76-77QueNor.jpg

The 1976-77 WHA season was the 5th season of the World Hockey Association (WHA). The Quebec Nordiques defeated the Winnipeg Jets 4 games to 3 in the Finals to win their 1st Avco World Trophy.

Off-season[edit | edit source]

Prior to the season, the Toronto Toros moved to Birmingham, Alabama and became the Bulls.

Pre-season[edit | edit source]

Action between the Bulls and Flames, September 21, 1976.

The second set of exhibition games between the NHL and WHA was held. The NHL was victorious in the series, winning 9 and losing 3 games with 1 tie.

September 21, 1976: Birmingham Bulls 7, Atlanta Flames 6
September 21, 1976: Pittsburgh Penguins 5, Houston Aeros 1
September 23, 1976: Pittsburgh Penguins 7, Calgary Cowboys 3
September 24, 1976: Winnipeg Jets 5, Pittsburgh Penguins 3
September 26, 1976: Pittsburgh Penguins 3, Edmonton Oilers 1
September 26, 1976: Washington Capitals 2, Indianapolis Racers 1
September 26, 1976: Winnipeg Jets 6, St. Louis Blues 2
September 28, 1976: Pittsburgh Penguins 7, Edmonton Oilers 3
September 29, 1976: Washington Capitals 3, Cincinnati Stingers 2
September 29, 1976: St. Louis Blues 5, Edmonton Oilers 4
September 30, 1976: Atlanta Flames 8, Houston Aeros 4
September 30, 1976: Pittsburgh Penguins 6, Indianapolis Racers 4

The game against St. Louis proved costly for the Jets as Bobby Hull fractured his wrist and missed 46 games of the regular season.

Regular Season[edit | edit source]

The Cleveland Crusaders, pushed out by the NHL's Cleveland Barons, attempted to move to South Florida but legal problems resulted in them moving to Minnesota to become the second version of the Fighting Saints. They met with little success there and folded after playing 42 games. The remaining 11 teams competed in the league, playing 80 or 81 games in the regular season.

In 49 games, Anders Hedberg scores his 50th goal, February 6, 1977.

Anders Hedberg started the February 6, 1977 game versus the Calgary Cowboys with 48 goals in 48 games, having scored 4 goals and 2 assists in the February 4, 1977 match against the San Diego Mariners. After the Jets were held scoreless in the first period, Hedberg scored in the second period on a 5 on 3 power play. He missed the rest of the period with strained knee ligaments after being checked by Paul Terbenche. He returned for the third period and became the first player in a major professional league to score 50 goals in less than 50 games when he fired a short side past Cowboys goalie Gary Bromley. He then added an empty net goal in the Jets 6-4 triumph. Wayne Gretzky broke Hedberg's record on December 30, 1981 with his 50th goal in 39 games.

Final Standings[edit | edit source]

Eastern Division GP W L T GF GA Pts
Quebec Nordiques 81 47 31 3 353 295 97
Cincinnati Stingers 81 39 37 5 354 303 83
Indianapolis Racers 81 36 37 8 276 305 80
New England Whalers 81 35 40 6 275 290 76
Birmingham Bulls 81 31 46 4 289 309 66
Minnesota Fighting Saints+ 42 19 18 5 136 129 43

+Team disbanded after 42 games.
Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, GF = Goals For, GA = Goals Against, Pts = Points
Teams that qualified for the playoffs are highlighted in bold.

Western Division GP W L T GF GA Pts
Houston Aeros 80 50 24 6 320 241 106
Winnipeg Jets 80 46 32 2 366 291 94
San Diego Mariners 81 40 37 4 284 283 85
Edmonton Oilers 81 34 43 4 243 304 72
Calgary Cowboys 81 31 43 7 252 296 69
Phoenix Roadrunners 80 28 48 4 281 383 60

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


Scoring Leaders[edit | edit source]

Bolded numbers indicate season leaders

GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; PIM = Penalty minutes

Player Team GP G A Pts PIM
Real Cloutier Quebec Nordiques 76 66 75 141 39
Anders Hedberg Winnipeg Jets 68 70 61 131 48
Ulf Nilsson Winnipeg Jets 71 39 85 124 89
Robbie Ftorek Phoenix Roadrunners 80 46 71 117 86
André Lacroix San Diego Mariners 81 32 82 114 79
Marc Tardif Quebec Nordiques 62 49 60 109 65
Rich Leduc Cincinnati Stingers 81 52 55 107 75
Chris Bordeleau Quebec Nordiques 72 32 75 107 34
Blaine Stoughton Cincinnati Stingers 81 52 52 104 39
Mark Napier Birmingham Bulls 80 60 36 96 24
Dennis Sobchuk Cincinnati Stingers 81 44 52 96 38
Serge Bernier Quebec Nordiques 74 43 53 96 94

Leading Goaltenders[edit | edit source]

Bolded numbers indicate season leaders

GP = Games played; Min = Minutes played; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties, GA = Goals against; GA = Goals against; SO = Shutouts; SV% = Save percentage; GAA = Goals against average

Player Team GP Min W L T GA SO SV% GAA
Ron Grahame Houston Aeros 39 2345 27 10 2 107 4 90.1 2.74
Ernie Wakely San Diego Mariners 46 2506 22 18 1 129 3 89.6 3.09
Cap Raeder New England Whalers 26 1328 12 10 1 69 2 90.2 3.12
Wayne Rutledge Houston Aeros 42 2512 23 14 4 132 3 89.8 3.15
Joe Daley Winnipeg Jets 65 3813 39 21 2 206 3 89.2 3.24

All-Star Game[edit | edit source]

On January 18, 1977 at the Hartford Civic Center, a team comprised of the Eastern Division All-Stars defeated the Western Division All-Stars 4-2 before a crowd of 10,337 spectators. Goalie Jean-Louis Levasseur was the Eastern All-Stars MVP while Willy Lindstrom, who scored a goal and an assist, was the Western All-Stars MVP.

Avco World Trophy Playoffs[edit | edit source]

  Quarter-finals Semi-finals Finals
                           
  E1  Quebec Nordiques 4  
E4  New England Whalers 1  
  E1  Quebec Nordiques 4  
Eastern Division
  E3  Indianapolis Racers 1  
E2  Cincinnati Stingers 0
  E3  Indianapolis Racers 4  
    E1  Quebec Nordiques 4
  W2  Winnipeg Jets 3
  W1  Houston Aeros 4  
W4  Edmonton Oilers 1  
W1  Houston Aeros 2
Western Division
  W2  Winnipeg Jets 4  
W2  Winnipeg Jets 4
  W3  San Diego Mariners 3  

Avco World Trophy Finals[edit | edit source]

J.C. Tremblay scores, Game 7 of the 1977 Avco World Trophy Finals, May 26, 1977.

The Finals pitted the 1976 AVCO World Trophy winning Winnipeg Jets against the Quebec Nordiques. The series was characterized by wild swings in scoring with each team winning games by lopsided margins.

The deciding Game 7 was initially a tight, close-checking game with no scoring in the first period. The Nordiques scored two quick goals to start the second period and then added a third at 6:29. The Jets Dan Labraaten cut into the Nordiques lead at 8:39 to make it 3-1. Less than a minute later, J.C. Tremblay fired a shot from center ice that beat Jets goalie Joe Daley. Totally deflated, the Jets surrendered four more goals before scoring a consolation marker, losing 8-2. Serge Bernier won the WHA Playoff MVP trophy, as he scored 36 points for the Nordiques in 17 post season games.

# Date Visitor Score Home Record
1 May 11 Winnipeg Jets 2–1 Quebec Nordiques 1-0
2 May 15 Winnipeg Jets 1–6 Quebec Nordiques 1-1
3 May 18 Quebec Nordiques 1–6 Winnipeg Jets 1-2
4 May 20 Quebec Nordiques 4–2 Winnipeg Jets 2-2
5 May 22 Winnipeg Jets 3–8 Quebec Nordiques 2-3
6 May 24 Quebec Nordiques 3–12 Winnipeg Jets 3-3
7 May 26 Winnipeg Jets 2–8 Quebec Nordiques 3-4

WHA Awards[edit | edit source]

Avco World Trophy: Quebec Nordiques
Gordie Howe Trophy (MVP): Robbie Ftorek, Phoenix Roadrunners
Bill Hunter Trophy (Scoring Leader): Real Cloutier, Quebec Nordiques
Lou Kaplan Trophy (Rookie of the Year): George Lyle, New England Whalers
Ben Hatskin Trophy (Best Goaltender): Ron Grahame, Houston Aeros
Dennis A. Murphy Trophy (Best Defenseman): Ron Plumb, Cincinnati Stingers
Paul Deneau Trophy (Most Gentlemenly): Dave Keon, New England Whalers
Robert Schmertz Memorial Trophy (Coach of the Year): Bill Dineen, Houston Aeros
WHA Playoff MVP: Serge Bernier, Quebec Nordiques

All-Star Teams[edit | edit source]

Position First Team Second Team
Centre Robbie Ftorek, Phoenix Ulf Nilsson, Winnipeg
Right Wing Anders Hedberg, Winnipeg Real Cloutier, Quebec
Left Wing Marc Tardif, Quebec Rick Dudley, Cincinnati
Defence Darryl Maggs, Indianapolis Poul Popiel, Houston
Defence Ron Plumb, Cincinnati Mark Howe, Houston
Goaltender John Garrett, Birmingham Joe Daley, Winnipeg

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Video[edit | edit source]

WHA All-Star game, January 18, 1977.

Game 7 of the 1977 Avco World Trophy Finals, May 26, 1977

References[edit | edit source]

Preceded by
1975-76 WHA season
WHA seasons Succeeded by
1977-78 WHA season
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