72-73OttNat.jpg
1972–73 Ottawa Nationals
Division 4th Eastern
1972–73 record 35–39–4
Home record 21–15–3
Road record 14–24–1
Goals for 279
Goals against 301
Team Information
General Manager Doug Michel
Coach Billy Harris
Captain Guy Trottier
Alternate captains Rick Sentes
Wayne Carleton
Arena Ottawa Civic Centre
Average attendance 3,226
Team Leaders
Goals Wayne Carleton (42)
Assists Wayne Carleton (49)
Points Wayne Carleton (91)
Penalties in minutes Rick Cunningham (121)
Wins Gilles Gratton (25)
Goals against average Gilles Gratton (3.71)

1973–74 >

The 1972–73 Ottawa Nationals season was the 1st season of the Nationals franchise in the World Hockey Association (WHA). The Nationals finished 4th in the Eastern Division and lost in the Quarter-finals to the New England Whalers 4 games to 1.

Off-season[edit | edit source]

The Nationals were originally owned by Doug Michel, who rumoured he would place the team in either Hamilton or Toronto, however, he placed the club in Ottawa. After the team was placed to play in Ottawa, Nick Trbovich became the majority owner, with Michel running hockey operations. The club was placed in the six team Eastern Division, with the top four clubs earning a playoff berth.

In June 1972, the team signed its first players, Rich Leduc and Ron Climie.

Ron Climie and Brian Conacher's 1972-73 jerseys.

The Nationals hired former Toronto Maple Leafs player Billy Harris to coach the team. Ottawa's top signing was Wayne Carleton, who had previously played with the Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins and California Golden Seals in the NHL.

The Nationals jersey colours for their only WHA season were red, white and blue with a primarily white home jersey and a primarily red away jersey. Jersey numbers were outlined with the names were not. Shoulders yolks with three stripes underneath the front and back and three stripes on the arms and body completed the design. The logo was a rounded rectangle containing the letters "ON" with a maple leaf inside the "O". Both jerseys had the player's names on the back with no nameplate.

Pre-season[edit | edit source]

The Nationals held their training camp in Hull, Quebec. NHL players the team had signed couldn't attend camp until October 1, 1972, the day their NHL contracts expired. The team held its first exhibition game on October 1 and lost 3-1 to the Philadelphia Blazers. The Nationals lost all five of their exhibition games.

Regular Season[edit | edit source]

Ron Ward and Wayne Carleton in 1972-73 season action.

The first game in the WHA was a match between the Nationals and the Alberta Oilers at the Civic Centre, with Alberta winning the game 7-4 on October 11, 1972. Ottawa recorded their first victory in their fourth game, a 6-2 decision over the Chicago Cougars. The Nationals would eventually find themselves a season high two games over .500 with a 12-10-1 record before falling into a long slump, in which the club had a record of 7-21-3 in their next 31 games and see themselves in last place in the Eastern Division. Ottawa would play very good hockey down the stretch, and finish the season at 35-39-4, earning 74 points and the fourth and final playoff position.

Attendance was an issue for the club though, as they drew an average of just over 3,000 fans per game, as the team was competing against the very popular Ottawa 67's OHA team for fans.

Offensively, Ottawa was led by Carleton, who scored a team high 42 goals and 49 assists for 91 points, which ranked him tenth in league scoring. Twenty year old Gavin Kirk had a very good season, earning 68 points in 78 games, while Bob Charlebois earned 64 points. On the blueline, Brian Gibbons had 42 points to lead the way, while Rick Cunningham had 41 points, and a team high 121 penalty minutes.

In goal, Gilles Gratton had the majority of playing time, winning a team high 25 games and posting a 3.71 GAA. Les Binkley backed him up, earning 10 wins and a GAA of 3.72.

The Nationals would play the season in Ottawa, but transferred their playoff games to Toronto. Due to low attendance in Ottawa, an arena lease dispute and much better attendance in their two playoff games in Toronto, where they averaged over 5000 fans per game, the Nationals would relocate to Toronto permanently beginning in the 1973-74, and the club would be renamed the Toronto Toros.

Final Standings[edit | edit source]

Eastern Division
GP W L T GF GA PIM Pts
New England Whalers 78 46 30 2 318 263 858 94
Cleveland Crusaders 78 43 32 3 287 239 1095 89
Philadelphia Blazers 78 38 40 0 288 305 1260 76
Ottawa Nationals 78 35 39 4 279 301 1067 74
Quebec Nordiques 78 33 40 5 276 313 1354 71
New York Raiders 78 33 43 2 303 334 900 68

Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, GF = Goals For, GA = Goals Against, PIM = Penalties Minutes, Pts = Points
Teams that qualified for the playoffs are highlighted in bold.


Game Log[edit | edit source]

Regular Season Schedule
# Date Visitor Score Home Record Pts
1 October 11 Alberta Oilers 7–4 Ottawa Nationals 0–1–0 0
2 October 14 Ottawa Nationals 6–8 New York Raiders 0–2–0 0
3 October 15 Cleveland Crusaders 7–5 Ottawa Nationals 0–3–0 0
4 October 19 Chicago Cougars 2–6 Ottawa Nationals 1–3–0 2
5 October 21 Ottawa Nationals 5–3 Cleveland Crusaders 2–3–0 4
6 October 22 Ottawa Nationals 3–2 Quebec Nordiques 3–3–0 6
7 October 25 Ottawa Nationals 8–5 Los Angeles Sharks 4–3–0 8
8 October 26 Ottawa Nationals 3–7 Houston Aeros 4–4–0 8
9 October 28 Ottawa Nationals 5–3 Philadelphia Blazers 5–4–0 10
10 November 2 Los Angeles Sharks 1–1 Ottawa Nationals 5–4–1 11
11 November 5 Ottawa Nationals 5–3 Alberta Oilers 6–4–1 13
12 November 9 Winnipeg Jets 4–1 Ottawa Nationals 6–5–1 13
13 November 12 Philadelphia Blazers 1–2 Ottawa Nationals 7–5–1 15
14 November 16 Ottawa Nationals 3–6 Cleveland Crusaders 7–6–1 15
15 November 18 Ottawa Nationals 2–3 New England Whalers 7–7–1 15
16 November 20 Ottawa Nationals 5–7 New England Whalers 7–8–1 15
17 November 21 Quebec Nordiques 2–4 Ottawa Nationals 8–8–1 17
18 November 23 Chicago Cougars 8–1 Ottawa Nationals 8–9–1 17
19 November 26 Alberta Oilers 2–1 Ottawa Nationals 8–10–1 17
20 November 28 Minnesota Fighting Saints 2–3 Ottawa Nationals 9–10–1 19
21 November 30 Cleveland Crusaders 2–3 Ottawa Nationals 10–10–1 21
22 December 1 Ottawa Nationals 4–3 Winnipeg Jets 11–10–1 23
23 December 3 Houston Aeros 4–5 Ottawa Nationals 12–10–1 25
24 December 4 Ottawa Nationals 2–7 New England Whalers 12–11–1 25
25 December 7 New England Whalers 4–2 Ottawa Nationals 12–12–1 25
26 December 9 Ottawa Nationals 1–7 Philadelphia Blazers 12–13–1 25
27 December 10 Quebec Nordiques 6–7 Ottawa Nationals 13–13–1 27
28 December 14 New York Raiders 4–3 Ottawa Nationals 13–14–1 27
29 December 15 Ottawa Nationals 4–3 Alberta Oilers 14–14–1 29
30 December 17 Ottawa Nationals 1–3 Alberta Oilers 14–15–1 29
31 December 19 Ottawa Nationals 3–7 Quebec Nordiques 14–16–1 29
32 December 21 Los Angeles Sharks 4–4 Ottawa Nationals 14–16–2 30
33 December 22 Ottawa Nationals 5–7 New York Raiders 14–17–2 30
34 December 24 Quebec Nordiques 2–6 Ottawa Nationals 15–17–2 32
35 December 26 Houston Aeros 3–3 Ottawa Nationals 15–17–3 33
36 December 30 Ottawa Nationals 4–2 Chicago Cougars 16–17–3 35
37 December 31 Ottawa Nationals 4–8 Quebec Nordiques 16–18–3 35
38 January 4 Ottawa Nationals 4–9 New York Raiders 16–19–3 35
39 January 9 Quebec Nordiques 5–7 Ottawa Nationals 17–19–3 37
40 January 11 New York Raiders 1–4 Ottawa Nationals 18–19–3 39
41 January 12 Ottawa Nationals 3–4 Philadelphia Blazers 18–20–3 39
42 January 14 Ottawa Nationals 2–3 Minnesota Fighting Saints 18–21–3 39
43 January 16 Ottawa Nationals 4–5 Quebec Nordiques 18–22–3 39
44 January 18 Minnesota Fighting Saints 3–6 Ottawa Nationals 19–22–3 41
45 January 19 Ottawa Nationals 2–4 Philadelphia Blazers 19–23–3 41
46 January 21 Ottawa Nationals 2–5 Houston Aeros 19–24–3 41
47 January 23 Ottawa Nationals 3–11 Houston Aeros 19–25–3 41
48 January 25 New England Whalers 4–2 Ottawa Nationals 19–26–3 41
49 January 26 Ottawa Nationals 2–4 Minnesota Fighting Saints 19–27–3 41
50 January 28 Winnipeg Jets 5–4 Ottawa Nationals 19–28–3 41
51 January 30 Philadelphia Blazers 5–4 Ottawa Nationals 19–29–3 41
52 February 1 Ottawa Nationals 2–2 Cleveland Crusaders 19–29–4 42
53 February 2 Ottawa Nationals 1–4 Chicago Cougars 19–30–4 42
54 February 4 Cleveland Crusaders 3–2 Ottawa Nationals 19–31–4 42
55 February 6 Philadelphia Blazers 3–5 Ottawa Nationals 20–31–4 44
56 February 8 New York Raiders 3–2 Ottawa Nationals 20–32–4 44
57 February 9 Ottawa Nationals 7–4 New England Whalers 21–32–4 46
58 February 11 Ottawa Nationals 2–3 New York Raiders 21–33–4 46
59 February 14 Ottawa Nationals 6–3 Quebec Nordiques 22–33–4 48
60 February 15 Ottawa Nationals 0–3 Minnesota Fighting Saints 22–34–4 48
61 February 17 Ottawa Nationals 3–1 Chicago Cougars 23–34–4 50
62 February 20 Los Angeles Sharks 4–2 Ottawa Nationals 23–35–4 50
63 February 22 Philadelphia Blazers 6–5 Ottawa Nationals 23–36-4 50
64 February 25 Alberta Oilers 2–3 Ottawa Nationals 24–36–4 52
65 February 27 Cleveland Crusaders 1–2 Ottawa Nationals 25–36–4 54
66 March 1 New York Raiders 1–2 Ottawa Nationals 26–36–4 56
67 March 4 Chicago Cougars 4–6 Ottawa Nationals 27–36–4 58
68 March 6 Winnipeg Jets 2–5 Ottawa Nationals 28–36–4 60
69 March 11 Ottawa Nationals 2–4 Los Angeles Sharks 28–37–4 60
70 March 13 Ottawa Nationals 3–1 Los Angeles Sharks 29–37–4 62
71 March 16 Ottawa Nationals 6–1 Winnipeg Jets 30–37–4 64
72 March 18 Ottawa Nationals 4–2 Winnipeg Jets 31–37–4 66
73 March 22 New England Whalers 2–4 Ottawa Nationals 32–37–4 68
74 March 25 Minnesota Fighting Saints 1–6 Ottawa Nationals 33–37–4 70
75 March 27 Quebec Nordiques 2–6 Ottawa Nationals 34–37–4 72
76 March 29 New England Whalers 2–5 Ottawa Nationals 35–37–4 74
77 March 31 Ottawa Nationals 2–4 Cleveland Crusaders 35–38–4 74
78 April 1 Houston Aeros 6–3 Ottawa Nationals 35–39–4 74

Playoffs[edit | edit source]

The Nationals would open the playoffs with a best of seven series against the New England Whalers, who had a league high 94 points. The series opened up with two games in New England, and the Whalers took advantage of their home ice, defeating Ottawa 6-3 and 4-3 to take a two game series lead. The series moved to Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, as the Nationals ownership decided to move their playoff games from Ottawa due to attendance problems. The Nationals used their "home ice" advantage in the third game, defeating the Whalers 4-2 to get back into the series, however, New England easily defeated Ottawa in the fourth game 7-3 to take a 3-1 series lead. The Whalers would close out the series in the fifth game back in New England, as they beat Ottawa 5-4 in overtime to eliminate the Nationals.

New England Whalers 4, Ottawa Nationals 1[edit | edit source]

# Date Visitor Score Home Record
1 April 7 Ottawa Nationals 3–6 New England Whalers 0–1
2 April 8 Ottawa Nationals 3–4 New England Whalers 0–2
3 April 10 New England Whalers 2–4 Ottawa Nationals 1-2
4 April 12 New England Whalers 7–3 Ottawa Nationals 1–3
5 April 14 Ottawa Nationals 4–5 New England Whalers 1-4

Player Stats[edit | edit source]

Regular Season[edit | edit source]

Scoring Leaders
# Player GP G A Pts PIM
9 Wayne Carleton 75 42 49 91 42
11 Gavin Kirk 78 28 40 68 54
16 Bob Charlebois 78 24 40 64 28
7 Guy Trottier 72 26 32 58 25
19 Bob Leduc 78 22 33 55 71
12 Steve King 69 18 34 52 28
17 Tom Martin 74 19 27 46 27
6 Brian Gibbons 73 7 35 42 62
8 Rick Sentes 74 22 19 41 78
3 Rick Cunningham 78 9 32 41 121
21 Jack Gibson 59 22 13 35 48
23 Ron Climie 31 12 19 31 2
20 Brian Conacher 69 8 19 27 32
4 Ken Stephanson 77 3 16 19 93
14 Tom Simpson 57 10 7 17 44
10 Mike Boland 41 1 15 16 44
5 Mike Amodeo 61 1 14 15 77
2 Steve Warr 72 3 8 11 79
22 Chris Meloff 28 1 6 7 40
15 Ron Riley 22 0 5 5 2
24 John Donnelly 15 1 1 2 44
Merv Haney 7 0 1 1 4
33 Gilles Gratton 51 0 1 1 10
1 John Blum 2 0 0 0 0
30 Les Binkley 30 0 0 0 0
Goaltending
Player GP TOI W L T GA SO GAA Save %
Gilles Gratton 51 3021 25 22 3 187 0 3.71 .882
Les Binkley 30 1709 10 17 1 106 0 3.72 .882
Frank Blum 2 28 0 0 0 3 0 6.43 .824

Playoffs[edit | edit source]

Scoring Leaders
Player GP G A Pts PIM
Wayne Carleton 3 3 3 6 4
Gavin Kirk 5 2 3 5 12
Tom Martin 5 0 5 5 2
Rick Sentes 5 3 1 4 2
Brian Conacher 5 1 3 4 4
Goaltending
Player GP TOI W L GA SO GAA
Les Binkley 4 223 1 3 17 0 4.57
Gilles Gratton 2 87 0 1 7 0 4.83

Awards and Records[edit | edit source]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

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