North American Hockey League (1973–1977)
The North American Hockey League (NAHL) was a low-level minor professional ice hockey league that existed from 1973 to 1977. Several of the NAHL teams operated as developmental ("farm") teams for World Hockey Association franchises. The NAHL was one of two leagues, along with the Southern Hockey League, that were formed after the Eastern Hockey League ceased operations in 1973. The Lockhart Cup was the league's championship trophy. With the loss of a number of franchises, the NAHL elected to fold in September 1977.
|Replaced by||American Hockey League|
|No. of teams||7 to 10|
|Country||United States & Canada|
|Most titles||Syracuse Blazers (2)|
The league served as the inspiration for the film Slap Shot. Ned Dowd, who played for the Johnstown Jets, was the brother of the film's screenwriter, Nancy Dowd. Ned played for Johnstown during a season where the team was for sale, when his sister came to live in Johnstown and was inspired to write the screenplay. The film contains references to "Syracuse" and "Broome County", which were teams in the NAHL. Some of the incidents depicted actually occurred in actual NAHL games.
|Beauce Jaros||1975–1976||2||Saint-Georges, Quebec|
|Broome Dusters||1973–1977||4||Binghamton, New York|
|Buffalo Norsemen||1975–1976||1||North Tonawanda, New York|
|Cape Cod Cubs / Cape Codders||1973–1976||3||South Yarmouth, Massachusetts|
|Erie Blades||1975–1977||2||Erie, Pennsylvania|
|Johnstown Jets||1973–1977||4||Johnstown, Pennsylvania|
|Long Island Cougars||1973–1975||2||Commack, New York|
|Maine Nordiques||1973–1977||4||Lewiston, Maine|
|Mohawk Valley Comets||1973–1977||4||Utica, New York|
|Philadelphia Firebirds||1974–1977||3||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania|
|Syracuse Blazers||1973–1977||4||Syracuse, New York|
Lockhart Cup edit
The championship trophy of the North American Hockey League was named the Lockhart Cup in honor of Tommy Lockhart, founder of the Eastern Hockey League. The trophy was last awarded on April 10, 1977, to the Syracuse Blazers, and has since gone missing. The Hockey Hall of Fame stated that the Lockhart Cup is one of "about three historical trophies that have disappeared". Its last known whereabouts was reported to be in the basement of Danny Belisle, the coach of the Blazers in the 1976–77 season.
|1973–74||Syracuse Blazers||Long Island Cougars|
|1974–75||Johnstown Jets||Broome Dusters|
|1975–76||Philadelphia Firebirds||Beauce Jaros|
|1976–77||Syracuse Blazers||Maine Nordiques|
- Reading Eagle, 26 September 1977
- Miller, Chuck. From Atlantic City to Toronto: The Boardwalk Trophy and the Eastern Hockey League. Part 2: The Jets, the Comets, Southern Expansion and Well-Worn Knuckles. Vol. 3 (2 ed.). Fort Wayne, Indiana: Hockey Ink!. pp. 4–6.
- "Ned Dowd Hockey Stats and Profile at hockeydb.com".
- "North American Hockey League [1973-1977] history and statistics". hockeydb.com.
- Goulet, Neal (February 3, 2014). "A thirst to find hockey's Lockhart Cup, which honors a pioneer". Goulet Communications. Retrieved July 26, 2020.