Today in Hockey History: NHL/WHA Merger Announced

NHL/WHA merger

During the NHL’s hiatus, we at the Last Word on Hockey are going to look back at each date’s historical significance to the game. We’ll remember the moments that shaped the sport of hockey that happened on this day. Here’s our look at this date in hockey history for March 30th, featuring the NHL/WHA merger.

Today in Hockey History

NHL/WHA Merger Finalized

1979: The NHL announces that it will add four teams from the World Hockey Association to expand to 21 teams. The Edmonton Oilers, Quebec Nordiques, Hartford Whalers and Winnipeg Jets are the four clubs to make the jump.

Edmonton would the most successful of the quartet as they won the Stanley Cup five times from 1984-90. The three other clubs would eventually relocate to different cities.

Other Notable Events

1916: The Montreal Canadiens win the first of their 24 Stanley Cups with a 2-1 win over the Portland Rosebuds of the PCHA. Montreal was part of the National Hockey Association.

1918: The Toronto Arenas would be the first NHL to win the Stanley Cup as they beat the Vancouver Millionaires, 2-1, in Game 5 of the final. Toronto’s team would eventually become the Maple Leafs.

1944: Montreal sets the record for most goals in period during a playoff game with seven. The Habs rout the Leafs 11-0 to clinch a spot in the final.

1957: Maurice Richard is the first player to get 100 points in the post-season. Montreal beat the New York Rangers 8-3 in Game 3 of the semifinals.

1969: Pat Stapleton ties the record for assists by a defenceman with six. The Chicago Blackhawks beat the Detroit Red Wings, 9-5.

1974: Bernie Parent of the Philadelphia Flyers sets the record for most wins by a goalie in a season with 45. The Flyers beat the Boston Bruins, 5-3.

1989: Mario Lemieux scores his 13th shorthanded-goal of the season as the Pittsburgh Penguins fall 9-5 to the Whalers.

1995: Ray Bourque is the second defenceman to reach 900 assists in the Bruins’ 3-2 win over the New York Islanders.

2004: Pat Burns gets his 500th coaching win in the New Jersey Devils 5-0 victory over the Rangers.

2019: Alex Ovechkin gets 50 goals for the eighth time in his career as the Washington Capitals beat the Tampa Bay Lighting, 6-3.

Happy Birthday to You

1949: Pierre Jarry

1953: Dennis Ververgaert

1961: Doug Wickenheiser

1964: Dave Ellett

1964: Corey Millen

1987: Marc-Edouard Vlasic