he first puck was dropped in Ottawa on October 11, 1972. The Nationals lost to the Alberta Oilers 7 - 4. Coincidentally, both clubs were forced to share teams between two cities the inaugural season. Edmonton and Calgary split the Oilers' home games, and when a deal couldn't be struck with the Ottawa Civic Centre, the Nationals moved up the road and played their playoff home-games in Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens. Early media interest varied from market to market. In places like California and NHL hotbeds like Detroit and New York, interest was minimal. But in regions longing for pro hockey like the Canadian prairies, business was booming early.