In early October of 1972 the Montreal Gazette did an extensive hockey preview, covering the NHL, the new WHA and a look at the impact of international hockey on the game. Very interesting four page read:
The team capsules for the WHA teams really underscore just how thin the talent was for the new teams and how overextended pro hockey was with 28 teams in 1972.
The Habs also come off as somewhat unprofessional or at the very least overly cheap when it comes to taking care of players and travel/accommodation. Having to take the elevators and walk through a hotel lobby in full gear only to be told they can't practice on the hotel roof rink is pretty bush league.
Great find. Bowman really emphasizes keeping in top shape. I find that interesting. I would guess that he became frustrated by the condition players showed up to camp in. Hockey and/or training wasn't 12 months a year then as it is now. And of course there wasn't the advanced knowledge of fitness and nutrition. But still, you have to be in tip top shape to play a professional sport. Right Dustin?
Thanks for the find - particularly love the comment about Bob Perreault (that his age was the only thing in common with Plante and Worsley). Perreault ended up playing one game for the Sharks that year.
Bowman's plans for Ken Dryden were also interesting, given that the latter ended up holding out the entire year.
(EDIT: thanks C1958, of course it was 1973-74 with the holdout, not 1972-73)
I'm surprised the Gazette was so magnanimous towards the WHA. For a town that hosted the NHL headquarters and its premier team the Gazette was pretty bold to say "watch for this league".
There were plenty of players who jumped to the new league but returned to the NHL. Much of it was legal matters decided in courts. Bill Flett, for instance, left the Flyers to join the New York-WHA team but then returned when there was a failure on the WHA's team's part to meet what was in his contract. Flett was originally left unprotected by the Flyers when it came time for the Atlanta Flames and Islanders to participate in the NHL's Expansion Draft.
I'm not sure when the article was written (date of newspaper can be misleading) but the comment under the Philadelphia Blazers-WHA mentions Barry Ashbee, someone who never played in the League but who was part of a group that used the WHA as leverage.
Another interesting court decision at the time involved Johnny McKenzie. And of course Derek Sanderson's massive contract, the Bobby Hull situation, etc.