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World Hockey Association

WHA Finals

The World Hockey Association began play in 1972-73 as a 12-team rival of the 56-year-old NHL. The WHA played for the AVCO World Trophy in its seven playoff finals (Avco Financial Services underwrote the playoffs).

Multiple winners: Winnipeg (3); Houston (2).

Year Winner Head Coach Series Loser Head Coach
1973 New England Whalers Jack Kelley 4-1 (WWLWW) Winnipeg Jets Bobby Hull
1974 Houston Aeros Bill Dineen 4-0 Chicago Cougars Pat Stapleton
1975 Houston Aeros Bill Dineen 4-0 Quebec Nordiques Jean-Guy Gendron
1976 Winnipeg Jets Bobby Kromm 4-0 Houston Aeros Bill Dineen
1977 Quebec Nordiques Marc Boileau 4-3 (LWLWWLW) Winnipeg Jets Bobby Kromm
1978 Winnipeg Jets Larry Hillman 4-0 NE Whalers Harry Neale
1979 Winnipeg Jets Larry Hillman 4-2 (WWLWLW) Edmonton Oilers Glen Sather
Playoff MVPs—1973—No award; 1974—No award; 1975—Ron Grahame, Houston, G; 1976—Ulf Nilsson, Winnipeg, C; 1977—Serg Bernier, Quebec, C; 1978—Bobby Guindon, Winnipeg, C; 1979—Rich Preston, Winnipeg, RW.

Most Valuable Player

(Gordie Howe Trophy, 1976-79)

Year  G A Pts
1973 Bobby Hull, Win., LW 51 52 103
1974 Gordie Howe, Hou., RW 31 69 100
1975 Bobby Hull, Win., LW 77 65 142
1976 Marc Tardif, Que., LW 71 77 148
1977 Robbie Ftorek, Pho., C 46 71 117
1978 Marc Tardif, Que., LW 65 89 154
1979 Dave Dryden, Edm., G 41-17-2;2.89

Rookie of the Year

Year  G A Pts
1973 Terry Caffery, N. Eng., C 39 61 100
1974 Mark Howe, Hou., LW 38 41 79
1975 Anders Hedberg, Win., RW 53 47 100
1976 Mark Napier, Tor., RW 43 50 93
1977 George Lyle, N. Eng., LW 39 33 72
1978 Kent Nilsson, Win., C 42 65 107
1979 Wayne Gretzky, Ind.-Edm., C 46 64 110

Best Defenseman

Year  
1973 J.C. Tremblay, Quebec
1974 Pat Stapleton, Chicago
1975 J.C. Tremblay, Quebec
1976 Paul Shmyr, Cleveland
1977 Ron Plumb, Cincinnati
1978 Lars-Erik Sjoberg, Winnipeg
1979 Rick Ley, New England

Scoring Leaders

Year  Gm G A Pts
1973 Andre Lacroix, Phi 78 50 74 124
1974 Mike Walton, Min 78 57 60 117
1975 Andre Lacroix, S. Diego 78 41 106 147
1976 Marc Tardif, Que 81 71 77 148
1977 Real Cloutier, Que 76 66 75 141
1978 Marc Tardif, Que 78 65 89 154
1979 Real Cloutier, Que 77 75 54 129
Note: In 1979, 18 year-old Rookie of the Year Wayne Gretzky finished third in scoring (46-64—110).

Best Goaltender

Year  Record GAA
1973 Gerry Cheevers, Cleveland 32-20-0 2.84
1974 Don McLeod, Houston 33-13-3 2.56
1975 Ron Grahame, Houston 33-10-0 3.03
1976 Michel Dion, Indianapolis 14-15-1 2.74
1977 Ron Grahame, Houston 27-10-2 2.74
1978 Al Smith, New England 30-20-3 3.22
1979 Dave Dryden, Edmonton 41-17-2 2.89

Coach of the Year

Year   Improvement
1973 Jack Kelley, N. Eng    46-30-2*
1974 Billy Harris, Tor 35-39-4 to 41-33-4
1975 Sandy Hucul, Pho Expan. to 39-31-8
1976 Bobby Kromm, Win 38-35-5 to 52-27-2*
1977 Bill Dineen, Hou 53-27-0* to 50-24-6*
1978 Bill Dineen, Hou 50-24-6* to 42-34-4
1979 John Brophy, Birm 36-41-3 to 32-42-6
*Won Division.

WHA All-Star Game

The WHA All-Star Game was an Eastern Division vs Western Division contest from 1973-75. In 1976, the league's five Canadian-based teams played the nine teams in the US. Over the final three seasons–East played West in 1977; AVCO Cup champion Quebec played a WHA All-Star team in 1978; and in 1979, a full WHA All-Star team played a three-game series with Moscow Dynamo of the Soviet Union.

Year Result Host Coaches Most Valuable Player
1973 East 6, West 2 Quebec Jack Kelley, Bobby Hull Wayne Carleton, Ottawa
1974 East 8, West 4 St. Paul, MN Jack Kelley, Bobby Hull Mike Walton, Minnesota
1975 West 6, East 4 Edmonton Bill Dineen, Ron Ryan Rejean Houle, Quebec
1976 Canada 6, USA 1 Cleveland Jean-Guy Gendron, Bill Dineen Can—Real Cloutier, Que.
    USA—Paul Shmyr, Cleve.
1977 East 4, West 2 Hartford Jacques Demers, Bobby Kromm East—L. Levasseur, Min.
    West—W. Lindstrom, Win.
1978 Quebec 5, WHA 4 Quebec Marc Boileau, Bill Dineen Quebec—Marc Tardif
    WHA—Mark Howe, NE
1979 WHA def. Moscow Dynamo
3 games to none (4-2, 4-2, 4-3)
Edmonton Larry Hillman, P. Iburtovich No awards

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