Like one of those feral cats in your neighbourhood, the WHA just won’t go away. The latest from the league with no players, no rinks, no sticks and no skates is that they at least may have some more money.
The league was sold on Monday and for the moment lives on; in a move that resembles the wanderings at a garage sale the new ownership group took custody of some desks, computers and the good corporate name of the WHA. Toronto businessman William Smith heads up a group of investors which plan to sit down promptly to decide if the idea of WHA hockey is salvageable for the 2004-05 season, or if they will require another year to put the building blocks in place properly.
Smith says the league is planning on operating from offices in New York, Toronto and that hockey mad metropolis of Boca Rotan, Florida. A move which would for the moment give the resuscitated league more head offices than franchises!
No word on who the other investors are, but they plan to offer first right of refusal to the previous franchisees, if they can't pony up, then it is assumed that the territory is open for bids. If they’re going to make this thing fly, expect the new owners to announce that they intend to operate this year, perhaps as early as in December. The only rational purpose in anyone investing in this, would be to take advantage of the current labour woes of the NHL, to wait a year to see how things develop would most likely result in the latest version of the WHA mimicing the mess it just inherited.
Whether they have the money, business smarts and wherewithal to launch it successfully remains to be seen. But for now we can put away the spikes for the heart, the pulse is still weak but for the moment the WHA lives. Truly a feral cat with nine lives. Whether we actually see a game is something best left to the all powerful hockey Gods, who shall render their judgement most unmercifully if they are annoyed.