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  • Home: Philadelphia, PA
  • Stadium: Philadelphia Civic Center (9,100)
  • Team synopsis: Originally intended to be the Miami Screaming Eagles, team was uprooted for the inaugural season. Lured Bernie Parent, Derek Sanderson and John McKenzie to the team, but the club moved to Vancouver after the first season, then Calgary.

When the WHA announced it's intention to start up in 1971, Miami was announced as one of the charter cities. Integral to the league's plan of surviving included a new arena, 'name' players, and a market. The team chose the name Screaming Eagles, and were able to sign high profile tough guy Derek Sanderson from the Boston Bruins as well as Bernie Parent, one of the game's hottest goaltending prospects away from the Flyers. However not wanting their new rivals to monopolize the American south, the NHL frantically awarded a team to Atlanta for the '72-'73 season. Banking on a new building to play in, real estate mogul Herb Martin was needless to say upset when the deal fell through. Also concerned that the Eagles wouldn't be able to compete with the NHL in his backyard, Martin moved his franchise to Philadelphia, feeling his chances were better competing head-on with the Flyers.

Re-named the Blazers, they had the daunting task of playing in the same city as the NHL's Flyers but in a less state of the art arena. The much older Philadelphia Civic Center was a 9,100 seat rink usually filled to less than half capacity and management was in a bind. Along with Parent, the Blazers also scooped Andre Lacroix from the Flyers, one of the game's hottest young stars. On-ice they managed to put together a fairly decent mix of young prospects and 'role players'. With the league's second highest goals total, the Blazers also had a balanced scoring attack, led by Lacroix's 50 goals and weathered journeymen like Don Burgess and Bryan Campbell, who both potted 20+ goals that year. Though he was injured for part of the season, Parent still played in 63 games (most in the league), notching a 3.61 GAA and 2 shutouts helping the team into the playoffs with a 38-40-0 record, good for third place in the East. Unfortunately though, the Blazers ran into a red hot Gerry Cheevers and were swept by the Cleveland Crusaders in 4 straight.

Despite an agressive marketing plan, the team's early sweep from the playoffs didn't help draw interest in the club. Their NHL cousin Flyers were consistently drawing good crowds, playing well and already had an established rivalry with the Penguins, while the Blazers' nearest opponents were in New York ... and - quite bluntly - 2 bad hockey teams a rivalry does not make. Seeing the team's bleak future in Philadelphia, it was sold to Canadian advertising mogul Jim Pattison, who moved the team to Vancouver in time for the league's second season.