Turn up “Brass Bonanza” and grab your WHA cards. An important item from one of hockey’s favorite defunct franchises is up for auction.
The original World Hockey Association franchise certificate for the New England Whalers, signed by the WHA’s prime movers – Gary Davidson, Dennis Murphy and Don Regan—is being offered by One of One Entertainment.
Dated April 19, 1972, the certificate was presented to owners Howard Baldwin and Johnny Coburn when the Whalers entered the league ahead of its inaugural 1972-73 season. There’s a $10,000 opening bid for the certificate, with the auction set to run through December 12.
Baldwin is one of the principal owners of One of One Entertainment and has had possession of the certificate since it was issued. It is currently for auction to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the franchise.
The Whalers were one of 12 teams to compete in the WHA’s first season. On May 6, 1973, they won the first-ever Avco World Cup when they defeated the Winnipeg Jets in the WHA’s championship series. The franchise was originally based in Boston but moved to Hartford in 1974 and became a success. They were brought into the NHL in 1979 along with the Winnipeg Jets (now the Arizona Coyotes), Edmonton Oilers and Quebec Nordiques (now the Colorado Avalanche). The Whalers eventually became the Carolina Hurricanes but the club’s time in the Northeast continues to hold a fond place in the hearts of fans in the region.
One of One is also auctioning an original painting of Whalers’ goalie Al ‘The Bear’ Smith raising his stick and saluting the home crowd gathered at the original Boston Garden as time expires on their opening night game. It has a $5,000 opening bid.