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League Competition: WHA vs. NHL

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Old
02-07-2005, 01:31 PM
  #1
Jobu
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League Competition: WHA vs. NHL

For all those hoping for rival leagues and expecting that it will control salaries, realize that in 1972 when the WHA was established, salaries rose from an average of $24,000 in 1971 to $96,000 by 1977. When players jumped to the WHA, NHL teams were usually denied injunctions because they could not show irreparable harm or that the NHL regulations or standard players' contract were valid under antitrust law. See John Barnes' book, "Sports and the Law in Canada."

Competition, in fact, could be a player's dream.

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02-07-2005, 01:36 PM
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[joking....sorta]

I cite the mid 90s pro wrestling war between the WWF and WCW. WCW was always the #2 company until the mid 90s when they started signing away WWF stars to exorbitant contracts. WCW became the top company for about a 3 year span, stealing away personas essentially created by the WWF. But in time, WCW gave bloated contracts to minor characters and eventually became hugely unprofitable and went out of business (bought by the WWF no less).

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02-07-2005, 01:36 PM
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to be fair, it's also important to remember that NHL owners were raking in millions every year then, and still ripped off the players pension fund.

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02-07-2005, 01:37 PM
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You have to keep in mind that the WHA wouldn't have gotten players if not for throwing them absurd amounts of money. If the WHA actually got started today, you'd get players playing for various reasons besides money.

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02-07-2005, 01:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brodeur
[joking....sorta]

I cite the mid 90s pro wrestling war between the WWF and WCW. WCW was always the #2 company until the mid 90s when they started signing away WWF stars to exorbitant contracts. WCW became the top company for about a 3 year span, stealing away personas essentially created by the WWF. But in time, WCW gave bloated contracts to minor characters and eventually became hugely unprofitable and went out of business (bought by the WWF no less).
Except that the reason the WHA folded had more to do with franchise stability than inherent money-losing operation. 32 teams saw action in the WHA over 7-8 years and there was so much migration and movement that it died.

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02-07-2005, 01:41 PM
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You also have to realize that the WHA will be a capped league.

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02-07-2005, 01:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Love
You have to keep in mind that the WHA wouldn't have gotten players if not for throwing them absurd amounts of money. If the WHA actually got started today, you'd get players playing for various reasons besides money.
Maybe so, but do you not believe there would be competition between the NHL and the new WHA, especially if the WHA actually gains traction?

Surely 30 NHL owners won't be happy with empty arenas and competing leagues in their own backyard. Not to mention that the NHL would probably have to pay goodwill premiums to lure players full of spite.

In the end, money talks, and basic economic theory and practice tells and shows us that with more viable professional leagues, it's the players, in this case, who gain the most.

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02-07-2005, 01:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Iconoclast
You also have to realize that the WHA will be a capped league.
where was it that mccabe was playing- sweden? is there a cap there?

ps- i think the WHA would be a total sham, and cannot see it starting up unless the most dire situation imaginable surfaces with the NHL

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02-07-2005, 01:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Iconoclast
You also have to realize that the WHA will be a capped league.
Sure. To start. But then the NHL might realize it needs to raise its cap to be competive in attracting players from the WHA. Then the WHA would need to respond. Then both leagues could be attacked for colluding and imposing salary caps, at least if and when the new players unionize, or at the very least remain in a constant battle of upping their caps.

The point is, more viable competition is better for players, cap or no cap, because eventually the competition for scarce talent will result in more money being tossed around.

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02-07-2005, 02:02 PM
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Where are these mythical WHa/whatever league teams going to play?

In the last "attempt" to get a league running, there were TWO cities that were willing to sign a lease for these teams to play in a building adequate (loose term) to support professional hockey.

In 1972, there were lots of places to play.

The WHA (and any variation there of) is nothing more than a pipe dream at best.

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02-07-2005, 02:04 PM
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by transplant99
Where are these mythical WHa/whatever league teams going to play?

In the last "attempt" to get a league running, there were TWO cities that were willing to sign a lease for these teams to play in a building adequate (loose term) to support professional hockey.

In 1972, there were lots of places to play.

The WHA (and any variation there of) is nothing more than a pipe dream at best.
The longer the lockout goes on, the more likely such a league is to be successful.

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02-07-2005, 02:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jobu
Maybe so, but do you not believe there would be competition between the NHL and the new WHA, especially if the WHA actually gains traction?
I can't say for sure. The way the first re-incarnation of the WHA sounded, it didn't sound like they would offer much of a fight, with the way they had their salary structure I couldn't see anyone in/near their prime better than say, Andy Delmore, going over there to be a star.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jobo
Surely 30 NHL owners won't be happy with empty arenas and competing leagues in their own backyard. Not to mention that the NHL would probably have to pay goodwill premiums to lure players full of spite.
Certainly they could get some NHLers. But which ones? They were only going to give $5 million a year. Right now, yeah you could get some big names. But if the NHL was playing, no way in hell you'd get guys that make about that much playing there. You'd get has beens and never weres. You want to watch a league with marquee players along the lines of Felix Potvin and Jiri Slegr?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jobu
In the end, money talks, and basic economic theory and practice tells and shows us that with more viable professional leagues, it's the players, in this case, who gain the most.
Yup, it does, but the WHA when we last heard it's faint pulse didn't have the money to talk with the big boys.

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02-07-2005, 02:18 PM
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Love
I can't say for sure. The way the first re-incarnation of the WHA sounded, it didn't sound like they would offer much of a fight, with the way they had their salary structure I couldn't see anyone in/near their prime better than say, Andy Delmore, going over there to be a star.

Certainly they could get some NHLers. But which ones? They were only going to give $5 million a year. Right now, yeah you could get some big names. But if the NHL was playing, no way in hell you'd get guys that make about that much playing there. You'd get has beens and never weres. You want to watch a league with marquee players along the lines of Felix Potvin and Jiri Slegr?

Yup, it does, but the WHA when we last heard it's faint pulse didn't have the money to talk with the big boys.
My presumption is clearly that the WHA could actually get off the ground. Given a year to establish itself, I'm not so sure it would be such a non-factor.

After all, if you have Brett Hull, JR, Sidney Crosby, etc. headlining any league it's going to be given a long look. The CBC and others are hurting for TV deals. And if all of that happens, who's to say that the WHA won't up its minimums, make for greater cap exceptions, etc. Of course, the NHL would have to respond.

Certainly in the 1970s the NHL was unprepared for its impact, and so to write off a potentially viable rival again is dangerous.

At any rate, by no means am I suggesting that the WHA will succeed or threaten the NHL, but it's certainly not a complete nonfactor - especially if it ever does get off the ground.

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02-07-2005, 02:23 PM
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jobu
My presumption is clearly that the WHA could actually get off the ground. Given a year to establish itself, I'm not so sure it would be such a non-factor.
I disagree. The AFL needed years to get a TV contract. The XFL failed miserably, and football is a much, much more popular sport.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jobu
After all, if you have Brett Hull, JR, Sidney Crosby, etc. headlining any league it's going to be given a long look. The CBC and others are hurting for TV deals. And if all of that happens, who's to say that the WHA won't up its minimums, make for greater cap exceptions, etc. Of course, the NHL would have to respond.
Crosby said he wasn't going to go there. Hull and JR might just be talk, not so much Hull considering his dad is/was commish.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jobu
Certainly in the 1970s the NHL was unprepared for its impact, and so to write off a potentially viable rival again is dangerous.

At any rate, by no means am I suggesting that the WHA will succeed or threaten the NHL, but it's certainly not a complete nonfactor - especially if it ever does get off the ground.
I don't think it's much of a factor in the short term. And because of that, I don't think it would stay around long term.

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02-07-2005, 02:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Love
I disagree. The AFL needed years to get a TV contract. The XFL failed miserably, and football is a much, much more popular sport.
The fact that the NFL was around probably didn't help much. Apples and oranges, completely. We're talking about a league that could conceivably have some of the world's best players to itself.

Quote:
Crosby said he wasn't going to go there. Hull and JR might just be talk, not so much Hull considering his dad is/was commish.
We'll see what Crosby says when someone offers him a $5m cheque and everyone else from the PA is playing in the WHA.

And even if he doesn't go, you'll have a hard time convincing me that a great many of at least North American hockey players who are in Europe currently or who simply aren't playing wouldn't strongly consider it. Bertuzzi, Morrison, Brodeur, etc. -- why wouldn't they?

Quote:
I don't think it's much of a factor in the short term. And because of that, I don't think it would stay around long term.
And my initial and subsequent posts presupposes the opposite. IF the WHA were to be a factor in the short-term -- and without the NHL and with solid backing, both question marks at this point, admittedly -- there is no reason it can't.

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02-07-2005, 02:36 PM
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Hockey players want to play in the NHL, their dreams is to win the Stanley Cup not the Avco Cup or whatever the WHA cup is called. Do you really think that if Crosby as to decide between the NHL or the WHA he will choose the WHA. I don't think so Tim!!!!

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02-07-2005, 02:37 PM
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Itís not just the WHA that could provide competition for the new NHL. There are two main reasons why the old NHL concentrated the best players in the world into a single league:

1) Money
2) Competition

The new NHL will have less drawing power in both categories. No league can compete with the NHLís ability to pay 700 players, but who really cares in which league the 523rd best player in the world competes?

The danger for the new NHL is that they might lose a fair percentage of the best players in the world. The NHL/IIHF agreement expired last year, and the Russians donít seem very interested in a new agreement. Will the NHL be able to lure potential superstars like Ovechkin and Malkin with 4-year entry-level contracts capped at $850K per year? Itís easy to believe that the RSL can compete with that type of money. And if Ovechkin and Malkin decide to play in the RSL, many of the other young Russian players may follow suit.

The NHL seems focused on the crazy contracts paid to players like Forsberg, Lindstrom and Sundin. The NHL seems to believe that once cost certainty has been implemented; the next batch of Swedish superstars will automatically cross the ocean. That might not happen.

I wonder where Sidney Crosby will play next year? There is no money in the Q, and all the best players will be playing in Europe. Europe will have two real advantages for Crosby:

1) Money
2) Competition

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02-07-2005, 02:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OTTSENS
Hockey players want to play in the NHL, their dreams is to win the Stanley Cup not the Avco Cup or whatever the WHA cup is called. Do you really think that if Crosby as to decide between the NHL or the WHA he will choose the WHA. I don't think so Tim!!!!
I think Crosby will choose the WHA over nothing. Or he may choose Europe over nothing (or the WHA). The point is, he'll have a choice.

And I think you overestimate the allure of the Stanely Cup. Is it a factor? Sure. But is it a factor for everyone? No. And does the chance to win a Stanley Cup outweigh hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost income annually? Probably not. It didn't in the 1970s, so why is it all of a suddent different now? In fact, it's probably less likely what with the globalization and commercialization of the sport.

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02-07-2005, 02:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrozenPond
Itís not just the WHA that could provide competition for the new NHL. There are two main reasons why the old NHL concentrated the best players in the world into a single league:

1) Money
2) Competition

The new NHL will have less drawing power in both categories. No league can compete with the NHLís ability to pay 700 players, but who really cares in which league the 523rd best player in the world competes?

The danger for the new NHL is that they might lose a fair percentage of the best players in the world. The NHL/IIHF agreement expired last year, and the Russians donít seem very interested in a new agreement. Will the NHL be able to lure potential superstars like Ovechkin and Malkin with 4-year entry-level contracts capped at $850K per year? Itís easy to believe that the RSL can compete with that type of money. And if Ovechkin and Malkin decide to play in the RSL, many of the other young Russian players may follow suit.

The NHL seems focused on the crazy contracts paid to players like Forsberg, Lindstrom and Sundin. The NHL seems to believe that once cost certainty has been implemented; the next batch of Swedish superstars will automatically cross the ocean. That might not happen.

I wonder where Sidney Crosby will play next year? There is no money in the Q, and all the best players will be playing in Europe. Europe will have two real advantages for Crosby:

1) Money
2) Competition

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02-07-2005, 02:40 PM
  #20
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Hey Jobu,

Just as soon as the WHA becomes a VIABLE league, you be sure to come back and let us know. In the meantime, spare us your wet dream scenarios.

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02-07-2005, 02:44 PM
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thunderstruck
Hey Jobu,

Just as soon as the WHA becomes a VIABLE league, you be sure to come back and let us know. In the meantime, spare us your wet dream scenarios.
Oh, I'm glad you're still around. Your ignorant post and swift retreat from the thread located at http://www.hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=128052 made me think you had left for good.

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02-07-2005, 02:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrozenPond

The danger for the new NHL is that they might lose a fair percentage of the best players in the world. The NHL/IIHF agreement expired last year, and the Russians donít seem very interested in a new agreement. Will the NHL be able to lure potential superstars like Ovechkin and Malkin with 4-year entry-level contracts capped at $850K per year? Itís easy to believe that the RSL can compete with that type of money. And if Ovechkin and Malkin decide to play in the RSL, many of the other young Russian players may follow suit.
The Russian league can't support those kinds of salaries on a league wide basis. They play a 60 game schedule in smaller arenas with an average ticket price of $10. A few rich owners can pay some starts but there aren't going to be a ton of jobs like that over there.

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02-07-2005, 02:46 PM
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neelynugs
where was it that mccabe was playing- sweden? is there a cap there?

ps- i think the WHA would be a total sham, and cannot see it starting up unless the most dire situation imaginable surfaces with the NHL
It seems a lot of people are starting to think the NHL is nothing more than a sham. It won't be long before the NHL will become just another Pro Hockey league. The only reason, and I say only reason the NHL has been the top league in the world is because of the salary structure. Take that away, players will play where the bucks are. Ovechkin and even Crosby might set the tone, as the proposed NHL CBA calls for salary caps for rookies for the 1st 4 years, so good by Ovechkin, plays in Russia until he gets his money to come to N. America. Maybe the WHA offers a million a year and the NHL is capped at $850,000, where does he play?

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02-07-2005, 02:47 PM
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jobu
The fact that the NFL was around probably didn't help much. Apples and oranges, completely. We're talking about a league that could conceivably have some of the world's best players to itself.
Except that the AFL and XFL weren't played during the NFL season.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jobu
We'll see what Crosby says when someone offers him a $5m cheque and everyone else from the PA is playing in the WHA.
IIRC he already said he wouldn't play, which is why I said that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jobu
And even if he doesn't go, you'll have a hard time convincing me that a great many of at least North American hockey players who are in Europe currently or who simply aren't playing wouldn't strongly consider it. Bertuzzi, Morrison, Brodeur, etc. -- why wouldn't they?
As I said, right now you'd get a bunch of name players playing for various reasons. But not when the NHL is back.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jobu
And my initial and subsequent posts presupposes the opposite. IF the WHA were to be a factor in the short-term -- and without the NHL and with solid backing, both question marks at this point, admittedly -- there is no reason it can't.
I don't disagree about the ifs. I just have serious doubts the if will ever come close to fruition. I'll worry about/pay attention to the WHA when it actually starts.

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02-07-2005, 02:51 PM
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Love
Except that the AFL and XFL weren't played during the NFL season.
Who cares? Would you watch AHLers play in the summer while the NHL season was going on? Of course not.

Quote:
As I said, right now you'd get a bunch of name players playing for various reasons. But not when the NHL is back.
How do you know?

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