... they with the Bulls were simply bought out. Attendance in Cincys' case cited as the primary reason, yet just 2.5 - 3yrs earlier, talks with Ziegler about Amalgamation included the Stingers, 6 teams in total coming into the NHL that fell apart around 75-76 or so. Curious situation. Mightve had something to do with DeWitt the owner, maybe the arena situation & its management & disposition, I dont really know.
Both Cinncinati and Birmingham were both paid either $1.5m or $2.5m each at the end of the 78-79 season to fold, as the NHL did not want them.
The original Merger would have included both Houston and Indy if the original '77 merger would have happened. I believe it failed by 2 votes, which were cast by Bill Wirtz, and Harold Ballard. Houston decided to fold when the merger failed. If they had held out, I still believe the Aeros would be an NHL team today. Indy was completely mismanaged after 2 successful seasons.
The problem is many of the WHA franchises were either fly by night ownerships or played in substandard dumps of Arenas. The Chicago Amphitheater was a livestock arena , Cherry Hill Arena no visitor locker room and had wavy ice. Chicago had to play a couple of playoff series in a suburban pole barn rink(Randhurst Twin) because of a scheduled livestock show!
They way overpaid average players that were 3rd or 4th liners in the NHL. Many a paycheck bounced. Teams were folding mid-season, Minnesota(2nd incarnation), Calgary, Denver, Michigan, Ottawa(2nd incarnation).
When San Diego found out that they were not part of Merger discussions, the owners decided to cut losses and fold the team. Phoenix was a really good franchise , but again was a victim of really bad ownership and money management.
There was a stabilization plan in place for a WHA 79-80 season if the merger had for some reason failed again. There was going to be 8 teams, the 6 that were still standing, and 2 expansion franchises(1 Canadian team, 1 American team). Hamilton or Halifax, and Seattle(Tacoma Dome) come to mind if my memory is correct.
The Chicago Cougar series was actually played at a local shopping mall called Randhurst Mall....
Imagine playing a finals series in a shopping mall??? I also believe it was against the Whalers or Areos when they had Gordie Howe.
Imagine that - Gordie Howe playing in an WHA playoff final in a shopping mall skating arena..
But I suppose at the time it was the biggest shopping mall in America.....