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12-23-2012, 03:15 PM
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WHA and Europe

Originally Posted by cam042686 View Post
Well yes and no. The WHA much more than the NHL began bringing in European players and began playing European teams. In the fall of 1975 both Winnipeg and Toronto staged their training camps in Europe and played European club teams. In December 1976 Winnipeg represented the WHA at the prestigious Izvestia Tournament in Moscow playing the Soviet, Czech, Swedish and Finnish National teams. (They did pretty well, losing 3-2 to the Czechs, tied Sweden 4-4, lost 6-4 to USSR, and beat Finland 2-1. Very good for a club team playing national teams.) When Winnipeg returned the Soviet Nationals then played an 8 game tour of the WHA going 6-2.

The following year Winnipeg again had their training camp in Europe and Cincinnati represented the WHA at the Rude Prava Cup tournament in Prague. Quebec represented the WHA at the 1977 Izvestia Tournament (and only tied 1 game) while both the Soviet Stars (a "National B team) and Nationals toured the WHA. interesting thing about the Stars - their games against WHA teams counted in the standings!

I could go on but the WHA far more than the NHL embraced international hockey.

Craig Wallace
WHA teams liked the gate and exposure when European teams toured North America. The only WHA team that could be viewed as having an International roster was Winnipeg, the others dabbled a little bit.

The other teams tended to be regional in team composition. Quebec focused on players with a province of Quebec hockey background. Edmonton, Calgary,Toronto, New England and Minnesota concentrated on players with regional backgrounds slowly morphing into pandering to the audience - Birmingham with its goons. Empty roster spots went to what was left over and available.

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