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When the WHA began play in 1972, they knew their survival depended on having a team in the tri state area. The NHL had expanded to Long Island to counter the new league's entry into the area the same year. The club ended up in Manhattan for the league's inaugural year as the Raiders. But after a dismal first season the franchise was taken over by the league and sold to New York businessman Ralf Brent for the '73-'74 season. They were re-named the Golden Blades but after barely 2 months, weak play and crowds sometimes under 500 spelled doom. Brent bailed out before Christmas and the league was forced to take over operations.
It was obvious their was no room for the upstart league competing directly against the NHL, so the team was moved to New Jersey and re-named them the Knights, where they played out of Cherry Hill Arena. The acquisition of Andre Lacroix during the off-season from Philadelphia should have by all counts helped them. But even the league's top scorer the year before couldn't help their dismal attack. The WHA in the tri-state area came to a quick end. Despite the acquisition of Jim McLeod from Chicago to supplement the netminding of Kurt, the team still finished near dead last in goals against as well. Despite the new arena, the team was still a poor draw and finished the eason the same as the last, last in the east and second worst overall with 68 points. The league found a buyer during the summer in Joseph Schwartz, a California real estate developer. He moved the club to San Diego for the next season, renaming them the Mariners where they played for 3 years before sinking in the summer of '77.
NY Golden Blades
San Diego Mariners
|'72-'73||first 24 games|
|final 54 games|