John Bassett the new owner of the Ottawa Nationals decided after a terrible debut season to move his recent purchase to the southern part of the province of Ontario to the metropolis of Toronto. Bassett knew this was a very risky move, because he was taking something big on, something cultural, something which was called the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League. Bassett knew to sell the WHA team to the locals and fast. The nickname Nationals wasn’t for Toronto so the owner decided to change the name to the Toros. Toros was not only short for Toronto, but it is also a Spanish bull. Also, to attract attention Bassett signed offense stars Pat Hickey and Wayne Dillon to aid the offensive attack. The two new players helped a lot giving the team a 41-33-4 record in the regular season. The team also faired well in the playoffs making it to the Eastern conference final only to lose to the Cinderella team the Chicago Cougars. Most hockey critics agree that a large portion of the teams success came from stellar goaltending from Gilles Gratton and Les Binkley and a great defensive corps which included ex-Maple Leaf Carl Brewer.
The 1974-75 season presented high expectations for the squad. In the off-season the team signed NHL stars Frank Mahovlich and “The Man who scored the GOAL” Paul Henderson. With the two new snipers which the team signed and the existing players the team was shaping up to look like the team to beet for the Avco World Trophy. Unfortunately even after sporting a 43-33-2 record the team was knocked our of the first round of the post-season by the San Diego Mariners. Some say that the loses of Carl Brewer and the trade of Guy Trottier to the Michigan Stags affected the teams character and some of its scoring. Both these characteristics could have helped the team with a different out come then the one which they received.
With the early retreat to the playoffs in the 1974-75 season the 1975-76 season was an emotional low for the team. These emotions showed as they played to a 24-52-5 record. Although they sported a bad record the attendance was still good. They averaged over 8,000 fans per game, which on the down side was a 2,000 fan drop from the 1974-75 season. Even though owner John Bassett put a good product out on the ice and during the intermissions entertained the fans by presenting Evil Knievil the Toros overstayed themselves in Toronto. Bassett then decided to move the team to the Deep South, Birmingham Alabama.
Toronto Toros Year-by-Year Year W L T pts. Finish Playoffs 1973-74 41 33 4 86 2nd Eastern Beat Cleveland 4-1, Lost to Chicago 3-4 1974-75 43 33 2 88 2nd Canadian Lost to San Diego 2-4 1975-76 24 52 5 53 5th Canadian None