WHA: Semenko lit the last lamp

World Hockey Association (WHA). The 1974-1975 Edmonton Oilers official team photo. PHOTO...

World Hockey Association (WHA). The 1974-1975 Edmonton Oilers official team photo. PHOTO COURTESY/EDMONTON OILERS WHA

MURRAY GREIG, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:03 AM ET

• On May 20, 1979, Edmonton’s Dave Semenko scored the WHA’s last goal. It came in the last minute of play in Game 6 of the championship final against Winnipeg Jets netminder Gary (Suitcase) Smith. The Jets defeated the Oilers 7-3 to win their third Avco World Trophy.

• The Jets also won the WHA title in 1975-76 and 1977-78. The other Avco World Trophy champions were: New England Whalers (1972-73); Houston Aeros (1973-74 and 1974-75); Quebec Nordiques (1976-77).

• In 1979-80, the first season after the NHL absorbed four former WHA franchises, three of the top 10 scorers came from the WHA: Edmonton’s Wayne Gretzky and Hartford’s Blaine Stoughton and Mike Rogers.

• Stoughton and Bobby Hull were the only two players to register 50-goal seasons in both the NHL and the WHA. Hull turned the trick five times with the Chicago Black Hawks and four times with the Winnipeg Jets, while Stoughton sniped 52 goals for the Cincinnati Stingers in 1976-77 before scoring 56 and 52 for Hartford in 1979-80 and 1981-82.

• During Hartford’s first year in the NHL, 40-year-old Dave Keon, who joined the Whalers from the WHA’s defunct Minnesota Fighting Saints in 1976, played on a line with 52-year-old Gordie Howe. Hartford’s goalie that season was ex-Birmingham Bull and future Hockey Night In Canada colourman John Garrett.

• After the merger, another ex-Bull, ’72 Summit Series hero Paul Henderson, returned to the NHL with the Atlanta Flames.


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