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1972-73 Pierre Paiement WHA Philadelphia Blazers Game Worn Jersey - Inaugural WHA Season
Lot #31

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1972-73 Pierre Paiement WHA Philadelphia Blazers Game Worn Jersey - Inaugural WHA Season
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1972-73 Pierre Paiement WHA Philadelphia Blazers Game Worn Jersey - Inaugural WHA Season
Lot #31
The story of this franchise begins in Miami of all places. Granted franchise life in November 1971, the Miami Screaming Eagles would never actually play a WHA game. Despite this, the Screaming Eagles would make major WHA news by luring goalie Bernie Parent away from the NHL. Parent was the first star player to defect to the rival league. The team’s next NHL target was Boston Bruins fan favorite Derek Sanderson, who was more than intrigued by the Miami offer. A deal wasn’t yet completed when, in April of 1972, Miami withdrew from the league because of the lack of a suitable arena among other financial reasons.

In June the Philadelphia Blazers were formed, replacing the Miami franchise and thus assuming Parent’s contract. The new owners also continued talks with Sanderson and eventually worked out a contract worth in excess of 2.5 million dollars. The next big move was the signing of another Bruin, Pie McKenzie. The 1972-73 season proved disastrous for the Blazers. The team started slowly, as injuries to Sanderson, Parent and McKenzie occurred early in the year. Sanderson was disgruntled and eventually returned to Boston after a 1 million dollar buyout was negotiated. Poor attendance and financial woes ensued. A strong finish that landed the Blazers a playoff spot was not enough to save the club.

Following the inaugural season, the franchise was sold and moved to Vancouver where they would play for 2 seasons, keeping the Blazers as their nickname. While in Vancouver they never made the playoffs and after the 1974-75 campaign the team was relocated to Calgary. Officially the Calgary Cowboys were born in May of 1975. The first year in Calgary saw the Cowboys produce a franchise best record. They also won a first round playoff series, the only one in franchise history. The team’s second season in Calgary wasn’t nearly as successful, hampered by a terrible road record of 5-31-5. It would be the final straw for this franchise which had begun at the other end of the continent in Miami in 1971. Season ticket sales slumped and there was just no getting around the Calgary Cowboys folding after the 1976-77 season.

This road orange dureen gamer by Pearsons and Coane was worn by Pierre Paiement during the 1972-73 WHA season. Paiement had a brief professional career that spanned just 2 seasons. He played for the Roanoke Valley Rebels in 1972-73 and 1973-74, playing in 58 and 63 games respectively. Paiement did get a chance to play in the newly formed WHA and represented the Philadelphia Blazers in their first 8 games during the leagues inaugural season.

Paiement registered a single goal in 8 games and spent 18 minutes in the penalty box during his brief career with the Blazers. Offered here is Paiement’s road sweater from his 8-game stint in Philadelphia in 1972-73. Sewn into the hem of this gamer are the Pearsons and Coane Phila, PA tags. Obvious game wear includes a fair number of stick and slash marks, un-repaired holes, stitch pops, pulls and inner pilling. Also worthy of mention is the original orange skate lace that remains sewn thru the eyelets as well as the original garter style fight strap that resides just beneath the back player numbers. To say that a Philadelphia Blazers jersey is a tough find would be a severe understatement. Seldom few have surfaced over the past 40 years and when they have collectors have been quick to snatch them up. Here’s a rarely seen part of Philadelphia hockey history, worn during the WHA’s inaugural season and the only year of the Philadelphia Blazers existence. Philly fans and WHA collectors alike, don’t let this terrific example that sports outstanding eye appeal and still vibrant colors pass you by, choice!