36450RE: [hockhist] RE: WHA pre-season games
- Sep 1, 2002Did anybody you interviewed say that they ever seriously look at using it
during the regular season? Interesting...
From: Murray Greig [mailto:wirepaladin@...]
Sent: Sunday, September 01, 2002 12:30 AM
Subject: [hockhist] RE: WHA pre-season games
You probably already know this, but perhaps some members of the list aren't
aware that long before it became fashionable in the minor leagues and
international competition, the tie-breaking shootout was tried in some of
the WHA's first exhibition games prior to the 1972-73 season.
The most bizarre shootut experience took place the very first time it was
tested, on October 3, in a pre-season game that saw the Houston Aeros edge
the Minnesota Fighting Saints 7-6. Don Grierson, a journeyman minor leaguer,
emerged as the hero when he scored the deciding goal after an incredible 18
penalty shots. The teams were tied 4-4 after regulation, and when they
failed to break the deadlock in a 10-minute overtime, the shootout was
ordered. Jim Johnson and Ted Hampson each scored for the Saints in the first
five-shot round, while Larry Lund and Murray Hall tallied for the Aeros to
keep the game tied 6-6. The Saints then missed on four consecutive shots and
the Aeros muffed three before Grierson buried the winner.
When I interviewed Lund for my book Big Bucks & Blue Pucks, he had very
vivid memories of that historic evening. "We thought it might never end, but
what I remember most was that nobody walked out. It wasn't a particularly
big crowd, but the fans that were there were absolutely mesmerized by the
shootout," he said.
Incidentally, the very first WHA games were a pair of all-rookie exhibition
contests played on September 23, 1972. The New England Whalers beat the
Philadelphia Blazers 5-3 and the Fighting Saints hammered the Chicago
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