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1975-76 WHA Season

By Patrick Mondout

The 1975-76 season was the fourth regular season of the now defunct World Hockey Association (WHA). Before the season the Vancouver Blazers east to become the Calgary Cowboys and both the Cincinnati and Denver expansion franchises took to the ice with mixed results. The Winnipeg Jets won their first of three AVCO World Trophies.

An 80 game schedule was played to eliminate two teams from the playoffs (Denver and Minnesota eliminated themselves by disbanding). Edmonton's 27-49-5 record is one of the worst ever for a playoff team.

See also: Statistical Leaders for 1975-76, Complete League Attendance, 1975 WHA Draft

WESTERN DIVISION GP W L T PTS GF GA PIM
Houston Aeros* 80 53 27 0 106 341 263 1093
Phoenix Roadrunners* 80 39 35 6 84 302 287 1292
San Diego Mariners* 80 36 38 6 78 303 290 716
Minnesota Fighting Saints 59 30 25 4 64 211 212 1354
CANADIAN DIVISION GP W L T PTS GF GA PIM
Winnipeg Jets* 81 52 27 2 106 345 254 940
Quebec Nordiques* 81 50 27 4 104 371 316 1654
Calgary Cowboys* 80 41 35 4 86 307 282 1064
Edmonton Oilers* 81 27 49 5 59 268 345 991
Toronto Toros 81 24 52 5 53 335 398 1099
Denver Spurs/Ottawa Civics+ 41 14 26 1 29 134 172 536
EASTERN DIVISION GP W L T PTS GF GA PIM
Indianapolis Racers* 80 35 39 6 76 245 247 1301
Cleveland Crusaders* 80 35 40 5 75 273 279 1356
New England Whalers* 80 33 40 7 73 255 290 1012
Cincinnati Stingers 80 35 44 1 71 285 340 1344

Key: GP = Games Played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF = Goals For, GA = Goals Against, PIM = Penalties in Minutes
* Indicates teams that qualifies for the playoffs
+ team stated season in Western Division when playing in Denver; transferred by league to Canadian Division shortly after moving to Ottawa. Suspended operations after 41 games and only three as the Ottawa Civics

AVCO World Trophy Playoffs

In the "best of five" first round, New England beat Cleveland 3 games to 0 and San Diego beat Phoenix 3 games to 2.

The Quebec vs. Calgary series turned ugly on April 11 when a 20 minute, bench clearing brawl broke out that left an unconscious Marc Tardiff - the WHA's leading scorer - in the hospital and out of the playoffs with Calgary's Rick Jodzio facing criminal charges. An estimated 20 policemen were needed to clear the ice and play did not begin again for another hour. Ten players were ejected.

  Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
                           
  1  Winnipeg Jets 4  
8  Edmonton Oilers 0  
  1  Winnipeg Jets 4  
  5  Calgary Cowboys 1  
4  Quebec Nordiques 1
  5  Calgary Cowboys 4  
    1  Winnipeg Jets 4
  3  Houston Aeros 0
  3  Houston Aeros 4  
6  San Diego Mariners 2  
  3  Houston Aeros 4
  2  New England Whalers 3  
2  New England Whalers 4
  7  Indianapolis Racers 3  

Ulf Nilsson was named the AVCO Playoffs MVP for leading the Winnipeg Jets to the championship.

WHA All Star Game

The fourth annual World Hockey Association All-Star game was played January 13, 1976 in Cleveland, Ohio. Instead of East versus West as in previous games, the teams were the Canadians versus the Americans. The vastly superior Canadian side beat the Americans 6-1 in front of a crowd of 15,491 while Real Cloutier and Paul Shmyr were named Co-MVPs. Long time Houston Aeros coach Bill Dineen coached the Americans while Quebec's Jean-Guy Gendron coached the Canadians. These were the lineups for the game:

CANADA ALL-STARS UNITED STATES ALL-STARS
G Joe Daley Winnipeg1
G Don McLeod Calgary
G Jim Shaw Toronto
D Lars-Erik Sjoberg Winnipeg
D JC Tremblay Quebec1
D Barry Long Edmonton
D Larry Hornung Winnipeg
D Thommie Bergman Winnipeg
D John Miszuk Calgary
D Paul Terbenche Calgary
F Vaclav Nedomansky Toronto
F Bobby Hull Winnipeg
F Anders Hedberg Winnipeg
F Ulf Nilsson Winnipeg
F Marc Tardif Quebec
F Real Cloutier Quebec
F Serge Bernier Quebec
F Chris Bordeleau Quebec
F Frank Mahovlich Toronto
F Serge Bernier Quebec
F Danny Lawson Calgary
F Rusty Patenaude Edmonton
G Gerry Cheevers Cleveland
G Christer Abrahamsson New England
D Paul Shmyr Cleveland
D Pat Stapleton Indianapolis
D Kevin Morrison San Diego
D John Schella Houston
D Marty Howe Houston
D Rick Ley New England
F Andre LaCoix San Diego
F Gene Peacosh San Diego
F Gordie Howe Houston
F Dave Keon Minnesota
F Claude Larose Cincinnati
F Mike Walton Minnesota
F Robbie Ftorek Phoenix
F Wayne Carleton New England
F Mark Howe Houston
F Ralph Backstrom Denver
F Tom Webster New England
F Don Borgeson Denver

NOTES:
1 Injured: Did not participate

AWARDS
Avco World Trophy Winnipeg Jets
Gordie Howe Trophy Marc Tardif, Quebec Nordiques
Bill Hunter Trophy Marc Tardif, Quebec Nordiques
Lou Kaplan Trophy Mark Napier, Toronto Toros
Ben Hatskin Trophy Michel Dion, Indianapolis Racers
Dennis A. Murphy Trophy Paul Shmyr, Cleveland Crusaders
Paul Deneau Trophy Vaclav Nedomansky, Toronto Toros
Howard Baldwin Trophy Bobby Kromm, Winnipeg Jets
1975-76 G Total Average
Quebec Nordiques 40 395,383 9,885
New England Whalers 40 372,334 9,308
Houston Aeros 40 367,187 9,180
Toronto Toros 40 359,305 8,983
Indianapolis Racers 40 351,127 8,778
Winnipeg Jets 40 347,838 8,696
Minnesota Fighting Saints 29 243,488 8,396
Edmonton Oilers 40 317,234 7,931
Cincinnati Stingers 40 309,630 7,741
Phoenix Roadrunners 40 258,576 6,464
Cleveland Crusaders 40 254,224 6,356
San Diego Mariners 40 249,488 6,237
Calgary Cowboys 40 197,913 4,948
Denver Spurs/Ottawa Civics 23 99,394 4,321
LEAGUE 532 4,123,121 7,750
SCORING LEADERS
PLAYER TEAM POINTS
Marc Tardif Quebec 148
Bobby Hull Winnipeg 123
Real Cloutier Quebec 114
Ulf Nilsson Winnipeg 114
Robbie Ftorek Phoenix 113
Chris Bordeleau Quebec 109
Anders Hedberg Winnipeg 105
Rejean Houle Quebec 103
Gordie Howe Houston 102
Serge Bernier Quebec 102
ALL-WHA TEAM
Goalie Joe Daley, Winnipeg
Ron Grahame Houston
Defenseman JC Trembley, Quebec
Kevin Morrison San Diego
Defenseman Paul Shmyr, Cleveland
Pat Stapleton Indianapolis
Center Ulf Nilsson, Winnipeg
Robbie Ftorek Phoenix
Right Wing Andres Hedberg, Winnipeg
Bobby Hull Winnipeg
Left Wing Marc Tardiff, Quebec 
Real Cloutier Quebec




WHA Bibliography
The Rebel League: The Short and Unruly Life of the World Hockey Association by Ed Willes
The Complete Historical and Statistical Reference to the World Hockey Association by Scott Adam Surgent
WHA Pro Hockey '75 - '76 by Dan Proudfoot
WHA Media Guides (each team published one each year)

These and many other WHA items can be found at eBay - check our links on the far right of this page!


Share Your Memories!

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--Patrick Mondout



 


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