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CLEVELAND CRUSADERS

The CLEVELAND CRUSADERS represented Cleveland in the short-lived World Hockey Assn. between 1972-76. For 4 years the Crusaders brought major-league hockey to the Cleveland area. After purchasing the CLEVELAND BARONS of the American Hockey League in 1968, Nick Mileti attempted to buy a franchise in the National Hockey League. Losing his final bid for NHL membership in the summer of 1972, Mileti secured a franchise in the newly created WHA. Nicknamed the Crusaders by Mileti, the hockey team was able to secure the services of several NHL stars, including Gary Cheevers and Paul Shmyr. Playing at the Arena, the Crusaders had a 43-32-3 season and finished 2nd in the league in 1972-73. During 1973-74, they had another winning season at the Arena before moving to the Coliseum, an 18,500-seat, $20 million ice hockey facility at W. Richfield in northern Summit County. After attempting to sell the Crusaders to Bill Putnam of Hollywood, FL, in June 1976, Jay Moore had the franchise moved to Minneapolis-St. Paul, where the team folded in Jan. 1977.