Well it's back, just when you think the stake has been driven through its heart, the WHA returns to the headlines. The much rumoured, yet seemingly dis-organized alternate to the NHL has once again suggested it will take to the ice.
The latest plan from the WHA website has the league planning an introductory round robin tourney for the spring. The return of the WHA is scheduled to run from May 20- June 2nd no doubt is planned to capitalize on that final bit of hockey fan angst, you remember that magical time when it was so hot outside that you ended up moving the TV out to the deck to watch Hockey while you BBQ the steaks.
Already beating the drums and the bushes for the tourney and an alternative revenue stream for NHLPA alumni is Jeremy Roenick, who has been busy recruiting players for the Bobby Hull Invitational.
It seems that the tourney will be held in two locations Hamilton and Vancouver, six teams will compete in a round robin affair with the eventual two divisional winners meeting in a championship final.
There are some interesting rule changes apparently in place for the tournament, including penalty takers sitting for the entire time despite any goals being scored and in the spirit of Bobby Hull the curve of a players stick will have no limitations. The boomerang blade is back baby!!
The idea is to get the WHA brand out in the hockey world, provide a ready made TV event and set the stage for the debut of the rebranded WHA in October with 10 or maybe 16 teams to take to the ice.
Apparently 60 players are on a list of those expected to participate thus far which would work out to ten per team thus far. They will play for 20,000 dollars each as a participation fee and will challenge for the 2 million dollar jackpot at the end of the rainbow.
Which brings us to the quote from JR which should raise a few eyebrows, "we're just trying to put a little money into he guys pockets". Hard to believe that the millionaire class of players being recruited would be down to their last dollar but there it is.
Suddenly we see the NHL hardline getting just got little harder! If the players are willing to toss it all in for 20 thou and a "shot" a share of two million, then the poker game must surely be coming to an end!