HOCKEY—WHA: The season was already too long for Vancouver. Coach John McKenzie stepped down to concentrate on playing right wing, and his replacement, Phil Watson, promptly sent Ron Ward, the league's No. 2 scorer last year, to Los Angeles for Goalie George Gardner. The Blazers then lost three times. New York won two of four, but contractually troubled Gene Peacosh demanded to be traded. "Traded, released, sold or anything else that will get me away from this team," he said. Higher in the standings, things were more serene. Tom Webster's hat trick gave New England a 3-1 win over Los Angeles, a 5-0 week and a three-point lead in the Eastern Division. Six different Edmonton players scored as the Oilers beat Vancouver 6-2 and led the West.
NHL: Montreal was doing just fine, thank you, without departed Goalie Ken Dryden. Wayne Thomas had 123 saves as the Canadiens beat New York and Pittsburgh 3-2 each, Philadelphia 4-0 and Minnesota 4-2 to tie Boston for the Eastern Division lead. Philadelphia clung to first in the West by winning one of two, but the Flyers were not a happy team. "I don't know what's wrong," said Coach Fred Shero after the Montreal loss. Added Bobby Clarke, the league's Most Valuable Player, "Last year, when somebody was in a slump somebody else would come along and pick him up. Nobody's doing that for us now." No one knew better than Clarke, who failed to score until the eighth game of the season. Then he tallied twice as the Flyers shut out Pittsburgh 6-0.
HORSE RACING—SECRETARIAT ($2.40) ended his career by winning the $142,700 Canadian International Championship at Woodbine in Toronto while stablemate RIVA RIDGE bowed out by finishing last in the $110,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Aqueduct (page 28).
RIDING—The United States team of RODNEY JENKINS, MAC CONE, MICHAEL MATZ and FRANK CHAPOT defeated Great Britain in a jump-off for the first Prix des Nations Cup held in the U.S., at the Washington (D.C.) International Horse Show.
MILEPOSTS—NAMED: As American League president, New York Yankee General Manager Lee MacPhail, 55, replacing Joe Cronin, 67, who moves to chairman of the board of the league Jan. 1.
RELEASED: By the Detroit Tigers, slugger FRANK HOWARD, 37, who hit 382 home runs with the Dodgers, Rangers and Tigers, but whose $75,000-a-year salary as a DH seemed excessive.
SOLD: RHEINGOLD, winner of the Arc de Triomphe, to retired Royal Air Force officer Tim Vigors for $2.5 million. The 4-year-old colt cost only $7,875 as a yearling but won $750,000 in nine starts.
TRADED: Slugger WILLIE McCOVEY, 35, who has hit 413 career home runs, and Outfielder BERNIE WILLIAMS, by the San Francisco Giants to San Diego for Pitcher MIKE CALDWELL; Chicago Cubs Pitcher FERGUSON JENKINS, 29, who slumped to 14-16 after six straight 20-win seasons, to the Texas Rangers for Infielder-Outfielders VIC HARRIS and BILL MADLOCK; Boston Outfielder REGGIE SMITH and Pitcher KEN TATUM to St. Louis for Pitcher RICK WISE and Outfielder BERNIE CARBO; and California Pitcher CLYDE WRIGHT to Milwaukee for Catcher ELLIE RODRIGUEZ in a 10-player deal.
DIED: ABEBE BIKILA, 41, the only man to win two Olympic marathons, of a possible stroke, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Bikila astounded the sports world by running barefoot and winning a gold medal in Rome (1960). He won another gold in Tokyo (1964) before dropping out of the 1968 Olympics with a foot injury. An automobile accident in 1969 left him paralyzed from the waist down.