Houston Aeros (WHA)

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Houston Aeros
Houston aeros 1973.png
City Houston, Texas
League World Hockey Association
Operated 1972–1978
Home arena Sam Houston Coliseum (1972–75)
The Summit (1975–78)
Colors Dark blue, Light blue & white
Franchise history
1972 Dayton Arrows
1972–1978 Houston Aeros
Championships
Regular season titles four (1974, 1975, 1976, 1977)
Division Championships four (1974, 1975, 1976, 1977)
Avco Trophy two (1974, 1975)

The Houston Aeros were a professional ice hockey team in the World Hockey Association (WHA) from 1972 to 1978.

Franchise history[edit]

The Aeros were originally slated to play in Dayton, Ohio as a charter member of the WHA. However, Dayton residents were lukewarm at best to a WHA team. Additionally, Dayton did not have a suitable arena. The largest arena in the city, the University of Dayton Arena, did not have an ice plant; the largest hockey venue, Hara Arena, seated only 5,000 people—not enough even for temporary use. Due to these problems, owner Paul Deneau moved the team to Houston, Texas. Although the Aeros name had originally been chosen in honor of the Wright brothers, it was more than appropriate for Houston given the importance of the space industry.

In Houston, the Aeros became one of the most successful franchises in the WHA. They won four consecutive Western Division titles from 1973–74 to 1976–77 seasons, and finished second in the Western Division in 1972–73 and third in the league in 1977–78. They won the AVCO World Trophy in 1974 over the Chicago Cougars and in 1975 over the Quebec Nordiques, winning both series in a four-game sweep; and lost in the 1976 AVCO finals to the Winnipeg Jets, also in a sweep.

In 1977, merger discussions with the National Hockey League were first initiated. Houston, along with Cincinnati, Winnipeg, New England, Quebec, and Edmonton applied for entry into the NHL. After a lengthy debate, the NHL voted the proposal down.

Merger discussions resumed in 1978. However, the NHL was only open to taking four teams this time. On paper, it appeared that the Aeros, as one of the league's strongest teams, were an obvious candidate. However, the WHA insisted that all three of its Canadian teams be included in the merger, leaving room for only one American team. During the final series of talks, Aeros owner Kenneth Schnitzer proposed to move the Aeros to the NHL as an expansion team independent of a merger, or be allowed to purchase an existing club and relocate it to Houston. Neither came to fruition, and the Aeros folded on July 9, 1978.

Bill Dineen was the Aeros head coach during their entire stay in the WHA. Among the players for the Aeros were Gordie Howe and his two sons Mark and Marty, who became the first father/son combination to play together in professional hockey.

Season-by-season record[edit]

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
1972–73 78 39 35 4 82 284 269 1363 2nd, Western Won Quarter-final (Sharks)
Lost Semi-final (Jets)
1973–74 78 48 25 5 101 318 219 1038 1st, Western Won Quarter-final (Jets)
Won Semi-final (Fighting Saints)
Won in Final (Cougars)
1974–75 78 53 25 0 106 369 247 1257 1st, Western Won Quarter-final (Crusaders)
Won Semi-final (Mariners)
Won in Final (Nordiques)
1975–76 80 53 27 0 106 341 263 1093 1st, Western Won Quarter-final (Mariners)
Won Semi-final (Whalers)
Lost in Final (Jets)
1976–77 80 50 24 6 106 320 241 1432 1st, Western Won Quarter-final (Oilers)
Lost Semi-final (Jets)
1977–78 80 42 34 4 88 296 302 1543 3rd, League Lost Quarter-final (Nordiques)
Totals 474 285 170 19 589 1928 1541 7726

See also[edit]

External links[edit]