Thursday, August 26, 2004

Sticking to his original plan

Sidney Crosby gave the thought of becoming an instant millionaire about two weeks of serious thought, but at the end of the day, the junior player from Nova Scotia decided that the path to success will run through Rimouski for one more year.

Crosby was tempted with a potential 7.5 million dollar contract offered up, 2 million of which would have been his whether the new WHA ever took to the ice or not. The Hamilton franchise of the newly formed league had hoped to lure Crosby away from the junior leagues and become the leagues first marquee signing. The WHA which has been keeping a rather low profile of late, let the word slip out that they had made the offer to Crosby on the same day his father advised the media that he had turned the league down.

Better to have tried and failed than to not try at all could be the credo at the WHA office these days, and well if the young phenom had turned them down anyways why not make the contract offer extremely high so as to show the league as ready to chase after some primo players.

In the end, the Crosby’s decided that the uncertain status of the WHA (the league really hasn’t progressed very far with its plans since the franchise announcements of a few months ago) that weighed against making the leap to pro hockey. That and some unfinished business in junior hockey, Crosby would like another shot at a Memorial Cup and of course be in Canada’s line up when they try to reclaim the title of World Champions and a gold medal at the World Junior Championships in North Dakota this year.

For the Hamilton franchise the gambit was seen as a way to try and secure a lease with officials at the Copps Coliseum. The new franchise has been having some problems getting a deal done on ice time at Copps, situation that many of the other WHA teams share, the Toronto franchise still has yet to secure a home for the upcoming season and little has been heard from BC since the Vancouver spokespeople advised they were inquiring about ice time at GM Place, one can imagine the quality dates they’ll get there after the Canucks schedule is factored in (providing the Canucks actually have a reason to take to the ice in September).

The Crosby’s would have received 2 million dollars up front for Sidney; his even if the league never plays a single period. It would have been like having a money tree; bills would fall off after each day progressed with no puck hitting the ice. Already with the clock ticking on the league there is some talk that they may not actually start play until November as some of the teams are having problems securing ice time. Sidney would thus have been cashing cheques through September and October wondering if November would send him to work.

As it is he’ll be heading to camp shortly, the Rimouski Oceanic’s, still wanting to learn some more skills and work on his style of play. He’ll make it to the pros, there’s no doubt about that, but he’ll do it on his own schedule, somehow one gets the feeling he won’t be too disappointed when he gets his first paystub. In this case, a good thing will not doubt be coming to those that wait.

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