1975/76: After attempting to find an arena in South Florida without success and being second fiddle in Philadelphia and Vancouver, the team now called the Cowboys, were in a city on their own, with a move to Calgary. The World Hockey Association had planned to place a team in Calgary to rival the Edmonton Oilers in the inaugural season. However, the Calgary Broncos like, the Miami Screaming Eagles ran into problems before ever playing a game and instead became the Cleveland Crusaders. By the time the Cowboys arrived, the WHA was beginning to unravel as many viewed it as a minor league, a fact that was not helped by the Cowboys logo which more resembled that of a Fast Food restaurant than a hockey team. The Cowboys would play their home games at the Stampede Corral, which was one of the smallest arenas in the league with a capacity of 6,500. However, Cowboys Owner Jim Pattison had hoped to get the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede board to expand the arena to 15,000, but at the time no timetable was set for the Corral’s expansion. The Cowboys coached by Joe Crozier would get off to a slow start, losing five of their first six games, including a 2-0 loss in their first game against the Minnesota Fighting Saints on October 12th. However, with a strong November they quickly turned things around. After struggling to score goals in their previous season, the Cowboys had a pair of 40 goal scorers, with Danny Lawson leading the way with 44 while Ron Chipperfield had 42. The Cowboys would go on to finish in third place with a record of 41-35-4. In the playoffs the Cowboys would face the Quebec Nordiques, winning the first two games on the road. In Game 2, one of the ugliest fights in the history of the WHA broke out when Rick Jodzio cross-checked Quebec’s Marc Tardif in the head, causing both teams to leave their benches. Witness claimed Jodzio struck a helpless Tardif several times as the brawl led to a Police investigation. The game would be halted as 11 players were ejected with Jodzio and Cowboys Coach Joe Crozier receiving suspensions. The Cowboys would go on to win the series in five games to reach the semifinals. Against the Winnipeg Jets the Cowboys would not be able to find the same magic as they were clearly overmatched losing in five games, as the Jets went in to win the WHA Championship.
1976/77: After their playoff run, the Cowboys hoped to be able to build a fan base and get a new modern arena. However, right from the start they would struggle in their second year in Calgary, as they dropped their first six games of the season. The Cowboys would rebound after a tie, and win seven straight, but this time of up and down play is never conducive to winning. Except for two days in November, the Cowboys would have a losing record the entire season, with their playoffs hopes being buried in March during a ten game losing streak. The Cowboys would go on to finish the season in fifth place with a record of 31-43-7. The Cowboys struggled on both defense and offense, with injuries playing a role. Lynn Powis would be the team’s leading scorer with 30 goals and 30 assists. Danny Lawson who had previously been the Cowboys go to scorer would miss 16 games, scoring just 24 goals. The Cowboys season would end with a 6-4 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on April 7th. That game would be their final game, as Owner Jim Pattison determined that without a new arena, they could not survive in Calgary. An attempt to move the team to Ottawa was blocked by league, as the Capital city of Canada had already had two failed WHA teams. With no other option the Cowboys would fold during the off-season. Calgary would not be without hockey long however, as the NHL came to the Corral in 1980 with the Atlanta Flames becoming the Calgary Flames as the city finally committed to build a suitable arena. The Flames would become an instant rival to the Edmonton Oilers who were one of four surviving WHA team after the league ceased operations in 1979.
©MMXIII Tank Productions. Stats researched by Frank Fleming, all information, and team names are property of the World Hockey Association. This site is not affiliated with the Calgary Cowboys or the WHA. This site is maintained for research purposes only. All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page.
Page created on August 8, 2013. Last updated on August 8, 2013 at 12:30 am ET.