The Whalers already have sold more than 8,000 season tickets for the 19 games they will play in Boston Garden, and they expect to sell out the 6,000-seat Boston Arena for their other 20 home games. So far they have not been able to clear April playoff dates for the larger Garden, but as one club official said, "If the Bruins don't make the playoffs, we'll have our pick of dates."
By signing Bernie Parent, Derek Sanderson and Player-Coach Johnny McKenzie, Philadelphia bought more charisma than the town's NHL Flyers ever had. Unfortunately, that leaves the Blazers with a three-man team. "It will be a whole new bag for me," Sanderson says. "For years the people in Philly have booed me and spit at me. Now they're going to love me."
Although it was the last team to enter the WHA, Cleveland had a productive recruiting season. Besides netting Goalie Cheevers from Boston—he already has purchased a home in suburban Rocky River—the Crusaders wooed Gerry Pinder, Paul Shymr and Gary Jarrett away from the Golden Seals and signed several solid minor league veterans, including Center Jim Wiste and Wing Grant Erickson. As one innovation for fans, the Crusaders intend to play eight doubleheaders in Cleveland. No, they will not play two games in one night; the minor league Cleveland Barons will open the program, then the Crusaders will finish it.
To hear General Manager Marvin Milkes tell it, New York has signed 24 Bobby Orrs, 10 Bobby Hulls and six Ken Drydens—at least that is what it sounds like he is saying. The Raiders have signed Bobby Sheehan, Ron Ward, Alton White, Garry Peters, Jamie Kennedy. Norm Ferguson and Kent Douglas, which means they lack quality forwards and defensemen. They also need a capable goaltender. The battle between the Raiders and the New York Islanders for the title of Fun City's worst hockey team may be more exciting than following the Rangers.
Coach Maurice (Rocket) Richard and J. C. Tremblay will be magic names in Quebec City, but the Nordiques will hardly be a magic team. Most of their players have French connections—men like Rejean Giroux, Francois Lacombe and Pierre Roy—but only five had NHL connections. Too bad.
In the Canadian capital Ottawa has a Hull, too. He is Garry Hull, Bobby's little brother. But the Nationals possess no goaltender with experience, no defensemen with experience and only a few forwards, like Wayne Carleton and Guy Trottier, who know where the net is. They will be to the WHA what the Washington Senators were to baseball.