After being founded in 1971 and hitting the ice in 1972 as a rival to
the National Hockey League, the fledgling World Hockey Association
lasted seven seasons before seeing four of their clubs join the NHL in
While big NHL names like Bobby Hull bolted to the WHA, there were was
also a solid contingent of local products that plied their talents in
the league during its seven-year run.
After being in the St. Louis Blues system, including earning first team
all-star laurels with the WCHL’s Denver Spurs, Thunder Bay’s Gary
Veneruzzo inked a deal with the WHA’s Los Angeles Sharks in 1972.
Veneruzzo went on to lead the Sharks in scoring that first year,
collecting 73 points on 43 goals and 29 assists.
His tally total placed him seventh overall in the league that opening
campaign while finishing tied for 21st in total offensive production.
His contributions earned him a place on the West roster in the initial
WHA All-Star Game held Jan. 6, 1973 in Quebec City.
He also notched the Sharks first-ever hat trick back on Dec. 12, 1972
against the Chicago Cougars.
See the full story in the print and digital editions of The