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1997 expansion approval

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Old
12-19-2012, 07:19 PM
  #1
leeaf83
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1997 expansion approval

Just something I've seen across these boards and find puzzling. Why is this expansion not being brought up when discussing the 'blame game' consider the following;

-this came on the 3rd consecutive year a franchise relocated and only 2 years after the last lockout (in which the owners did not get what they wanted) ended. And at the time the canadian dollar was approaching rock bottom with all but Toronto and possibly Montreal in jeopardy.
-the NHL willingly extended the CBA which was deemed to be in the players favour by 4 years AND concurrently added 75 jobs for them without getting a single concession from them (the only concession was reducing roster sized from 24 to 23 but the net result was still more jobs)
-the expansion choices themselves; Atlanta eventually left, Columbus and Nashville are low market teams with Minnesota being mid market
-the league had already grown from 21 to 26 teams within the previous 6 years and more than one third of the current NHL cities did not have a team at the start of the decade (5 via expansion, 4 via relocation)

now consider how things would have gone if the league did not make the ill advised expansion;
-the CBA expires in 2000. It's likely the 2004 lockout either doesn't happen or isn't as nasty.
-with the future CBA's, there wouldn't be as much to fight for. Many believe it's the small market teams causing the lockout and without the expansion, there'd be 3 fewer
-Minnesota and Winnipeg would be viable outlets for failing franchises.
-the overall logistics of having 4 fewer teams would be beneficial; all 4 of those expansion teams were generally lower draws while on the road. And it also added a higher percentage of meaningless games with 4 more teams missing the playoffs every year. And the talent pool would be less watered down


I just question with the players getting blamed for everything wrong with the sport, why is this decision not being brought up when you could easily argue that this expansion was the worst self-inflicted disaster on any sports league?

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12-19-2012, 08:02 PM
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If you're looking for blame to go around on expansion, I suggest looking no further than the group of shortsighted clowns who insisted that the NHL remain at six teams (and no further west or south of Chicago) while everyone else was rapidly expanding or relocating across the United States. And then while backfilling in the middle, the NHL still sat on its hands. And yet we're supposed to laud them and call them "builders".

I'm sick and ******* tired of basically being told to apologize for existing.

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12-19-2012, 08:13 PM
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6 team NHL isn't so bad. Most of us would be watching hockey with or without a team.

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12-19-2012, 11:07 PM
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Originally Posted by jigglysquishy View Post
6 team NHL isn't so bad. Most of us would be watching hockey with or without a team.
i doubt it

if there was no team in Vancouver(or close by like Seattle) i doubt i would be watching...

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12-20-2012, 12:24 AM
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i doubt it

if there was no team in Vancouver(or close by like Seattle) i doubt i would be watching...
There is no way that a 6 team NHL actually exists in the modern era. If the NHL didn't want to fill more markets than that, then another league would, and that league would have surpassed the NHL by the 80's.

Heck, the reason the WHL had a fighting chance was because there was no shortage of demand for more hockey in the world that the NHL was refusing to attempt to meet. That's the only reason there's hockey in Western Canada for cryin' out loud. And that was with other prime markets filled that weren't part of the Original 6. If the WHL had been able to tap into markets like Philly and Pittsburgh, add a New York team and grab the Ottawa market, instead of having markets in Hartford and Birmingham to give them enough franchises to operate, the NHL would have had to merge with them on much friendlier terms to the WHL.

And of course, the other hand of the reason is that the WHL was the league that found Wayne Gretzky, but that's a tale for another time.

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Last edited by Killion: 12-20-2012 at 12:39 AM. Reason: lets not go there and say we did...
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12-20-2012, 12:36 AM
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Originally Posted by leeaf83 View Post
I just question with the players getting blamed for everything wrong with the sport, why is this decision not being brought up when you could easily argue that this expansion was the worst self-inflicted disaster on any sports league?
Really?





Really?

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12-20-2012, 01:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Dojji View Post
There is no way that a 6 team NHL actually exists in the modern era. If the NHL didn't want to fill more markets than that, then another league would, and that league would have surpassed the NHL by the 80's.

Heck, the reason the WHL had a fighting chance was because there was no shortage of demand for more hockey in the world that the NHL was refusing to attempt to meet. That's the only reason there's hockey in Western Canada for cryin' out loud. And that was with other prime markets filled that weren't part of the Original 6. If the WHL had been able to tap into markets like Philly and Pittsburgh, add a New York team and grab the Ottawa market, instead of having markets in Hartford and Birmingham to give them enough franchises to operate, the NHL would have had to merge with them on much friendlier terms to the WHL.

And of course, the other hand of the reason is that the WHL was the league that found Wayne Gretzky, but that's a tale for another time.

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WHA. WHL is a major junior league in Canada.

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12-20-2012, 01:23 AM
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Originally Posted by MAROONSRoad View Post
WHA. WHL is a major junior league in Canada.
Wrong.

A professional WHL existed during the time before the 1967 Expansion.

The Canucks name came from a team in the same league.

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12-20-2012, 01:28 AM
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But he is right that I intended to say the WHA.

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12-20-2012, 01:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Mayor Bee View Post
If you're looking for blame to go around on expansion, I suggest looking no further than the group of shortsighted clowns who insisted that the NHL remain at six teams (and no further west or south of Chicago) while everyone else was rapidly expanding or relocating across the United States. And then while backfilling in the middle, the NHL still sat on its hands. And yet we're supposed to laud them and call them "builders".

I'm sick and ******* tired of basically being told to apologize for existing.

We're a bit past the Six Team debate by 1997 though, aren't we.

I think you're approaching this the wrong way, the feeling of needing to apologize for existing. Isn't the question more so about how the 1990's expansion was seemingly set on autopilot? Another way to look at it would be to ask what responsibility lay with the owners/league at that time to enable a successful expansion.

Yes, it does seem that some fans turn on each other for the mismanaged implementation by the league, but aren't there some legitimate economic questions brought up by the OP?

Did the league botch the implementation of that round of expansions?

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12-20-2012, 01:47 AM
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I don't think so. Atlanta's situation is the closest to a real kick job and that was based on stuff I don't think was forseeable in the late 90's. Columbus was worth trying, and Nashville and Minnesota are more or less settled in as NHL franchises to the point that neither is likely to be going anywhere anytime soon.

You have to trust owners to run their franchises properly. In no other way is a franchise going to thrive no matter where you put it. I'm convinced that as long as you're not completely ridiculous, really good ownership can succeed just about anywhere.

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12-20-2012, 01:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Dojji View Post
I don't think so. Atlanta's situation is the closest to a real kick job and that was based on stuff I don't think was forseeable in the late 90's. Columbus was worth trying, and Nashville and Minnesota are more or less settled in as NHL franchises to the point that neither is likely to be going anywhere anytime soon.

You have to trust owners to run their franchises properly. In no other way is a franchise going to thrive no matter where you put it.

I would argue that the existing teams had some responsibility beyond pocketing the expansion fee to add teams that were set up for success, and not failure. And maybe the owners that bought into the expansion teams didn't do a very good job with due diligence or with understanding the pressure points of running NHL teams.

For starters, adding teams that quickly put a massive strain on talent supply levels. If you consider that an average player takes five years to develop, from the point he's drafted to being NHL-ready, what does it say to add that many teams in about a decade? Where were they going to get players? They have to build up development programs, farm teams, a draft record.... and do this while they're already operating as an NHL team.

If you then factor that it seems fans in newer US markets are mainly attracted by a record of winning (at least initially), how the heck were these teams going to compete at THAT level? They'd need a good 10-15 yrs just to become a regular old NHL team.

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12-20-2012, 02:12 AM
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Originally Posted by DoyleG View Post
Wrong.

A professional WHL existed during the time before the 1967 Expansion.

The Canucks name came from a team in the same league.
Okay. And how am I wrong about the WHA. I said "is" not "was" regarding WHL.

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12-20-2012, 02:25 AM
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dojji View Post
I don't think so. Atlanta's situation is the closest to a real kick job and that was based on stuff I don't think was forseeable in the late 90's. Columbus was worth trying, and Nashville and Minnesota are more or less settled in as NHL franchises to the point that neither is likely to be going anywhere anytime soon.

You have to trust owners to run their franchises properly. In no other way is a franchise going to thrive no matter where you put it. I'm convinced that as long as you're not completely ridiculous, really good ownership can succeed just about anywhere.
Well the league picks these ownership groups as well. Maybe if they slowed down and really looked at some of these groups they would have done a better job. They have approved far too many owners that have not been vetted enough in my opinion. Jamison is the latest example and I know they know him from his days in San Jose, but they need to be honest about whether or not he can keep that team actually going. I think the answer is a no, but once again they aren't caring enough.

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12-20-2012, 03:54 AM
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For starters, adding teams that quickly put a massive strain on talent supply levels. If you consider that an average player takes five years to develop, from the point he's drafted to being NHL-ready, what does it say to add that many teams in about a decade? Where were they going to get players? They have to build up development programs, farm teams, a draft record.... and do this while they're already operating as an NHL team.

If you then factor that it seems fans in newer US markets are mainly attracted by a record of winning (at least initially), how the heck were these teams going to compete at THAT level? They'd need a good 10-15 yrs just to become a regular old NHL team.
The talent was already there, especially with the influx of European talent. Yes, it may have been some years past the Iron Curtain, but lots of players stayed in Europe because there wasn't enough place for them in the NHL. Going by talent alone, they probably should expand the league right now as well.
The only thing questionable about this was how they spread talent. The expansion drafts rarely handed good players to teams. While it's natural that you don't want to have teams lose their good players because of this, the way teams sort of circumvented certain parts was really bad, like having players on the draftable list that hadn't been in America for years.

I don't agree with your other point at all. Expansion wasn't suddenly completely different. Earlier expansion-teams got their talent the same way and they were doing just fine. Hardly any of the earlier expansion-teams had immediate success, so that isn't all that different from before either.

Beyond all that, the teams weren't on a bad path right away. Nashville was doing just fine until Leipold trashed the team and sold everything. Columbus had a very good first season, probably too good for their own sake. Their problem wasn't starting of badly, it was staying at the same level for years on end, which was caused by bad management. Their attendance was just fine for quite a lot of years, and it probably will just be fine once they actually have some sort of success. Minnesota had excellent attendance and some good years, nothing bad about them. They never made it quite to the top, but then again, that's true for pretty much everyone. There's only so much success to go around. Atlanta ended up as a failure, and that was squarely based on bad ownership. You won't get anywhere when your ownership is in turmoil for pretty much your entire existance. It wasn't wrong to try Atlanta, but it may have been wrong to chose these owners.


On another matter, successful development of hockey can't just be measured by a sold out arena. What matters is the routs that develop. You put a hockey team somewhere and people will start playing themselves. That's what growth means, you very much build a new fanbase that isn't just a fan of a team, but loves hockey. You now see talent pop up in places that didn't bring out talent before, but it takes some time, see California. That's why you shouldn't leave after just a few years, and that's probably why the first option for the NHL is always another local owner taking over.

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12-20-2012, 06:06 AM
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I was actually just discussing this with a friend and I totally agree.. Fact is that the owners got greedy and wanted to get money via expansion fees.. They didn't consider the issues and now that its causing problems, they want/need to players to make numerous concessions to help them out.. The right thing would be to buy out a few teams but again, they dug a hole and don't want to spend to get out of it, so they lock out and take from the players

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12-20-2012, 06:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Fugu View Post
I think you're approaching this the wrong way, the feeling of needing to apologize for existing. Isn't the question more so about how the 1990's expansion was seemingly set on autopilot? Another way to look at it would be to ask what responsibility lay with the owners/league at that time to enable a successful expansion.
I do agree that there are owners that took the easy expansion money, and then just left teams to live or die. Look no further than the alignment. Look at the SE division, as one example. Washington has been around since the mid 70's, but they get pushed out of what was considered one of the better divisions in hockey, the Patrick division. They get put with a relocated Whaler team, and what was at the time 3 recent expansion teams. That's taking the expansion money 3 times over, getting rid of the Hartford Whalers, a WHA team that was never really wanted by some NHL teams from day 1, hiding them all in one basement, and throwing Washington to the curb so that, in part, Toronto could move east.

Those big teams in the northeast corridor, to me, are most at fault. They got the money, got away from the teams in the south that gave them the money(until the playoffs, but I guess you can't have everything), have their great compact travel divisions, and screwed pretty much every team in the Western Conference with a poor alignment. Two divisions that span 3 time zones. A conference that spans 4 time zones.

One thing though, just in general. Fans telling other fans that they shouldn't have a team, be it by relocation, or contraction, or no expansion, isn't very constructive. Since fans have no say in those things, you work with what is. There are 30 teams, where they currently exist, now make it work.

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12-20-2012, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by leeaf83 View Post
-the NHL willingly extended the CBA which was deemed to be in the players favour by 4 years AND concurrently added 75 jobs for them without getting a single concession from them (the only concession was reducing roster sized from 24 to 23 but the net result was still more jobs)
They got four very large bags of money. That's all the concession they needed or wanted.

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12-20-2012, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Dojji View Post
I don't think so. Atlanta's situation is the closest to a real kick job and that was based on stuff I don't think was forseeable in the late 90's. Columbus was worth trying, and Nashville and Minnesota are more or less settled in as NHL franchises to the point that neither is likely to be going anywhere anytime soon.

You have to trust owners to run their franchises properly. In no other way is a franchise going to thrive no matter where you put it. I'm convinced that as long as you're not completely ridiculous, really good ownership can succeed just about anywhere.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedWings19405 View Post
Well the league picks these ownership groups as well. Maybe if they slowed down and really looked at some of these groups they would have done a better job. They have approved far too many owners that have not been vetted enough in my opinion. Jamison is the latest example and I know they know him from his days in San Jose, but they need to be honest about whether or not he can keep that team actually going. I think the answer is a no, but once again they aren't caring enough.
You cannot justify columbus while leaving Hartford.

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12-20-2012, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by KingsFan7824 View Post
I do agree that there are owners that took the easy expansion money, and then just left teams to live or die. Look no further than the alignment. Look at the SE division, as one example. Washington has been around since the mid 70's, but they get pushed out of what was considered one of the better divisions in hockey, the Patrick division. They get put with a relocated Whaler team, and what was at the time 3 recent expansion teams. That's taking the expansion money 3 times over, getting rid of the Hartford Whalers, a WHA team that was never really wanted by some NHL teams from day 1, hiding them all in one basement, and throwing Washington to the curb so that, in part, Toronto could move east.

Those big teams in the northeast corridor, to me, are most at fault. They got the money, got away from the teams in the south that gave them the money(until the playoffs, but I guess you can't have everything), have their great compact travel divisions, and screwed pretty much every team in the Western Conference with a poor alignment. Two divisions that span 3 time zones. A conference that spans 4 time zones.

One thing though, just in general. Fans telling other fans that they shouldn't have a team, be it by relocation, or contraction, or no expansion, isn't very constructive. Since fans have no say in those things, you work with what is. There are 30 teams, where they currently exist, now make it work.
This guy gets it. We had a discussion about this. The NHL put teams there and then ran.

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12-20-2012, 10:28 AM
  #21
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Originally Posted by Fugu View Post
I would argue that the existing teams had some responsibility beyond pocketing the expansion fee to add teams that were set up for success, and not failure. And maybe the owners that bought into the expansion teams didn't do a very good job with due diligence or with understanding the pressure points of running NHL teams.

For starters, adding teams that quickly put a massive strain on talent supply levels. If you consider that an average player takes five years to develop, from the point he's drafted to being NHL-ready, what does it say to add that many teams in about a decade? Where were they going to get players? They have to build up development programs, farm teams, a draft record.... and do this while they're already operating as an NHL team.

If you then factor that it seems fans in newer US markets are mainly attracted by a record of winning (at least initially), how the heck were these teams going to compete at THAT level? They'd need a good 10-15 yrs just to become a regular old NHL team.
You're speaking out of a presumption that that expansion has failed. I think that that's a bit of a tough statement to defend. It's not like franchises have never had a tough road or needed to relocate before.

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12-20-2012, 10:33 AM
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You cannot justify columbus while leaving Hartford.
Considering there's no other NHL hockey in Ohio, while the Bruins dominate the New England market and Hartford is rubbing elbows with multiple New York squads in the other direction?

Yes you can.

The Hartford market was always too small to really succed. I feel bad about saying it, but there's no way on God's green earth that the NHL will ever return to Connecticut again. You'd need to be the Green Bay Packers to even have a chance, and while it's easy to remember the good times after the team is gone, the Whalers were never the Green Bay Packers.

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12-20-2012, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by jigglysquishy View Post
6 team NHL isn't so bad. Most of us would be watching hockey with or without a team.
LOL... This sport has grown so much since the days of six teams. And as for most of watching hockey if there were only six teams... You'd be damn lucky to find hockey broadcast anywhere more than once a week if there were only six team... good ole HNIC would be about it.

So yes, perhaps a great many Canadians would still be watching HNIC, but there are a lot more hockey fans watching across the continent and even in Europe now than there were when there were only six teams, or if there were still only six teams.

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12-20-2012, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Dojji View Post
Considering there's no other NHL hockey in Ohio, while the Bruins dominate the New England market and Hartford is rubbing elbows with multiple New York squads in the other direction?

Yes you can.

The Hartford market was always too small to really succed. I feel bad about saying it, but there's no way on God's green earth that the NHL will ever return to Connecticut again. You'd need to be the Green Bay Packers to even have a chance, and while it's easy to remember the good times after the team is gone, the Whalers were never the Green Bay Packers.
You should consider Boston had much of the same attendance issues in the mid 90s
Hartford has more money. Columbus was a college town. The TV markets cross each other out.

If we had Pittsburgh, Detroit and Chicago We didn't need another team there, but whats done is done.

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12-20-2012, 10:52 AM
  #25
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I was actually just discussing this with a friend and I totally agree.. Fact is that the owners got greedy and wanted to get money via expansion fees.. They didn't consider the issues and now that its causing problems, they want/need to players to make numerous concessions to help them out.. The right thing would be to buy out a few teams but again, they dug a hole and don't want to spend to get out of it, so they lock out and take from the players
Whether right or wrong, what the League wanted was to put itself on the map, to get itself up in to the numbers of teams that the other professional major leagues have. Sure, expansion fees are great, but those Expansion fees are what any single team can make in revenue for a single Season today, and some more than two times that. They were growing the League and trying to get that national US footprint that could win a national broadcast contract.

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