Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Hull named commissioner of the new World Hockey Association

No, not Brett. His dad, Bobby. The WHA is planning on launching for the '04-'05 to make up for the very probable NHL lockout. Bobby is going to try to get Brett to play in the league, along with guys like Chris Chelios, Igor Larionov, Adam Oates, Steve Thomas and Phil Housley who can "still play." Remember, Bobby was involved in the old WHA when it formed in 1972. He left the 'Hawks to play for the Winnipeg Jets because of a huge contract (then), $2.75 million over 10 years. The WHA wants to bring fans back to the game, get kids involved and make it a family game and not the rich business man game it has become. Just take a look at the arenas around the league. A lot of the people at the games are only there because it is "cool" and because they have the money to pay for tickets. They don't really care about hockey. Anyway, the WHA will make a lot of changes to the game: no red line, no trapping (YES!), automatic no-touch icing, no checking from behind and there will be clear rules against obstruction and anything else that disrups the flow of the game. Some infractions will result in a penalty shot instead of two minutes in the box. Sounds pretty good to me. Too bad the talent level won't be all that great because I doubt a lot of NHL level players will switch over, even for that year. One more change the WHA wants to make is the rink size. For the franchises making new arenas, the ice surface should be 200x100 feet instead of 200x85 feet to match the international playing surfaces. Hull said "I hope I can do a better job than Mr. Bettman. My job is to suggest and ratify and use any expertise that I might have gained over the 23 years in professional hockey to make our game a better game." Well, Bobby, if the league truly does what it's saying it will do, it won't be too bad. Hopefully it will force the NHL to do much of the same. I think a little competition for the NHL is a good thing. For more info on the WHA, click here. I don't know why I didn't hear about this before. Never heard anything about it until today.


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