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WHA Teams: Cleveland Crusaders

By Wikipedia

The Cleveland Crusaders (also known as the Calgary Cowboys and the Minnesota Fighting Saints) were a professional ice hockey team in World Hockey Association (WHA).

At a glance...
Franchise Facts
Established November 1, 1971
Located Calgary
Cleveland, Ohio
St. Paul, Minnesota
Disbanded January 20, 1977
Purchase Price $25,000 (1972)
Owner(s) Nick Mileti
Calgary Broncos (1972)
Cleveland Crusaders (1972-1976)
Minnesota New Fighting Saints (1976-1977)
Cleveland Arena (9,300) 1972-74
Richfield Coliseum (18,500) 1974-76
St. Paul Civic Center (1976-1977)

The franchise began in the WHA as the Calgary Broncos on November 1, 1971. In the first WHA draft, the Broncos chose: Barry Gibbs, Jim Harrison, Dale Hoganson and Jack Norris. Prior to the start of the first WHA season, the franchise folded.

The team was established with the anticipation of an Alberta rivalry between the Broncos and the Edmonton Oil Kings. The Oil Kings were then renamed the Alberta Oilers with the intention of sharing home games between Calgary and Edmonton. The Oilers did not have any home games in Calgary and were later renamed the Edmonton Oilers.

After the team folded, their spot in the league was taken by the Cleveland Crusaders. Calgary later joined the WHA in 1975 with the Calgary Cowboys.

The team played in the Cleveland Arena from 1972-1974 and then in the Richfield Coliseum from 1974-1976. The team was moved to St. Paul, Minnesota, becoming the second incarnation of the Minnesota Fighting Saints in 1976 (not to be confused with the first), when the NHL's California Golden Seals moved to Cleveland and became the Cleveland Barons.

Like their predecessors, this second version of the Saints (called the "New Fighting Saints") had a winning record through their first 42 games (19-18-5), but Crusaders/Saints owner Nick Mileti was unable to sell the team to local buyers, and elected to fold the franchise on January 20, 1977. Their logo and uniforms were identical to the old ones, but with scarlet replacing blue in the color scheme.

Cleveland Crusaders
1972-73 78 43 32 3 287 239 89
1973-74 78 37 32 9 266 264 83
1974-75 78 35 40 3 236 258 73
1975-76 80 35 40 5 273 279 75

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!

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--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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