1974/75: The logic behind moving a team to Detroit, was sound for the WHA, as the Detroit Red Wings had long been successful and their popularity gave the city a nickname Hockeytown USA. However, from the start the Michigan Stags who played their games at Cobo Arena ran into problems, as they could not secure a deal to put their games on television. Fans looked at the WHA league as a minor league and attendance was terrible despite the Red Wings going through the roughest stretch in their franchise’s history. The Stags Coach by former Red Wing Johnny Wilson would win their first game 4-2 on the road against the Indianapolis Racers. After three losses and a tie in their next four road games, the Stags made their home debut on October 29th against the Minnesota Fighting Saints, winning in overtime 4-3. However, despite the excitement the Stags would struggle on and off the ice, as they averaged just 3,000 fans per game as they won just five of their first 20 games. The struggles led to the Stags being forced to trade off their top player Marc Tardiff to the Quebec Nordiques. By January it was clear the Stags could not make any money and the team decided to fold on January 18th following a 2-1 loss to the Cleveland Crusaders on the road. At the time the Stags folded the team had a record of 18-40-3. The players on the Stags would not sit around long as the league assumed ownership and moved them to Baltimore, where they finished the season as the Baltimore Blades. Unfortunately for fans of the Stags, the end came before a scheduled home game in February against the Houston Aeros led by Red Wings legend Gordie Howe.
Baltimore: Picking up when the Stags left off the Baltimore Blades first game was on January 25th, a 3-2 loss to the Cleveland Crusaders on the road. The Blades would lose their first five games on the road, before losing that match up with the Houston Aeros at the Baltimore Civic Center on February 2nd by a score of 5-2. A week later the Blades would get their first win on the road against the Aeros 6-4, ending a ten game losing streak over two cities and two nicknames. The Blades would win just three of 17 games after the move, finishing in fifth place with a record of 21-53-4. Attempts were made to keep the team in Baltimore, but up against the NHL’s Washington Capitals any chance of success was a long shot at best. The team even sought to move to Seattle, but in the end it would simply cease operations, as they played their final game on April 7th, beating the eventual AVCO Cup Champion Houston Aeros 4-2.
©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 Michigan Stags 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 4, 2013. Last updated on August 4, 2013 at 9:00 pm ET.