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Will there be life w/o Hockey?


AdamH
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It sucks the big one. I'm a big fan and I can't believe there's no compromise on the table... The two sides are fighting over money, money that the fans give them, money that they won't get if they keep fighting for that money... It's a loop of craziness...

And I love how the owners want a salary cap but refuse to cap ticket prices... The market rate for a hockey player is ridiculous... I hope both sides learn their lesson if there is a strike. I'm just glad I love in Ottawa where i can still scam $16 student tickets to games =)

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You know, I always forget how great junior A hockey is until I go see a game. Especially the OHL, the hitting and intensity in those games in fantastic. (sidebar - now I get to see Q league games, classic 8-7 defensive battles, no wonder so many goalies come from this league)

The NHL will be back, but in the meantime support your locals.

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shootouts are bullshit, imo. play will be so lame in the regular periods, you'll get teams playing for a shootout like soccer and olympic hockey...

3 on 3 would get pretty slow with the energy of the players getting zapped pretty fast... but yeah they really do need no-touch icing

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I'm down with the shootouts. who cares its not like its the NHL where games mean anything, i'm looking at this as the XFL of hockey.

What? Aren't we talking about the NHL? ::

Didn't you say you'd like to see those rules implemented in the NHL or something?

guh

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The World Hockey Association was created in 1972 when Dennis Murphy and Gary Davidson founded the league that would change professional hockey forever.

Stodgy NHL executives, smoking cigars and drinking scotch, sat in their offices and snickered at what they considered the folly of this new league. They had no fear that two literally unknown individuals from California would have any impact at all on the National Hockey League. Imagine their eventual surprise when, in many ways, the WHA revolutionized the game of professional hockey as it was being played then.

For a short while the NHL looked down upon the WHA. However, it would eventually incorporate many of the new league’s ideas into its own. One example is the return of 'overtime play'.

Obviously, the goal of the WHA was to rival the NHL, for over fifty years the NHL had enjoyed the hockey stage to itself. As such the NHL’s Commissioner at that time, Clarence Campbell, and the gents in the executive lounge were hardly worried about the WHA’s impact on the vaunted National Hockey League.

However, when the WHA gave Bobby Hull a $1 million dollar contract, luring him away from the Chicago Black Hawks, a stunned NHL suddenly took notice. Soon, the war was on. The WHA was draining the NHL’s talent pool by enticing players to jump ship luring them with larger salaries. “Mr. Hockey” himself, Gordie Howe, was lured out of retirement to play with his two sons for the Houston Aeros and later the New England Whalers.

Unorthodox methods and the WHA went together like a cold hand in a warm glove. Who could forget the WHA’s coloured pucks? The first season saw the league with a fire engine red puck. Unfortunately, or fortunately to some, the paint chipped off very quickly. The following year the WHA was using blue pucks. However, these pucks got soft halfway through the game and began to uncharacteristically bounce. Needless to say, black pucks soon returned.

But coloured pucks weren’t the end of these unorthodox efforts. The New York Golden Blades wore skates painted white with gold skate blades. Another team had jungle green sweaters with bright gold trim. In fact, most of the teams had unusual uniform colors and styles. Yet while considered gaudy by many at the time, hideously coloured and designed uniforms are now commonplace in the NHL.

The referee sweaters, with white and red stripes, looked like prison garb. It was the WHA that came up with the idea of putting electronic chips into the pucks so they would show up and streak on TV. It was an awful idea in the 70’s and, ironically, an awful idea in the 90’s when FOX and the NHL tried it out.

Unlike the NHL, the WHA had no rules or regulations on stick curvatures. The banana blade reigned supreme in the WHA and as a result so did high scoring games.

The WHA paved the way in mining European talent, something NHL clubs grudgingly started to follow. The NHL had a rule that players must be 18 to play; the WHA scrapped that and scoured the junior leagues for talent. One such player they found was Wayne Gretzky, and we all know what an incredible career he had as a professional hockey player.

The WHA brought perhaps the biggest change to hockey, ushering in free agency. Unlike the NHL where players were bound to one team forever, players in the WHA could pretty much play with whatever team offered them a contract.

Of course, lets not forget the trophy. Instead of the Stanley cup, players completed for the Avco Cup, so named because Avco Financial floated some cash to the league to help get things going. Youngsters from Vancouver to Halifax now dreamed of someday holding Lord Avco’s Cup high above their heads.

The WHA got rid of the roughing rule and also made another key change. Unlike in the NHL, where being third-man-in-a-fight would be a misconduct, in the WHA it was simply two minutes in the ‘sin bin’. Obviously the WHA was a league that embraced fisticuffs and a rough manner. Some teams took advantage more than others. As an example, the Minnesota franchise wasn’t called the “Fighting Saints” for nothing. The Saints had the now-famous Hanson Brothers and the two Carlson brothers who could hardly skate from one end of the ice to the other. But they knew how to drop their gloves. Fans loved the Saints groovy sweaters and bruising style.

On one occasion, the Saints had 19,000 fans in their building, while across town, only 6000 showed up to watch the North Stars host the defending Stanley Cup Champion Montréal Canadiens. A lesson that, even today, the NHL should take note of.

It’s no coincidence that with the decrease in rough play there has been a recognizable decrease in viewer ratings.

The WHA began life seeking to capitalize on an unfed demand for pro hockey. The league placed many teams in markets the NHL never dreamed of. However this aggressive expansion ultimately led to the leagues demise, as many teams in lower populated city centers simply couldn’t maintain the financial support a professional sports team. On the other hand, the WHA gave franchises to cities that the NHL considered second tier, such as Edmonton, Winnipeg and Québec. Years later following the closure of the WHA league it must be mentioned that the NHL had set up shop in some of the same markets originally opened by WHA. These teams are still valuable participants in that league.

When the WHA first started in October 1972, it was a weaker game. By the end of the seven year existence the WHA had drawn even with the NHL in skill level. Many people considered the WHA’S Winnipeg Jets on par with the best teams the NHL had to offer.

In fact, when teams from the two leagues played exhibition games against each other, from 1974 to 1978, the WHA teams won 33, lost 27 and tied seven.

the only rule change i want to see in the NHL is no touch icing. the rest of the WHA rules are changes the NHL want to consider to draw a larger fan base who think hockey is boring.

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