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09-25-2003, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by BigDaddyMeatWhistle
They might have a cap now but that would change once they negotiate with the former NHLPA. Once they get the players, they can easily get the revenues to pay more. If the WHA has all the current NHL players which league are you going to watch?

The NHL owners are going to have to make a decision at some point when all the players are in the WHA.

Do they try to sell minor league hockey in their big rinks and try to pass it off as the same as what they used to have?

Do they try to outbid the WHA for their players?

Or do they get out of the hockey business?

In the first case, they have little hope of success. The fans will know where the best players will be and they won't pay major league prices for minor league talent.

In the second case, things get interesting. The NHL would probably end up paying out more to the players then they would under the current CBA. Who knows how things would play out but the players would probably try their hardest to keep the WHA viable just to use as leverage against the NHL.

In the third case, what do the owners do with their big buildings? They'll have to give up control of them. And who would be looking to take over? The WHA which could probably get many of the buildings at rock bottom prices. Some which have an NBA tenant like the ACC, MSG, and Staples Centre would be able to get a decent return but the others would have no bargaining leverage.
I don't think a new organisation like the WHA would be willing to give more than the lowest NHL offer to the NHLPA players. Why? First, they are lacking investors. They do not have the funds to operate such a big business. They also lack the rinks. Even if they could get some rinks at a bargain price, then again they would need the money to pay those "bargain priced" rinks. Besides, many rinks would be profitable without a hockey team, so there wouldn't be that many incentives in selling them real cheap. To top it off, current NHL owners might rather keep them and cause problems to the WHA who are "stealing" the players. A rink like the Bell Center would make more money without the hockey team, just from events.

Anyway, I doubt that the WHA would put itself in a position where they wouldn't make a profit. Also, at first they wouldn't be able to jack up prices in order to draw fans to their product. Add to that likely no tv contract, low sponsorship deals at first and I don't see them offering anything close to the lowest offer from the NHL.

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