180 4 90.6 3.03
Al Smith New England Whalers 55 3194 30 21 2 164 2 89.5 3.08
Cam Newton Chicago Cougars 45 2732 25 18 2 143 1 89.4 3.14
Jack Norris Edmonton Oilers 53 2954 23 24 1 158 2 89.8 3.21

All-Star Game[edit]

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

Avco World Trophy playoffs[edit]

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.

Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
                 
E1 New England Whalers 3
E4 Chicago Cougars 4
E4 Chicago Cougars 4
Eastern Division
E2 Toronto Toros 3
E2 Toronto Toros 4
E3 Cleveland Crusaders 1
E4 Chicago Cougars 0
W1 Houston Aeros 4
W1 Houston Aeros 4
W4 Winnipeg Jets 0
W1 Houston Aeros 4
Western Division
W2 Minnesota Fighting Saints 2
W2 Minnesota Fighting Saints 4
W3 Edmonton Oilers 1

WHA awards[edit]

Trophies[edit]

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

All-Star Team[edit]

Position First Team Second Team
Centre Andre Lacroix, New York-Jersey Wayne Carleton, Toronto
Right Wing Gordie Howe, Houston Mike Walton, Minnesota
Left Wing Bobby Hull, Winnipeg Mark Howe, Houston
Defence Pat Stapleton, Chicago J. C. Tremblay, Quebec
Defence Paul Shmyr, Cleveland Al Hamilton, Edmonton
Goaltender Don McLeod, Houston Gerry Cheevers, Cleveland

See also[edit]

References[edit]