1975/76: One of two expansion teams, the WHA had high hopes for the Cincinnati Stingers as they began play in the Riverfront Coliseum, a brand new facility that was one of the best arenas in the league. Coached by Terry Slater, the Stingers would start the season in Western Canada, beating the Calgary Cowboys 3-2 in their very first game on October 17th. After dropping their next two games, the Stingers had a successful home debut beating the Edmonton Oilers 6-4. With the exception of an eight game losing streak in November, the Stingers played well through most of the season and were well in playoff contention at 29-31-1, as their expansion partner the Denver Spurs moved to Ottawa and folded midway through the season. The Stingers would stumble down the stretch and missed the playoffs with a record of 35-44-1, as Claude Larose was among the bright spots finishing second in Rookie of the Year voting with 28 goals and 24 assists.
1976/77: Despite winning just one of their first five games, the Stingers started their season strongly, posting a 10-4-2 record in the early part of the season. The Stingers would pick up two players that had a big impact on the team Rich Leduc from the Cleveland Crusaders and Blaine Stoughton from the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins. Each would score 52 goals, and get over 50 assists as the Stingers buzzed their way into second place with a record of 39-37-5. However, the Stingers would suffer disappointment in the WHA Playoffs, as they would be swept in four straight games by the expansion Indianapolis Racers.
1977/78: After making the playoff and getting swept, the Stingers got off to a bad start in their third season, losing posting a 2-9 record over their first 11 games under new Coach Jacques Demers. Though they would play better the remainder of the season, the Stingers could not overcome their poor start and missed the playoffs, by finishing in seventh place among the final eight WHA teams with a record of 35-42-3 as Jerry Rafter coached the team’s final five games. One bright spot was the play of Robbie Ftorek who led the way with 59 goals.
1978/79: As the Stingers began their fourth season, it was clear that the World Hockey Association was about to fold, and like the ABA had a few years earlier it was clear that the NHL would take in four teams. However, it was clear that the three Canadian teams would be guaranteed spots in the NHL, while the final four American teams hoped to get the final spot. The Stingers in their final season would see the professional debut of Mike Gartner, who would later be joined by Mark Messier after the Indianpolis Racers folded. Gartner who was just 19 scored 27 goals with 25 assists, while Messier who made his debut at the age of 17 struggled, scoring just one goal in 47 games. Coached by Floyd Smith, the Stingers would post a record of 33-41-6, placing fifth and slipping into the playoffs, as Robbie Ftorek led the league with 59 assists. Their stay in the playoffs would be a short one as they lost a best of three series against the New England Whalers 2-1, dropping their final game 2-1 on April 24th. Despite a massive campaign, that included support from Hollywood that featured a Cincinnati Stingers logo in the background on the television series WKRP in Cincinnati, to be one of the team’s invited to join the NHL, the Stinger would lose out to the Whalers again, as the NHL chose to pick the top four finishers in the WHA’s final season. Both Gartner and Messier would go on to have Hall of Fame careers, scoring over 600 NHL goals, while the Stingers were paid off to cease opperations.
©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 Cincinnati Stingers 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 July 21, 2013. Last updated on July 21, 2013 at 11:30 pm ET.