The Philadelphia Blazers established operations in June of 1972. Owners Bernard Brown and James Cooper were granted the rights to the Miami Screaming Eagles, so they picked up franchise player Bernie Parent. The Screaming Eagles also were pursuing Derek Sanderson during their short history and after several talks with the Blazers Sanderson steped out of the shadows of Orr and Esposito and signed a 2.6 million dollar contract with the new team. This was the largest contract of its time , it was even larger then the one that Bobby Hull signed with the Winnipeg Jets. Shortly after Sanderson signed fellow Bruin teamate and friend John McKenzie signed a deal as a player-coach reportedly worth 300,000 dollars over three years.
When the season started the Blazers took several turns for the worst. McKenzie broke his hand in a pre-season game versus Quebec, and Parent and Sanderson were out with injuries of their own. Also, during the first ever home game for the Blazers the zamboni took a chunk out of the ice forcing the game to be re-scheduled. This was a large disaster. Also that night their were several accidents out in the parking lot from people trying to get out of the over crowded over parked parking lot.
After a 4-16 start Parent and McKenzie returned, but Sanderson didn't. The owners Brown and Cooper became impatient with Sanderson and decided the best thing for Sanderson would be to return to th NHL. Sanderson was given 1 million dollars by the owners to leave the team and go back to the Bruins. Sanderson was very upset at all of this. His reaction was surprising to him, because he never saw it coming. He would of liked to stay in Philidalphia, but the owners disagreed. He also remarked that I guess the owners and the people never bought his lifestyle. Although all of this happened Sanderson did give some creditability to the league.
Despite all the problems that the team encountered early on there were several bright spots on the team. Ex-Fyler Andre Lacroix became the
league's leading scorer with 124 points and ex-Sabre Danny Lawson scored 61 goals. Also Blazers goalie Bernie Parent turned the team aound
with stellar goaltending finishing the team with a record of 38-40-0. Unfourtunately Parent left the team in the playoffs to return to the
NHL and the Cleveland Crusaders swept them in four. Brown and Cooper became disenchanted with all of the circumstances and sold the
team to Jim Pattison who moved the team to Vancouver, Canada.
Philadelphia Blazers Year-by-Year Year W L T pts. Finish Playoffs 1972-73 38 40 0 76 3rd Eastern Lost to Cleveland 0-4