Vinny led way in WHA

Gary Veneruzzo was a WHA all-star with the Los Angeles Sharks in

1972-73 and topped all local players in the WHA in scoring with 274


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.

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