Los Angeles Sharks
1972/73: Owned by WHA co-founder Dennis Murphy, the Los Angeles Aces were going to be one of the new league’s cornerstone teams. Before the season started the Aces became the Sharks, as an effort to but a team in San Francisco failed. The San Francisco team was to be named the Sharks, but after they settled on becoming the Quebec Nordiques, the name was left for their planned rival in Los Angeles. The Sharks coached by Terry Slater, would split their home games between the Los Angeles Sports Arena and the Long Beach Arena, much like the Los Angeles Kings of the NHL did before the opening of the The Forum. In their first game on October 13th the Sharks suffered a 3-2 home loss to the Houston Aeros. They would beat the Aeros two days later 5-1 for their first win. Building their team around a solid defense, and physical play, the Sharks led the World Hockey Association in Penalty Minutes, while goalies George Gardner and Russ Gillow combined for the third best Goals Against Average as the Sharks finished in third place with a record of 37-35-6. The Sharks offense was led by Gary Veneruzzo who had a team best 43 goals. The Sharks would face the Houston Aeros in the playoffs, and after splitting the first two games in Houston they would take a series lead, winning 3-2 in Game 3. However, the series slipped away in Game 4 when the Sharks suffered a 3-2 overtime loss at home. The Aeros would go on to win the series in six games.
1973/74: To add offensive punch to their team, the Sharks signed Marc Tardiff away from the Montreal Canadiens. Tardiff would lead the team in scoring with 40 goals and 30 assists, but the Sharks would get off to a terrible start, posting a 5-14-0 record over their first 19 games before Coach Terry Slater was replaced by Ted McCaskill. However, things would not improve in Los Angeles, as the Sharks scored the fewest goals and allowed the second most goals in the WHA, as they went on to finish dead last with a record of 25-53-0. One note of interest the Sharks were the first team in either the WHA or NHL not to record a tie during the season, this was helped by the fact the WHA had a ten minute sudden overtime period. As the season ended, the Sharks would be sold to Peter Shagena and Charles Nolton who announced they would move the team to Detroit, where they became the Michigan Stags. The Sharks final game came on April 4th a 6-4 win over the Jersey Knights.
©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 Los Angeles Sharks 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 3, 2013. Last updated on August 3, 2013 at 1:10 am ET.