Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Just get it done

Embarrassing. What else do you call a major professional league getting undercut by a rogue outfit, out of business for 25 years?   
In a gaunt attempt for publicity Saturday, the World Hockey Association, defunct since it went bankrupt in 1979, delivered a hard slash to the NHL’s credibility by conducting a free agent draft in which all professional hockey players, including those already under NHL contracts, were up for grabs. The Boston Bruins’ Joe Thornton and former Ranger Eric Lindros were among the lucky chaps selected in the first round. The WHA’s hope is that the current NHL labor impasse will drag on and eliminate the upcoming NHL season, clearing the way for the WHA to sign some of hockey’s biggest stars.
But even with a few big names under contract, it’s hard to believe that a league that boasts a homeless team named the "founders franchise" would do much long-term harm to hockey's aristocracy. The boys at the NHL possess too much international credibility and the fierce loyalty of millions of hockey-mad Canadians to be seriously affected.
For the NHL, the biggest problem is already rising to the surface: Intense criticism from fans and pundits alike has slammed the league for an increasing lack of credibility as one of the four major American sports. In addition to being in serious danger of entering the 2004-05 season without a network television contract, the league faces the erosion of a loyal fan base exhausted after years of unsuccessful rule tinkering meant to increase scoring. As the league spins towards a seemingly inevitable work stoppage, "Are you out of your minds?" seems like the only real question left to ask.
Players and owners need to take a look at the pro sports landscape, recognize that their long-term success (and survival) is contingent upon the lucrative American market, and stop gnawing at the hand that feeds them.
Get a deal done, NHL, or risk slipping even further from the consciousness of the average American sports fan.
Read about the WHA draft


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    They just released IPO'S for Hockey this week, so there are alot of good deals there.

    Keep up the good work on your blog!

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