The Nova Scotia Claymores entered the 1983-84 season determined to prove their success the previous season was no fluke. 22-year-old rookie Harry Hayes led the charge for the Claymores as they once again took top spot in the Northeast Division with 100 points. Second-year goaltender Brent MacDonald also enjoyed a breakout year, setting a new team record with eight shutouts. Meanwhile, the Ottawa Beavers began to decline, finishing second once again with 88 points, while Montreal saw a steep decline, barely reaching the playoffs despite a big performance in goal from Victor Malmsten. The Royale just barely edged out the Detroit Mustangs on the final day of the regular season, finishing ahead of the Mustangs by one point. Quebec fell back out of the post-season picture as John Gage struggled to stay healthy throughout the season while Toronto endured one of the worst seasons in franchise history with only 18 wins.
Pittsburgh won the Atlantic Division again, thanks in large part to a 64-goal effort from Danny Stevenson. The “Battle of Pennsylvania” also finally got started when the teams engaged in a home-and-home series in December that saw a total of 17 fights over two games. The Stingers did struggle through January, losing six straight at one point. In an effort to spark his team and add some depth, GM Sam Greer made a trade with the Boston Bulldogs on January 24, acquiring winger Brad Bush in exchange for goaltender Ron Buckner. Buckner immediately made an impact in Boston, taking them from the basement to a playoff position during the final months of the season.
The blockbuster trade of the season took place at the trade deadline on February 20, when the Minnesota Lumberjacks traded their legendary goaltender Bobby Sorel to the Long Island Concords in exchange for budding star center Jakob Lundholm. The Lumberjacks were on the decline and made the decision to launch a rebuild right away. “It’s hard to believe it’s come to this.” Said a tearful Sorel. “I have so many great memories from Minnesota but I’m also excited about this new opportunity in Long Island.” Sorel stood on his head for the Concords as they won their last nine straight to finish with 83 points and entered the playoffs as the hottest team in the league.
In the Western Conference, Dave Appleby and the St. Louis Spirits once again won the Western Conference and the league regular season title as Appleby won the scoring title with 144 points. Grant Millen also enjoyed a career-high 113 points playing alongside Appleby. The Conference title did not come easily, however, as the Spirits found themselves in a dogfight with their rivals, the Chicago Shamrocks, for first place. The teams were slated to play each other the final week of the season and it was an instant classic. With St. Louis leading with seconds to go, Vladimir Gaganov tied the game with a hard wrist shot. The game went into overtime where Appleby beat Tim Massey to give the Spirits the win and ultimately, the League title. St. Louis’ opponent in the first round of the playoffs would be the Dallas Metros, who despite the off-ice drama surrounding the future of the franchise, improved to 34 wins and made the playoffs for the second time in franchise history.
The Pacific Division proved to be the weakest division once again, sending only three teams to the playoffs. LA led the division with 87 points despite Ray Fowler missing fifteen games with another concussion. Stuart Holly led the team almost single-handedly, scoring 52 goals. It was a tough season in Alberta, meanwhile, as both the Calgary Wranglers and the Edmonton Northern Lights missed the playoffs.