Yo Puckheads: Anyone heard about the WHA?

in General Discussion edited January 2014
Check this out... from ESPN


The World Hockey Association will give it a Hull of a try when it launches its alternative to the NHL in 2004-05 -- two Hulls, in fact. Bobby Hull, who has been named commissioner of the upstart league, said he hopes to convince son Brett to join him when Brett's contract with the Detroit Red Wings expires after next season.

"Absolutely," Bobby Hull told thehockeynews.com in his first interview in his new job. He will be formally introduced as commissioner via a media teleconference later this week.

"There are a number of players in Brett's position who are getting towards the waning of their careers, where they will have next year in the NHL.

"In order for the NHL to continue, they will have to break the league, they will have to install a salary cap, they will have to restructure, and they will have to profit-share.

No matter what (NHLPA executive director Bob) Goodenow says, the owners are saying 'If you guys don't want a salary cap, if you don't want to restructure, if you don't want to profit share, then you'll be out of business. And there will be a lot of people in the position that Brett Hull is in who will want to play another couple of years after the NHL players are locked out. Guys like Chris Chelios, Igor Larionov, Adam Oates, Steve Thomas and Phil Housley. People like that who could still play, and we would welcome them in our league."

Pretty bold statements for Hull's first week as commissioner, but that's exactly what the WHA enlisted him for. "He gives us some credibility," said Allan Howell, co-founder of the new WHA.

He's sure to also bring the league some color and controversy -- something both he and Brett have become famous for throughout their careers. Bobby created waves in 1972 when, as one of the NHL's biggest stars of the time, he jumped to sign with the WHA's Winnipeg Jets for what was then a monstrous contract -- $2.75 million over 10 years. Given this background, and his experience in professional hockey, Hull says he's feels additional motivation for his new role.

"I feel, first of all, very privileged that these people think enough of me that they made me commissioner. And it's almost like, as Yogi Berra said, déjÃ* vu all over again.

"They formed the WHA in 1972 because they thought certain areas in the U.S. and Canada were being neglected by professional hockey," Hull said. "Now we're doing it for different reasons. We're doing it to bring back the families to the game, people who love the game, and make it an affordable night's entertainment.

"Right now you don't see a lot of kids at NHL games. (The WHA) is going to change that, so we don't lose those kids as the fan base for the future. I feel privileged to be able to do that."

Part of the WHA's plan includes designing its game to address some of the issues the NHL is facing right now. There will be no red line, no trapping, automatic no-touch icing, no checking from behind, and there will be clear rules against obstruction interference and other actions that impede the flow of the game. Officials will award penalty shots for some of these infractions, rather than two-minute minors.

One key change Hull will push for is that, for WHA franchises building new arenas, the ice surface should be the international size of 200 feet by 100 feet, as opposed to the NHL standard 200 by 85.

Hull as commissioner is a real, full-time assignment for the Hall of Famer, not merely a figurehead position. Currently based in Ashville, N.C., he will likely move to one of the WHA's new offices in Toronto or Orlando.

"I hope I can do a better job than Mr. Bettman," Hull laughed, when asked about how he will differ from his NHL counterpart. "My job is to suggest and ratify and use any expertise that I might have gained over the 23 years in professional hockey to make our game a better game."

If they can attract a wealth of 30-something stars and some great young guys, this could be a legitimate contender. I'd actually like to see teams from Europe too. That would be SWEET. Can you imagine teams from say Toronto or Chicago playing teams from Sweden or Russia two or three times a season? Sorta like the NL and AL... then they do the playoffs in a similar format. Interesting stuff. The jet lag factor would have to be taken into account but with enough proper timing it could be done.


  • Reply 1 of 23
    Bring back the Whalers!!! Btw, they were actually GOOD when they were a WHA team.
  • Reply 2 of 23
    moogsmoogs Posts: 4,296member
    Whalers, North Stars, Nordiques, Jets ... Buffalo, Pittsburgh.

  • Reply 3 of 23
    dual867dual867 Posts: 31member
    It sounds like a neat concept. I don't like the no-touch icing(make em' work for their icing calls) rule, but the others will make the game much faster and possibly more exciting. Finally getting rid of the trap will force more offence, which is always good. I have a feeling though, that this may turn out to be another XFL. However, it may force change upon the NHL to speed the game up and get rid of the monotony of the current product. Time will tell, suppose.

  • Reply 4 of 23
    buonrottobuonrotto Posts: 6,368member
    I can't wait to see see them try to call "trapping" penalties. The 200 x100 rinks would mean less checking though, and probably negate the trap to a substantial degree anyway.

    sounds more like the XFL than the WHA to me. (And why didn't the WWF folks try a hockey league?! )
  • Reply 5 of 23
    moogsmoogs Posts: 4,296member
    I think the elimination of the red line and larger rink would make trapping hard enough. I suspect calling "trapping" would be analagous to calling "illegal defense" in the NBA. They'll know a zone when they see it. I don't think this has much XFLishness to it. Seems like they're basically trying to adopt the Olympic rules and apply it to a professional league here.

    If the 2004 strike - and there WILL be one - turns into a protracted battle I bet you will see many NHL players leave. NHLers by and large are not like other athletes. They want their bucks, but they want to PLAY more than anything else. Sure some dickheads will demand baseball-like salaries but I bet most players will get fed up with the politics and some point and go back to Europe or the WHA or some other league to play. Even the AHL possibly for many of the younger guys.
  • Reply 6 of 23
    aquafireaquafire Posts: 2,758member
    Hockey on Ice...it's a joke..Disney on Ice more like.

    Take an ancient game invented in somewhere ancient like India & squash th ball into a Puck shape. Put ice over everything and tons of padding..A badly played Moog Organ and razzamatazz & there you have it...

    The brainless version of a once ancient royal game..

    OH Hockey, the depths of depravity to which you've been driven..

    Ice hackey has become a multi million dollar parody..Like that fake wrestling that the fat bimbos & bikers so love...

    Who stole the " Real Ice hockey "

    Ps I used to play Hockey & I sure as hell know how too swing my Hockey stick....( he says waiting in the Goal square )

  • Reply 7 of 23
    moogsmoogs Posts: 4,296member
    You're cruisin for a bruisin nancy-boy.

    Plenty of real men playing a real man's game out there. The fights are fairly scarce these days ya know. Not like every game is teh Charleston Chiefs or something. Puttin on the FOIL! Seriously, I got mucho boocoo more respect for the likes of the guy making the NHL league minimum, skating his arse off out there every night, than I do any baseball, basketball or even football player.

  • Reply 8 of 23
    trick falltrick fall Posts: 1,271member
    If it helps get rid of the trap I'm all for it.
  • Reply 9 of 23
    curiousuburbcuriousuburb Posts: 3,325member

    Originally posted by Moogs

    Not like every game is teh Charleston Chiefs or something. Puttin on the FOIL!

    Old Time Hockey!
  • Reply 10 of 23
    buonrottobuonrotto Posts: 6,368member

    Originally posted by aquafire

    Take an ancient game invented in somewhere ancient like India

    Er, try Native American lacrosse as its origins -- those other Indians.
  • Reply 11 of 23
    moogsmoogs Posts: 4,296member

    Originally posted by curiousuburb

    Old Time Hockey!

    Eddie Shore!
  • Reply 12 of 23
    aquafireaquafire Posts: 2,758member

    Originally posted by Moogs

    The fights are fairly scarce these days ya know.

    Atta boy..I smell a fight...

    Thats what I mean Moogs

    ..it's all been pansyified....

  • Reply 13 of 23
    Yes! Death to the NHL! That filthy bloated whore must go! Seriously, if this gets NHL owners and jackasses in the commisioners office to smarten up or lose fans, then it's a good thing. With CBA expiring this could be very bad news for the NHL.
  • Reply 14 of 23
    buonrottobuonrotto Posts: 6,368member
    This would just give leverage to the Jaromir Jagrs and Eric Lindroses of the hockey world for even more outrageous salaries... or else! It puts the owners at a disadvantage at the (collective) bargaining table, and would further dilute the already thin talent pool.
  • Reply 15 of 23
    aquafireaquafire Posts: 2,758member
    Brains without Biff is as boring as Biff without Brains.

    It needs a good mix of both to stave off fans leaving in droves.
  • Reply 16 of 23
    moogsmoogs Posts: 4,296member
    Hey Jagr and Lindros can drop dead for all I care. They're what's wrong with the game. Lazy, overpaid and over-ego'd. Fuk em. If i have to choose between an NHL full of Jagrs and Nolans and Belfours, or a WHL stocked with a buncha Smyths, Ohlunds and Aebischers, I can tell ya witch one I'll watch every night.
  • Reply 17 of 23
    buonrottobuonrotto Posts: 6,368member
    The thing is, the Jagrs and Lindroses won't drop dead or go to the WHA, they will only use it for leverage with the NHL GMs, and they won't dare let them run to another league, and those players have no real intention of doing so anyway. So they'll get their fat contracts, ruin the salary cap and more teams like Ottowa, Montreal, and Buffalo will fold under the financial strain. Fans lose.
  • Reply 18 of 23
    bungebunge Posts: 7,329member

    Originally posted by BuonRotto

    So they'll get their fat contracts, ruin the salary cap and more teams like Ottowa, Montreal, and Buffalo will fold under the financial strain. Fans lose.

    Unless there's a good system to move teams from the NHL to the WHA. That might be an interesting option.
  • Reply 19 of 23
    At second league is nothing but good for the fans, especially if they can draw some good NHL talent over. A lot of GMs are trying to make sure they have as few contracts as possible come the end of this year in case of a long lock-out, these players will have zero obligation to sit on their arses come 04/05 and will be more than willing to sign on with the WHA, even if it is just to stick it to the NHL and the owners.

    At the very least, cities like Winnipeg and Quebec could get competitve professional hockey back.

    If this happens, and a lot of players do jump ship then Pat Quinn has ensured that the Leafs will have a team consisting of Mats Sundin and Wade Belak when the NHL resumes play. Stupid Quinn.
  • Reply 20 of 23
    buonrottobuonrotto Posts: 6,368member
    That's an interesting option, bunge. Just bring the whole team over. This would be the chance to get the financial bargain right the first time too.
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