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WHA Teams: Los Angeles Sharks

By Patrick Mondout

The Los Angeles Sharks were a professional ice hockey team based in Los Angeles and Long Beach, California in the World Hockey Association (WHA). The team moved to Detroit to become the Michigan Stags before finally moving to Maryland as the Baltimore Blades.

At a glance...
Franchise Facts
Established 1972
Located Los Angeles
Disbanded May 1975
Purchase Price $2.5M (1973)
Owner(s) Peter Shagena
Charles Nolton
Los Angeles Sharks (1972-73)
Michigan Stags (1974-75)
Baltimore Blades (1975)
L.A. Memorial Sports Arena (14,700)
Long Beach Sports Arena (11,325)
Detroit Cobo Arena (10,200)
Baltimore Civic Center (11,000)

In 1972 the Los Angeles Sharks joined the WHA as a founding member. The team alternated home games between the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena and the Long Beach Sports Arena.

On April 11, 1974, a group headed by Peter Shagena and Charles Nolton bought the Los Angeles franchise from WHA co-founder Dennis Murphy, moved them to Detroit and re-named them the Michigan Stags. The team attempted to take on the Detroit Red Wings in their own backyard, but averaged less than 3,000 in attendance with a mediocre roster featuring ex-Montreal Canadien great Marc Tardiff. The financial troubles of the team forced a trade of Tardiff to Quebec. The league did them no favors by not scheduling the Houston Aeros - and 46 year old former Red Wing Gordie Howe - to play in Detroit until February. But by then the struggling team had folded.

The Baltimore Blades were created a week after the demise of the Stags. The Blades played out of the Baltimore Arena, but like the Stags attendance was a major problem. Also it never helped when the team finished out the season with a 3-13-1 record. The Blades at the end of the season were planning to move to Seattle, but the move never materialized and the Baltimore Blades later folded in May of 1975.

On January 18, 1975, about a week after the Stags disbanded, the WHA placed a team in Maryland (known as the Baltimore Blades) to take their place and finish out their schedule. The team was no more successful in Baltimore and disbanded for good following the season despite rumors of a move to Seattle.

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



Find other WHA programs and media guides at eBay (see links below).

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