The 1984-85 season saw a few power shifts. Thanks to strong performances from Jake Fairbanks and Pete Holloway, the Seattle Grey Wolves managed to win their first division title in franchise history, while the LA Wizards, demoralized by the loss of Ray Fowler, missed the playoffs for the first time since 1971. Vancouver came agonizingly close to the making the playoffs for the first time in fifteen years. The Bighorns had an opportunity to clinch a playoff spot in their final game of the year against Seattle, but blew a two goal lead in the third period to finish just short of the post-season. However, GM Neil Jacobs still felt positive about the direction of the team. “The end was disappointing but we made some huge improvements as a club this year.” One of the keys to Vancouver’s much improved season was the play of rookie defenseman Shane Swanson, who became the first rookie ever to win top defenseman honours. Swanson was also the first defenseman to lead his team in scoring, with 90 points.
St. Louis won the league regular season title again as David Appleby once again won the scoring title with 124 points. Chicago finished just one point behind the spirits for second place while Vladimir Gaganov finished just three points behind Appleby in the scoring race. The Denver Bulls slipped a little in the standings while Winnipeg moved into third place, and Dallas had their most successful season yet despite swirling rumours about the future of the franchise. In the Eastern Conference, Nova Scotia enjoyed another strong season thanks to brilliant goaltending from Brent MacDonald while youngsters Harry Hayes, Owen Kennedy, and Dave Mack proved to be a dangerous trio up front. Detroit climbed to second in the Northeast while Ottawa slipped all the way to the fourth and final playoff spot, edging out Quebec, who was without Jon Gage after Gage suffered a season ending injury, on the final day of the season. Perhaps the biggest turnover was in the Atlantic Division. Bobby Sorel’s play was as solid as ever at age 38. As the Long Island Concordes finished second in the division, mounting a serious challenge to first-place Pittsburgh. Washington slipped all the way from second to fifth, missing the playoffs for the first time since 1976.