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Top WHA players?

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Old
11-30-2007, 12:49 AM
  #1
Sens Rule
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Top WHA players?

I am wondering who were the best player's in the History of the 7 years of the WHA?

That is not considering at all what the player's did in the NHL or anywhere else.

So the longer the WHA career and the higher the WHA peak the higher the rank. I'd like to rank some of the best goalies and defencemen as well as forwards.

I thought of this idea thinking about Mark Howe and his HHOF chances. How high would Mark Howe rate among the best WHA players ever? Was Bobby Hull the best WHA player ever or was someone else? Andre Lacroix put up some serious WHA numbers.... but is largely forgotten today. Nilsson and Hedberg were awesome in only 4 year with the Golden Jet in Winnipeg. Can 4 years in the league put them right at the top of the list or does 5 or 6 or 7 years mean more? What about Gordie Howe? How high is he? Top 5? Top 10? Top 20? He only outscored Mark by 2 points.

Anyway here is a list from hockeydb.com of the top point getters in WHA history....

http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/records/minor_record.php3

1 Andre Lacroix (1972-1979) 798
2 Marc Tardif (1973-1979) 666
3 Bobby Hull (1972-1979) 638
4 Real Cloutier (1974-1979) 566
4 Serge Bernier (1973-1979) 566
6 Robbie Ftorek (1974-1979) 523
7 Gordie Howe (1973-1979) 508
8 Chris Bordeleau (1972-1979) 504
8 Mark Howe (1973-1979) 504
10 Ulf Nilsson (1974-1978) 484
11 Anders Hedberg (1974-1978) 458
12 Larry Lund (1972-1978) 426
13 Tom Webster (1972-1978) 425
14 J.C. Tremblay (1972-1979) 424
15 Danny Lawson (1972-1977) 422
16 John McKenzie (1972-1979) 413
17 Michel Parizeau (1972-1979) 394
18 Rich Leduc (1974-1979) 390
19 Ron Ward (1972-1977) 380
20 Bryan Campbell (1972-1978) 376
21 Larry Pleau (1972-1979) 372
22 Mike Antonovich (1972-1979) 370
23 Rosaire Paiement (1972-1978) 367
23 Mike Rogers (1974-1979) 367
25 Norm Ferguson (1972-1978) 365
26 Gavin Kirk (1972-1979) 359
27 Frank Hughes (1972-1978) 353
28 Tim Sheehy (1972-1978) 351
29 Terry Ruskowski (1974-1979) 337
30 Blair MacDonald (1973-1979) 336

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Old
11-30-2007, 07:04 AM
  #2
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WHA All-stars

72-73
1st
Gerry Cheevers, G
JC Tremblay, D
Paul Shmyr, D
Andre Lacroix, C
Danny Lawson, RW
Bobby Hull, LW
2nd
Bernie Parent, G
Jim Dorey, D
Larry Hornung, D
Ron Ward, C
Tom Webster, RW
Gary Jarrett, LW
3rd
Al Smith, G
Rick Ley, D
Ted Green, D
Norm Beaudoin, C
Chris Bourdeleau, RW
Wayne Carleton, LW

73-74
1st
Don McLeod, G
Pat Stapleton, D
Paul Shmyr, D
Andre Lacroix, C
Gordie Howe, RW
Bobby Hull, LW
2nd
Gerry Cheevers, G
JC Tremblay, D
Al Hamilton, D
Mike Walton, C
Wayne Carleton, RW
Mark Howe, LW

74-75
1st
Ron Grahame, G
JC Tremblay, D
Kevin Morrison, D
Andre Lacroix, C
Gordie Howe, RW
Bobby Hull, LW
2nd
Gerry Cheevers, G
Barry Long, D
Poul Popiel, D
Serge Bernier, C
Anders Hedberg, RW
Marc Tardif, LW

75-76
1st
Joe Daley, G
Paul Shmyr, D
JC Tremblay, D
Ulf Nilsson, C
Anders Hedberg, RW
Marc Tardif, LW
2nd
Ron Grahame, G
Kevin Morrison, D
Pat Stapleton, D
Robbie Ftorek, C
Real Cloutier, RW
Bobby Hull, LW

76-77
1st
John Garrett, G
Ron Plumb, D
Darryl Maggs, D
Robbie Ftorek, C
Anders Hedberg, RW
Marc Tardif, LW
2nd
Joe Daley, G
Poul Popiel, D
Mark Howe, D
Ulf Nilsson, C
Real Cloutier, RW
Rick Dudley, LW

77-78
1st
Al Smith, G
Lars-Erik Sjoberg, D
Al Hamilton, D
Ulf Nilsson, C
Real Cloutier, RW
Marc Tardif, LW
2nd
Ernie Wakely, G
Rick Ley, D
Barry Long, D
Robbie Ftorek, C
Anders Hedberg, RW
Bobby Hull, LW

78-79
1st
Dave Dryden, G
Rick Ley, D
Rob Ramage, D
Robbie Ftorek, C
Real Cloutier, RW
Mark Howe, LW
2nd
Richard Brodeur, G
Dave Langevin, D
Paul Shmyr, D
Wayne Gretzky, C
Blair MacDonald, RW
Morris Lukowich, LW

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Old
11-30-2007, 07:59 AM
  #3
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The WHA was at its peak (did it really have a peak?) when I was a teenager and I used to see Quebec games on cable here in Maine.

Other than Mark Howe, on defense I'd have to go with JC Tremblay, Lars Eric Sjoberg, Paul Shmyr, and Rick Ley.

It's interesting that goaltender Joe Daley didn't make more all stars teams when his Winnipeg teams were always right there.

Ron Grahame, John Garrett and Richard Brodeur also have to be mentioned in goal.

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11-30-2007, 08:47 AM
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cup 2008 Sens Rule View Post
I am wondering who were the best player's in the History of the 7 years of the WHA?

That is not considering at all what the player's did in the NHL or anywhere else.

So the longer the WHA career and the higher the WHA peak the higher the rank. I'd like to rank some of the best goalies and defencemen as well as forwards.

I thought of this idea thinking about Mark Howe and his HHOF chances. How high would Mark Howe rate among the best WHA players ever? Was Bobby Hull the best WHA player ever or was someone else? Andre Lacroix put up some serious WHA numbers.... but is largely forgotten today. Nilsson and Hedberg were awesome in only 4 year with the Golden Jet in Winnipeg. Can 4 years in the league put them right at the top of the list or does 5 or 6 or 7 years mean more? What about Gordie Howe? How high is he? Top 5? Top 10? Top 20? He only outscored Mark by 2 points.

Anyway here is a list from hockeydb.com of the top point getters in WHA history....

http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/records/minor_record.php3

1 Andre Lacroix (1972-1979) 798
2 Marc Tardif (1973-1979) 666
3 Bobby Hull (1972-1979) 638
4 Real Cloutier (1974-1979) 566
4 Serge Bernier (1973-1979) 566
6 Robbie Ftorek (1974-1979) 523
7 Gordie Howe (1973-1979) 508
8 Chris Bordeleau (1972-1979) 504
8 Mark Howe (1973-1979) 504
10 Ulf Nilsson (1974-1978) 484
11 Anders Hedberg (1974-1978) 458
12 Larry Lund (1972-1978) 426
13 Tom Webster (1972-1978) 425
14 J.C. Tremblay (1972-1979) 424
15 Danny Lawson (1972-1977) 422
16 John McKenzie (1972-1979) 413
17 Michel Parizeau (1972-1979) 394
18 Rich Leduc (1974-1979) 390
19 Ron Ward (1972-1977) 380
20 Bryan Campbell (1972-1978) 376
21 Larry Pleau (1972-1979) 372
22 Mike Antonovich (1972-1979) 370
23 Rosaire Paiement (1972-1978) 367
23 Mike Rogers (1974-1979) 367
25 Norm Ferguson (1972-1978) 365
26 Gavin Kirk (1972-1979) 359
27 Frank Hughes (1972-1978) 353
28 Tim Sheehy (1972-1978) 351
29 Terry Ruskowski (1974-1979) 337
30 Blair MacDonald (1973-1979) 336
I always found it funny that Andre Lacroix was such a second liner in the NHL, but went over to the WHA and became a 50 goal, 100 assists scorer. Same with Marc Tardif
Just a testament to how low the skill level of the WHA was.

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11-30-2007, 09:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thornton_19 View Post
I always found it funny that Andre Lacroix was such a second liner in the NHL, but went over to the WHA and became a 50 goal, 100 assists scorer. Same with Marc Tardif
Just a testament to how low the skill level of the WHA was.
He still outplayed Bobby Hull.

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11-30-2007, 09:26 AM
  #6
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Tardif and Lacroix had very different NHL careers.

In 7 full NHL seasons, Tardif went over 20 goals six times, including three 30 goal seasons -- second line production, but not second tier.

As with expansion leagues in all sports, the WHA had depth problems, not star problems.

The NHL, and hockey in general, eventually benefited from these depth problems, mostly because the WHA took European chances that the 1970's NHL was too conservative to pursue.

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11-30-2007, 09:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thornton_19 View Post
I always found it funny that Andre Lacroix was such a second liner in the NHL, but went over to the WHA and became a 50 goal, 100 assists scorer. Same with Marc Tardif
Just a testament to how low the skill level of the WHA was.
And how do you account for Blaine Stoughton scoring more in the NHL than the WHA? I really don't think the WHA was that much weaker than the NHL. Some of the better WHA teams were better than many NHL teams and did better in the pre-season inter=League games. They also had better records than NHL teams in club matches against European teams.

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11-30-2007, 09:31 AM
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He still outplayed Bobby Hull.
And what evidence do you have on that?

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Old
11-30-2007, 09:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brianscot View Post
Tardif and Lacroix had very different NHL careers.
WHA took European chances that the 1970's NHL was too conservative to pursue.
Europeans was the reason why NHL wasn't much better than the WHA. WHA teams had winning record vs NHL teams (preseason games). Also WHA had less teams. WHA is very underrated league.

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11-30-2007, 09:47 AM
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They also had better records than NHL teams in club matches against European teams.
Do you have these NHL vs Europe results?

Here's WHA vs Europe:

September-October 1974 (first 4 games in North-America and last 7 in Europe)

WHA all-stars goals first:

Soviet Union 3-3 tie
Soviet Union 4-1 win
Soviet Union 5-8 loss
Soviet Union 5-5 tie
Finland 8-3 win
Sweden 4-3 win
Soviet Union 2-3 loss
Soviet Union 2-5 loss
Soviet Union 4-4 tie
Soviet Union 2-3 loss
Czechoslovakia 1-3 loss

WHA totals:

Games: 11
Wins: 3
Losses: 5
Ties: 3

************************************************** *******************************
September 1975 (all games in Europe)

Winnipeg Jets (Jets goals first):

HIFK (FIN) 7-5 win
Tappara (FIN) 3-3 tie
TPS (FIN) 3-4 loss
Sweden 6-2 win
Stockholm Select (SWE)* 7-3 win
Leksand (SWE) 8-2 win
Västra Frölunda (SWE) 4-3 win
Czechoslovakia 1-6 loss
Czechoslovakia 1-3 loss

Toronto Toros (Toros goals first):

HIFK (FIN) 6-2 win
Tappara (FIN) 5-5 tie
Modo (SWE) 0-6 loss
Björklöven (SWE) 3-2 win
Skellefteå (SWE) 2-5 loss
Timrå (SWE) 1-3 loss
Jämtland/Härjedalen Select (SWE) 12-0 win
Brynäs (SWE) 4-7 loss
Hammarby (SWE) 5-2 win

WHA totals:

games: 18
Wins: 9
Losses: 7
Ties: 2

* = The Stockholm Select consisted of players from AIK, Djurgården and Södertälje.

************************************************** *************

September 1976 (all games in Europe)

Phoenix Roadrunners (Roadrunners goals first):

Jokerit (FIN) 8-3 win
TPS (FIN) 2-4 loss
Finland All Stars 2-2 tie
HIFK (FIN) 4-1 win
Tampere All Stars (FIN) 5-5 tie
Kiekko Reipas (FIN) 6-5 win
Ässät (FIN) 5-5 tie
Kärpät (FIN) 7-3 win

December 1976 (all games in Moscow Izvestia tournament)

Winnipeg Jets (Jets goals first):

Czechoslovakia 2-3 loss
Sweden 4-4 tie
Soviet Union 4-6 loss
Finland 2-1 win

December 1976 Poldi Kladno (CZE) vs. WHA teams (all games in North-America)

WHA teams goals first:

Winnipeg 6-5 win
Edmonton 6-4 win
Calgary 4-5 loss
New England 1-4 loss
Minnesota 3-2 win

December 1976-January 1977 Soviet Union vs. WHA teams (all games in North-America)

WHA teams goals first:

New England 5-2 win
Cincinnati 5-7 loss
Houston 1-10 loss
Indianapolis 2-5 loss
San Diego 3-6 loss
Edmonton 2-3 loss
Winnipeg 2-3 loss
Quebec 6-1 win

WHA Totals:

Games: 25
Wins: 10
Losses: 11
Ties: 4

************************************************** *************

September 1977 (all games in Europe)

Winnipeg Jets (Jets goals first):

Skellefteå (SWE) 7-2 win
Modo (SWE) 6-2 win
Timrå (SWE) 4-1 win
Örebro (SWE) 9-2 win
Västra Frölunda (SWE) 6-3 win
HIFK (FIN) 6-6 tie
Leksand (SWE) 2-3 loss
Södertälje (SWE) 2-5 loss
AIK (SWE) 5-7 loss

Cincinnati Stingers (Stingers goals first):

Soviet Union 4-11 loss
Czechoslovakia 2-8 loss
Soviet Union 2-5 loss
Czechoslovakia 3-12 loss
TPS (FIN) 1-6 loss
Ässät (FIN) 2-8 loss
Finland 8-4 win

December 1977 Quebec Nordiques (all games in Moscow Izvestia tournamenat)

Nordiques goals first:

Soviet Union 3-5 loss
Sweden 2-6 loss
Finland 6-6 tie
Czechoslovakia 2-6 loss

Czechoslovakia B (2nd best national team) vs. WHA teams (all games in North-America)

WHA teams goals first:

Indianapolis 3-5 loss
Quebec 8-4 win
Winnipeg 5-1 win
Edmonton 6-1 win
New England 5-3 win
Houston 3-2 win
Cincinnati 5-5 tie
Birmingham 5-0 win

Soviet Union all-stars B vs. WHA teams (all games in North-America)

WHA teams goals first:

New England 7-2 win
Indianapolis 3-4 loss
Winnipeg 6-4 win
Edmonton 5-2 win
Birmingham 6-1 win
Quebec 3-3 tie
Cincinnati 4-5 loss
Houston 2-6 loss
Houston 3-7 loss
Indianapolis 2-4 loss

December 1977-January 1978 (all games in Japan)

Winnipeg Jets (Jets goals first):

Soviet Union 5-7 loss
Soviet Union 2-4 loss
Soviet Union 1-5 loss

January 1978 (all games in North-America)

Soviet Union vs. WHA teams

WHA teams goals first:

Edmonton 2-7 loss
Winnipeg 5-3 win
Quebec 3-6 loss
New England 4-7 loss
Indianapolis 3-8 loss
Cincinnati 2-9 loss

March 1978

Sweden vs. WHA teams (all games in North-America)

WHA teams goals first:

Indianapolis 6-3 win
Houston 8-3 win
New England 6-0 win
Cincinnati 4-5 loss
Birmingham 7-4 win

March 1978

Finland vs. WHA teams (all games in North-America)

WHA teams goals first:

Birmingham 2-3 loss
New England 7-3 win

WHA totals:

Games: 54
Wins: 22
Losses: 28
Ties: 4

************************************************** *************

September 1978 (all games in Europe)

Edmonton Oilers (Oilers goals first):

Örebro (SWE) 3-3 tie
HV-71 (SWE) 4-4 tie
Sweden B (2nd best national team) 6-5 win
Sweden B 4-8 loss
TPS (FIN) 5-4 win
HIFK (FIN) 5-2 win

December 1978 (all games in North-America)

Soviet Union all-stars B vs. WHA teams

WHA teams goals first:

New England 4-7 loss
Birmingham 2-2 tie
Winnipeg 3-4 loss
Edmonton 5-3 win
Quebec 3-6 loss
Cincinnati 3-5 loss

December 1978 (all games in North-America)

Sweden vs. WHA teams

WHA teams goals first:

Winnipeg 4-3 win
Quebec 7-3 win
Edmonton 11-2 win

December 1978-January 1979 (all games in North-America)

Dynamo Moscow B vs. WHA teams

WHA teams goals first:

New England 4-1 win
Edmonton 1-4 loss
Winnipeg 6-4 win
WHA All Stars 4-2 win
WHA all-stars 4-2 win
WHA All Stars 4-3 win

December 1978-January 1979 (all games in North-America)

Czechoslovakia B (2nd best national team) vs. WHA teams

WHA teams goals first:

New England 10-4 win
Edmonton 5-1 win
Winnipeg 3-3 tie
Birmingham 10-2 win

March 1979 (all games in North-America)

Finland B (2nd best national team) vs. WHA teams

WHA teams goals first:

Quebec 2-4 loss
Winnipeg 4-3 win
Edmonton 8-4 win
+ 2 games WHA teams lost both

WHA totals:

Games: 30
Wins: 17
Losses: 9
Ties: 4

************************************************** *************

WHA totals 1974-1979:

Games: 138
Wins: 61
Losses: 60
Ties: 17

http://www.chidlovski.com/personal/1974/game00.htm
http://web.telia.com/~u66005454/modofile.htm

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Old
11-30-2007, 09:53 AM
  #11
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It's interesting that goaltender Joe Daley didn't make more all stars teams when his Winnipeg teams were always right there.
That surprised me quite a bit, too. The opinion in Winnipeg, at least, is that Daley was the best WHA goalie of all. He was the only goalie to play in all 7 seasons of the WHA, and won 3 Avco Cups.

I know he split time with Ernie Wakely in the first two seasons, but it looks like that happened again with Markus Mattsson in the last two seasons also. Looks like his best year was 75/76 - 1st team All-Star and an Avco Cup.

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11-30-2007, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Euro GM View Post
WHA teams had winning record vs NHL teams (preseason games).
Which league is likely to take preseason inter-league competition more seriously?

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11-30-2007, 10:36 AM
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Which league is likely to take preseason inter-league competition more seriously?
I would think both leagues would take it seriously for bragging rights if nothing else.

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11-30-2007, 10:45 AM
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Which league is likely to take preseason inter-league competition more seriously?
That's why I wrote: NHL wasn't much better than the WHA

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11-30-2007, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by pappyline View Post
I would think both leagues would take it seriously for bragging rights if nothing else.
I know that with the NFL/AFL, the AFL teams always went into it "wanting to prove something", while the NFL teams usually used it as a glorified scrimmage.

I don't have any quotes from the NHL/WHA matches, so I won't say anything definitively, but my guess is that while it varied from team to team, the WHA wanted to show that they were competitive with the NHL.

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11-30-2007, 11:12 AM
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That surprised me quite a bit, too. The opinion in Winnipeg, at least, is that Daley was the best WHA goalie of all. He was the only goalie to play in all 7 seasons of the WHA, and won 3 Avco Cups.

I know he split time with Ernie Wakely in the first two seasons, but it looks like that happened again with Markus Mattsson in the last two seasons also. Looks like his best year was 75/76 - 1st team All-Star and an Avco Cup.
Gary Bromley was in the later mix then too.

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11-30-2007, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by pappyline View Post
And how do you account for Blaine Stoughton scoring more in the NHL than the WHA? I really don't think the WHA was that much weaker than the NHL. Some of the better WHA teams were better than many NHL teams and did better in the pre-season inter=League games. They also had better records than NHL teams in club matches against European teams.
Mike Rogers is another example of a players stats improving significantly in the NHL.

Since the real world is not rotiessiere, one has to remember that a given player's role and production may change from team to team. Part of this is chemistry, some of it is depth, some of it is coaching system, some of it is iceteam.

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11-30-2007, 11:57 AM
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Sorry to go slightly OT, but whatever happened to the resurrected WHA? A couple of investors from Niagara Falls were planning to "fill the void" during the lockout, believing that the addition of a star play (a la Bobby Hull) would give it enough momentum to carry through small scare competiton when NHL play resumed. THN gave it a fair amount of publicity (maybe because league office, union and legal stories were getting boring?), but then everything just vanished without a trace. Apparently, there was no official announcement that plans wouldn't continue. Was this all because the locked players decided to play in European/Russian leagues, while the youngsters got sent down the AHL?

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11-30-2007, 01:05 PM
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Sorry to go slightly OT, but whatever happened to the resurrected WHA? A couple of investors from Niagara Falls were planning to "fill the void" during the lockout, believing that the addition of a star play (a la Bobby Hull) would give it enough momentum to carry through small scare competiton when NHL play resumed. THN gave it a fair amount of publicity (maybe because league office, union and legal stories were getting boring?), but then everything just vanished without a trace. Apparently, there was no official announcement that plans wouldn't continue. Was this all because the locked players decided to play in European/Russian leagues, while the youngsters got sent down the AHL?
http://www.officialwha.com/index.html

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11-30-2007, 03:07 PM
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Good work, CF. It looks like this current WHA is a less ambitious version than what was originally intended. Using the Jets & Whalers names & emblems apparently was supposed to authenticate the whole operation. What's the caliber of play like in this league? Is it somewhere b/t the level of junions and AHL? Still, it never hurts to have an additional talent pool.

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11-30-2007, 03:59 PM
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its also a bizarre rogue league. there are already 4 other junior leagues in BC; this one is outside of Hockey Canada, and if you play in it, you are automatically suspended from playing in most other junior leagues in Canada.

there may be good reasons for not wanting to participate in the national structure, but I suspect its largely about money, personalities and power. very little has to do with hockey on the ice.

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11-30-2007, 05:45 PM
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28 european trained players played in the WHA. Bengt-Åke Gustafsson played only in playoffs. 5 were goaltenders.

By country:

Sweden 15 players
Finland 10 players
Czechoslovakia 3 players

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11-30-2007, 10:38 PM
  #23
JWINK19
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Anders Hedberg and Real Cloutier were 70 goal scorers in the WHA. 'Nuf said.

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Old
11-30-2007, 10:50 PM
  #24
Dark Shadows
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pappyline View Post
And how do you account for Blaine Stoughton scoring more in the NHL than the WHA? I really don't think the WHA was that much weaker than the NHL. Some of the better WHA teams were better than many NHL teams and did better in the pre-season inter=League games. They also had better records than NHL teams in club matches against European teams.
So one or two players don't fit the mold or adapted to a style better?

In any case, I grew up watching both leagues. There is no way in hell anyone will convince me the WHA had anywhere near the talent of the NHL. I watched. I was there.

The WHA made several players look like Bobby Orr, but were in reality just journeymen

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11-30-2007, 11:18 PM
  #25
19Yzerman19
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Originally Posted by JWINK19 View Post
Anders Hedberg and Real Cloutier were 70 goal scorers in the WHA. 'Nuf said.
Cloutier also scored 42g/89p in 67gm and 37g/97p in 67gm in the NHL so whats your point? Fact is he had injury problems in the NHL and was never able to play a full season in the NHL.

Hedberg had a respectable 4 30+g and 1 25g season in the NHL. He did put up better numbers in the WHA and his goals per game was much better than his linemate Bobby Hull who happened to dominate in both leagues!

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