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1977-78 WHA Season

By Wikipedia

The 1977-78 season was the sixth regular season of the now defunct World Hockey Association (WHA). Merger talks with the NHL heated up, with a preliminary agreement that would have seen Winnipeg, Cincinnati, Edmonton, Houston, New England, and Quebec admitted to the older league eventually abandoned. With San Diego, Phoenix and Calgary gone, the league carries on with eight teams. The Winnipeg Jets won the second AVCO World Trophy in three years.

See also: Statistical Leaders for 1977-78, Complete League Attendance, 1977 WHA Draft

With a reduction of 4 teams from the start of the previous season, the WHA abandoned its divisional format and grouped the remaining 8 teams together. The best six teams qualified for the playoffs. However, instead of the standard schedule for a six-team playoff (i.e., giving the 1st and 2nd place teams byes into the semifinals, with the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th place teams opening in the quarterfinals), the WHA came up with a unique twist. There were three quarterfinal series instead of two, with the teams paired top to bottom (i.e., 1st vs. 6th, 2nd vs. 5th, 3rd vs. 4th). The highest-seeded quarterfinal winner then received a semifinal bye and advanced directly to the finals, while the remaining two quarterfinal series winners played off in the semifinals. All series were best four-out-of-seven games.

Winnipeg Jets* 80 50 28 2 102 381 270 988
New England Whalers* 80 44 31 5 93 335 269 1255
Houston Aeros* 80 42 34 4 88 296 302 1543
Quebec Nordiques* 80 40 37 3 83 349 347 1185
Edmonton Oilers* 80 38 39 3 79 309 307 1296
Birmingham Bulls* 80 36 41 3 75 287 314 2177
Cincinnati Stingers 80 35 42 3 73 298 332 1701
Indianapolis Racers 80 24 51 5 53 267 353 1189

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

AVCO World Trophy Playoffs

In one of the more bizarre playoff formats, the #1 and #6 seeds squared off in the first round for the right to appear in the finals while seeds number 2 through 5 battled it out in the other bracket.

  Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
  2  New England Whalers 4  
5  Edmonton Oilers 1  
  2  New England Whalers 4  
  4  Quebec Nordiques 1  
3  Houston Aeros 2
  4  Quebec Nordiques 4  
    2  New England Whalers 0
  1  Winnipeg Jets 4
  1  Winnipeg Jets 4  
6  Birmingham Bulls 1  

Robert Guindon was named AVCO Playoffs MVP for leading the Winnipeg Jets to another title.

WHA All Star Game

The sixth World Hockey Association All-Star game was played January 17, 1978 in Quebec City, Quebec. This game featured the defending champion Nordiques at home against the WHA All-Stars. The Nordiques beat the WHA 5-4 in front of 6,413 spectators on the strength of a power play goal by Matti Hagman set up by Marc Tardiff's fifth point. It was Hagman's second goal of the night. Marc Tardif and Mark Howe were named co-MVPs.

Avco World Trophy Winnipeg Jets
Gordie Howe Trophy Marc Tardif
Bill Hunter Trophy Marc Tardif
Lou Kaplan Trophy Kent Nilsson
Ben Hatskin Trophy Al Smith
Dennis A. Murphy Trophy Lars Sjoberg
Paul Deneau Trophy Dave Keon
Robert Schmertz Memorial Trophy Bill Dineen
ATTENDANCE G Total Average
Edmonton Oilers 41 429,862 10,484
Winnipeg Jets 41 397,085 9,685
New England Whalers 41 381,075 9,295
Quebec Nordiques 41 372,336 9,081
Birmingham Bulls 41 359,860 8,777
Houston Aeros 41 314,698 7,676
Cincinnati Stingers 41 303,404 7,400
Indianapolis Racers 41 301,891 7,363
LEAGUE 328 2,860,211 8,720
Marc Tardif Quebec 154
Real Cloutier Quebec 129
Ulf Nilsson Winnipeg 126
Anders Hedberg Winnipeg 122
Bobby Hull Winnipeg 117
Andre Lacroix Houston 113
Robbie Ftorek Cincinnati 109
Kent Nilsson Winnipeg 107
Gordie Howe New England 96
Mark Howe New England 91
Goalie Al Smith, New England
Ernie Wakely
Defenseman Lars-Erik Sjoberg, Winnipeg 
Rick Ley
Defenseman Al Hamilton, Edmonton
Center Ulf Nilsson, Winnipeg
Robbie Ftorek
Right Wing Andres Hedberg, Winnipeg
Real Cloutier
Left Wing Marc Tardiff, Quebec 
Bobby Hull

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!

We have a WHA Forum! Our sites have always been by you and about you. If you check our TV Forums or our Technology & Science forums, you'll find literally thousands of messages from fans of 1970s TV shows, survivors of hurricanes or aircraft accidents, etc. from all over the world sharing their memories, asking questions, making comments. Our baseball section is new, but don't let that stop you from sharing your memories of WHA games you saw, now-forgotten stadiums, etc. Of course you can also ask questions, post trivia, or just read what others are saying.

--Patrick Mondout


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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from this Wikipedia article, which is probably more up to date than ours (retrieved August 12, 2005).

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