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1977-79 Robbie Ftorek WHA Cincinnati Stingers Game Worn Jersey
Lot #408

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1977-79 Robbie Ftorek WHA Cincinnati Stingers Game Worn Jersey
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1977-79 Robbie Ftorek WHA Cincinnati Stingers Game Worn Jersey
Lot #408

The Cincinnati Stingers were the WHA’s first ever expansion team, being born on May 6th of 1973 right after the inaugural Avco World Finals. Unfortuantely the Stingers home arena to be, the Riverfront Coliseum, would not break ground for several more months forcing the club to delay play. During the down time, the club partook in all of the amateur drafts and would actually loan some of its better talent out to other clubs for play in the 1974-75 season. After reclaiming their players, the Stingers finally began play in October 1975. They would prove to be a well run franchise that never had any real success in the standings or at the gate. Despite this, the Stingers held on through thick and thin, making it to the end of the WHA and its merger with the NHL as a lame duck franchise.

This road black mesh gamer by Russell Athletic was worn by Robbie Ftorek during circa the 1977-79 WHA seasons. Ftorek was born in Needham Massachusetts and spent the first year of his career with the 1972 US National Team. In 51 games with Team USA, Ftorek scored 25 goals and registered 72 points. He then helped lead Team USA to a surprising Silver Medal in the 1972 Olympics. Not to be outdone, Robbie then played again for Team USA in the World Championships and was selected to the tournament All Star team. These efforts opened the eyes of the Detroit Red Wings and Robbie began his professional career later that season. He spent most of his time with the Red Wings AHL affiliate in Virginia over the next 2 seasons but also partook in NHL contests in both of those years.

Feeling like his career needed a fresh start, Ftorek signed with the WHA’s Phoenix Roadrunners where he blossomed into a star. For the next 3 years while with Phoenix, Ftorek netted goal totals of 31, 41 and 46 respectively. His point totals were no less impressive at 68, 113 and 117. Robbie had become one of the WHA’s biggest stars. Ftorek then joined the Cincinnati Stingers where he played for the last two years of the WHA. Robbie put up 59 goals and 109 points in his first year with his new team and followed that up with 39 goals and 116 points in the WHA’s last season.

His WHA accolades are legendary, having been selected as 1st or 2nd Team WHA All Star in 4 consecutive seasons spanning 1976-79. Robbie was also an All Star game regular and captured the prestigious Gary Davidson Trophy in 1977 as the WHA’s Most Valuable Player. After the WHA folded, Ftorek joined the NHL with the Quebec Nordiques. Ftorek’s final NHL stint lasted a total of 6 years. He spent parts of 3 years in Quebec, where he produced at about a point per game clip. After a slow start in 1981-82, the New York Rangers acquired Robbie where he would play out the remainder of his career.

Ftorek represented Team USA in the aforementioned 1972 Olympics as well as the 1976 and 1981 Canada Cups. His WHA career totals are staggering with 216 goals, 307 assists and 523 points in 373 games over the course of 5 seasons. These impressive numbers leave Robbie as the 6th highest scorer in WHA history despite missing 2 seasons, and he certainly ranks as one of the leagues all-time greats.

This jersey comes directly from the recently discovered Gunzo's collection. Loosely sewn into the collar is the Russell Athletic manufacturers tag. The game wear on this sweater consists of a number of stick and slash marks, plenty of board burns, board paint transfer and inner pilling. As was the case with many of these vintage WHA sweaters, the nameplate has been removed and lost to history. An exciting new discovery brings this previously unknown gamer to the hobby, good luck in your pursuit.