NHL pain, WHA's Gain?
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09-24-2003, 09:50 AM
Join Date: Nov 2002
Originally Posted by
Bobby Hull, commissioner of the embryonic WHA seems to think so. He predicts the NHL will shut down for at least a year.
Organizers of the new WHA hope to take advantage of NHL labour troubles by beginning play in the 2004-05 season. Hull said the league is even considering NHL cities like Los Angeles, Phoenix, Dallas and Edmonton because of the potential of cancelled NHL seasons. "We're not afraid to go there because there are not going to be any NHL teams in those places for a couple years,'' said Hull.
There's a few reason's I can see Bobby Hull making his comments. One is that he's trying to generate interest in the league. Comments like this are pretty bold, and fans in those cities may start to get excited about the prospect of still watching high-calibre hockey during a lockout. Even if they don't expand into those markets, he's increasing the exposure of the league. Plus, there is still the potential that they may be in those markets one year from now.
Second, is that he's giving the players more leverage. The best situation for him is that the NHL and NHLPA stay far apart in their discussions. He benefits from an extended lockout, or even a disbanding of the NHL if it ever gets that far (which I highly, highly, doubt). Also, if the presence of the league allows for a less owner friendly CBA because of the leverage that he provides, then there is increased potential that teams will contract, opening up new markets for the WHA.
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