Vancouver Blazers

The Vancouver Blazers were a professional ice hockey team that played in the World Hockey Association from 1973 to 1975. The Blazers played at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver, sharing the facility with the Vancouver Canucks of the National Hockey League. The Blazers were owned by local businessman Jim Pattison. The franchise moved to Vancouver after a single season in Philadelphia. Unable to establish a strong fan base in Vancouver, the team was moved again in 1975 to become the Calgary Cowboys.

Vancouver Blazers
Vancouver Blazers.png
CityVancouver, British Columbia
Home arenaPacific Coliseum
ColoursYellow and burnt orange
Franchise history
1972
(did not play)
Miami Screaming Eagles
1972–1973Philadelphia Blazers
1973–1975Vancouver Blazers
1975–1976Calgary Cowboys

HistoryEdit

The Blazers were one of the founding members of the World Hockey Association. Originally the team, called the Miami Screaming Eagles, was to be based in Miami, Florida, but due to financial problems and a lack of a suitable arena, the franchise was moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and debuted as the Philadelphia Blazers. After only one season in Philadelphia, the team relocated to Vancouver, British Columbia and became the Vancouver Blazers in 1973–74. After two seasons, the team was again relocated to Calgary, Alberta as the Calgary Cowboys for 1975–76. Two years later, the franchise folded.

Vancouver BlazersEdit

After the 1972–73 WHA season ended, the Philadelphia Blazers' owners sold the team to Jim Pattison who moved the team north of the border to Vancouver, British Columbia where it was named Vancouver Blazers.

Pattison knew that in order to compete with the Vancouver Canucks of the NHL, who shared the same arena, he needed to attract a major star to the team, as Andre Lacroix, who had led the league in scoring the previous year, left to join the New York Golden Blades, while the team's (and league's) highest-paid player, Derek Sanderson, had been forced out at the end of the season in a major embarrassment to the team and league. Pattison tried to sign Boston star Phil Esposito, offering him $2.5 million over five years. Esposito decided to stay with the Bruins for less money.

The team performed poorly in their first year, finishing with a record of 27-50-1; despite this, Vancouver was such a strong hockey town that the Blazers actually led the WHA in attendance, drawing 9,356 a night, more than 50% above the average of the other eleven clubs in the league. The next season, 1974–75, the club improved to only two games below .500, only to see attendance slip to 8,014 a game, sixth in the 14-team WHA. It wasn't enough to keep the team in Vancouver; after only two seasons on the west coast, the team made its third franchise shift in three years, this time to Calgary, Alberta, where they were renamed Calgary Cowboys. The Cowboys would be the WHA's second attempt in Calgary, as the Calgary Broncos were slated to start playing there for the inaugural WHA season. However, after Broncos' owner Bob Brownridge died, the franchise was placed in Cleveland instead.[1]

Season-by-season recordEdit

See 1973–74 Vancouver Blazers season
See 1974–75 Vancouver Blazers season

Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes

Season Team Name GP W L T PTS GF GA PIM Finish Playoffs
1973–74 Vancouver Blazers 78 27 50 1 55 278 345 1047 5th, Western Did not qualify
1974–75 Vancouver Blazers 78 37 39 2 76 256 270 1075 4th, Canadian Did not qualify
Franchise totals 395 174 207 14 362 1381 1498 5278

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ The Alberta Oilers were then mooted as a "regional" franchise that would play in both Edmonton and Calgary, but that first season the Oilers played only one game in Calgary: a one-game playoff against Minnesota, which they lost. The franchise was renamed the Edmonton Oilers in 1973, which has been their identity ever since.

External linksEdit