This Day In Sports History (September 13th) — World Hockey Association

world hockey association

It was on this day in 1971 that the World Hockey Association was officially formed.  It was made up of 12 teams and was considered the National Hockey League’s main competitor.

The WHA was established by Dennis Murphy and Gary Davidson, who were also the founders of the American Basketball Association (ABA).  Their primary goal was to challenge the NHL by adding a second team to cities which already had NHL franchises, as well as giving cities that had no team a professional franchise.  Los Angeles, New York and Chicago were given teams to compete with their NHL competitors, while Quebec City, Houston and Cleveland finally received a professional hockey franchise for the first time.

Ultimately, the WHA could not compete with the National Hockey League and after seven years of operations, the WHA merged with the NHL.  By the end of the final season, only six teams remained and the Edmonton Oilers, New England Whalers (renamed the Hartford Whalers), Winnipeg Jets and Quebec Nordiques all joined the NHL.  As for the Birmingham Bulls and Cincinnati Stingers, they were each paid $1.5 million in compensation and their teams folded.

Here is a history of the WHA’s franchises.

Notable Birthdays

Bernie Williams, MLB – Born September 13th 1968 (age 45) in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Jose Theodore, NHL – Born September 13th 1976 (age 37) in Laval, Quebec

Daisuke Matsuzaka, MLB – Born September 13th 1980 (age 33) in Aomori, Japan

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