Saturday, September 04, 2004

Wishful thinking at the WHA offices

The press release issued by the founders of the new World Hockey Association, would be a rather interesting document, if it just didn’t resonate with the smell of attention deficit desperation. Apparently not content with having had the media showing less than lukewarm interest in their rambling ways towards a hockey league, the grand poohbahs of the WHA first floated and then rejected the idea, of the NHL purchasing the league. Apparently this was the first and only time the idea had even been suggested. Somehow the hockey obsessed media of Canada, looking for hockey stories at every turn, missed out on this major merger development. This is possibly the first case of popping your own trial balloon, before it even gets in the air!

With all the subtlety of a three year old going “look at me, look at me”, the league that has yet to even find a rink to play in; let alone put players into uniforms, suggested that Gary Bettman and his currently pre-occupied gang of owners were testing the idea of purchasing the league. One wonders for what purpose Bettman and the boys would want to purchase a league of six or seven, maybe five (who knows today) phantom teams. But just in case Gary has some extra mad money to spend and wants to really get into a deficit situation, the folks at the WHA were here to tell us that its not going to happen. Gee, NO KIDDING!!!

The progress of the WHA is taking on the tones of the farcical. The one possible sure fire success they might have had, Quebec City had its franchise revoked in late August, as the league wasn’t sure of the sincerity or financial ability of the owners to run it. Hmm, Mirror, mirror on the wall anyone.

Like the Knight in Monty Python that keeps fighting despite losing limb after limb, we are treated to these periodic outbreaks of “news” from WHA control, just small setbacks really, just a flesh wound you know!

Perhaps they have it all wrong; maybe it wasn’t the NHL that was looking to purchase the league, but the NHLPA. Personally that would make much more sense, since it would give their players someplace to hang their hats when Armageddon day arrives on September 15th. But with such options as Europe and a possible travelling road show, NHLPA players probably wouldn’t be too inclined to take on the role of philanthropist, let alone own a league.

Mr. Howell and the rest of his suddenly “silent” investors should concentrate on firming up whatever it is their little exercise is planning on doing this fall. So far the average Hockey fan doesn’t have the WHA showing up on his/her radar at all. And who could blame them or the media for ignoring the occasional outbursts of fancy from this would be league.

However, to hedge my bets, and prepare to cash in on any extra NHL monies, here’s an open invitation to Mr. Bettman. The HockeyNation is exploring the possibility of also launching a new league very shortly; we’ll hold a draft, divvy up the players and maybe even find the same kind of venues to play in as our friends at the WHA. Of course Gary, this can all be avoided by simply writing us a cheque, we’ll gladly turn over our copies of the McKeen’s guide and The Hockey News season preview editions, our scouting sheets of choice.

The choice is yours Gary; you can also pay us now, or pay us later.

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