Ice Hockey Skates

Oct. 13, 1972

Kids, ask someone a lot older than you if they remember the New England Whalers.

Then ask them what league they played in. If they don’t come up with the World Hockey Association within a few seconds, don’t blame them; the WHA only lasted seven seasons.

But the WHA did leave behind a few teams to join the National Hockey League, including the Whalers, who eventually moved to Hartford, and eventually moved to Carolina and became the Panthers.

But on this night, they began with a 4-3 win over the Philadelphia Blazers before a crowd of 11,692 at Boston Garden.

They would play at the Garden – and occasionally at the Boston Arena (now Matthews Arena) through the 1973-74 season. They then moved to Hartford because they were No. 4 on the list of teams calling the Garden. In doling out home dates, first came the Bruins – who owned the Garden. The Celtics came second, with the Bruins AHL farm team, the Boston Braves, nipping at their heels. The Whalers were fourth.

The 1972-73 Whalers won the first WHA championship. If anything, that probably irritated their Garden landlords.

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