NHL in Houston
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04-03-2013, 12:01 AM
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: The Village
Originally Posted by
This has probably already been discussed, but what happened to the 1970's Areos? How come they weren't included in the WHA-NHL merger?
Thats a rather murky tale. Their had been talks of a WHA/NHL Merger in 77 including Houston & all of the WHA teams however the NHL rejected the plan. Then in 78/79 talks reignited, with Houston, Cincinnati, New England, Quebec City, Winnipeg & Edmonton all wanting in, however, the NHL would only accept 4 teams and the Canadian teams, all 3 of them were voting as a block, demanding they gain entry. Cincinnati folded, leaving the last spot open in New England which was favoured by NHL interests.
Houstons owner, Kenneth Schnitzer, an extremely wealthy real estate developer, asked the NHL to rather than just close the door, award Houston an Expansion Franchise which he'd gladly pay for in order to gain entry or sell him an existing NHL franchise that he could then Relocate to Houston. The NHL flat-out refused. This incensed Schnitzer so much, that he withdrew Houston from the WHA during its final year of play in 78/79.... this was not some Hick East Texan you messed with, and not advisable to mess with them either, and insofar as he was concerned, no longer wanted anything to do with so obviously a Bush League as the NHL. Bunch of messed up individuals, Schnitzers money & the city of Houston wasnt good enough for them? Who wouldnt be pissed? Eff em.
Now, just why the NHL refused Houston, Schnitzers entreaties, which to most reasonable people would have been better than just great, as in "Welcome Aboard" and accommodated the man & the market in some way, well, thats not what the NHL did as we all know. Houston & Schnitzer were made an example of. Upstarts that had cost the NHL untold millions. Signed Gordie Howe out of Retirement, upsetting the Norris clan in Detroit & Chicago. Raided the rosters, caused salaries to skyrocket. All kinds of grief. Preferable the WHA just disappear but as they couldnt make that happen only very very grudgingly did they accept even the 4 teams they did, and even that was fought tooth & nail by the Canadiens, Leafs & Canucks.
The knives were never put away either. Eventually, Hartford, Winnipeg & Quebec (and ironically Edmonton - Alexander was very close to buying the Oilers, moving them to Houston in the mid-90's) all succumbed to long held enmities, old grudges & scores to settle. That the Canuck Buck was crashing, need for new buildings in Winnipeg, Quebec, Karmanos constantly moving the goalposts in Hartford, all kinds of excuses and most legit enough to be sold to the public as to why they were losing their teams all the sweeter to the NHL. Had nothin to do with the fact that these were unwanted Redheaded Stepchildren who'd crashed the party. Nothin to do with that whatsoever. And if you believe that...
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