|League:||World Hockey Association|
(1976 to 1979)
Central Hockey League
(1979 to 1981)
|Operated:||1976 to 1981|
|Home Arena:||Birmingham Jefferson Convention Center|
|1972 to 1973:||Ottawa Nationals|
|1973 to 1976:||Toronto Toros|
|1976 to 1981:||Birmingham Bulls|
The Birmingham Bulls were a professional team in the World Hockey Association from 1976 to 1979, and the Central Hockey League from 1979 to 1996. The Bulls were based out of Birmingham, Alabama at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Center. Prior to being in Birmingham, the team was known as the Ottawa Nationals and the Toronto Toros.
History[edit | edit source]
John Brophy, who would become Toronto Maple Leafs coach, joined the Birmingham Bulls of the World Hockey Association as assistant to coach Glen Sonmor. Brophy became head coach in the 1978-79 when Sonmor joined the Minnesota North Stars. His team finished last in the league, but was in the middle of a youth movement.
Wayne Gretzky was heavily recruited by Birmingham Bulls owner John F. Bassett to be part of the youth movement. Bassett wanted to confront the NHL by signing as many young and promising superstars as possible and saw Gretzky as the most promising young prospect.
Although Bassett failed to sign Gretzky, the Bulls (affectionately known as the Baby Bulls) included several future NHL stars at the beginning of their professional careers: Rick Vaive, Michel Goulet, Rob Ramage, Craig Hartsburg, and Gaston Gingras, as well as a 36-year-old Paul Henderson. Even though his team was the only one in the league not to make the playoffs, Brophy was awarded the Robert Schmertz Memorial Trophy as the WHA's coach of the year.
After the WHA[edit | edit source]
After the WHA ceased operations in 1979, the Birmingham Bulls joined the Central Hockey League, playing during the 1979-80 and 1980-81 seasons. The CHL team included returning coach John Brophy, and six players carried over from the previous season's WHA team; Paul Henderson, Pat Riggin, Rick Adduono, and Dave Hanson. The team disbanded during its second season.
Season-by-season record[edit | edit source]
Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes
- World Hockey Association
|1976-77||81||31||46||4||66||289||309||1179||5th, Eastern||Did not qualify|
|1977-78||80||36||41||3||75||287||314||2177||6th, WHA||Lost Quarterfinals (Winnipeg)|
|1978-79||80||32||42||6||70||286||311||1661||6th, WHA||Did not qualify|
- Central Hockey League
|1979-80||80||36||39||5||77||260||295||1595||4th, CHL||Lost first round|
[edit | edit source]
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