The Aeros were an original WHA franchise, which were actually relocated to Houston before ever playing a game. They were originally granted ownership to represent Dayton, Ohio but failed to secure a stadium for their team. The Houston Aeros began play at the Sam Houston Coliseum and were a respectable club in the standings that lacked any real star power in the teams 1st season. That would soon change as Gordie, Mark and Marty Howe would join the squad to begin season 2.
The new additions would vault the Aeros to league supremecy and they would capture back to back Avco World titles in 1974 and 1975. In 1975-76 the Aeros changed venues to the new Summit arena and again were a dominant regular season club. Their bid for a 3-peat was foiled at the hands of the Bobby Hull led Winnipeg Jets in the final round of the Avco World Finals. Again dominant during the 1976-77 regular season, the Aeros would suffer the same fate as the season prior, falling again to the Winnipeg franchise in the semi-final round. The 3 Howe’s left Houston for New England for the 1977-78 season and the franchise was never the same, failing in its bid to become members of the WHA NHL expansion and closing shop prior to the 1978-79 season.
This home white heavy mesh gamer by Stall and Dean was worn by John Gray during the 1977-78 WHA season. John’s professional career lasted for 5 seasons, all of which came in the WHA. It began with parts of 3 seasons with the Phoenix Roadrunners, continued with a couple in Houston and finished up with a year in Winnipeg. During that time Gray proved to be an offensive weapon, his goal totals of 35, 35, 31 and 35 in his first 4 WHA seasons telling the story.
Sewn to the collar of this heavy mesh gamer are the Stall and Dean, wash, size and year tags. Fine game use includes many stick marks and board burns, board paint transfer, un-repaired burn holes, pilling and some team-sewn repair work. The original nameplate remains sewn high between the shoulders and is an uncommon treat from this era of heavy recycling. This fine looking example was worn by Gray as he tallied yet another 35-goal season.