• Follow us

Travel

HORNBY: Scrappy WHA earned spot in pro hockey history

John Garrett laughs about his World Hockey Association pension cheques that still trickle in.

“My beer money,” the 67-year-old former goaltender quips.

But oh, the memories whenever he sips a pint and thinks of those days when the upstarts submarine’d the National Hockey League and had so much fun at it.

And how 40 years ago this spring, peace was finally declared with a merger of 17 NHL clubs and the four WHA survivors — the Edmonton Oilers, Winnipeg Jets, Quebec Nordiques and Garrett’s last team, the New England/Hartford Whalers.

When the Jets skated off home ice celebrating their Avco Cup win on May 20, 1979 — a 7-3 series clincher over the Oilers — the WHA passed into history.

“The WHA wanted in the NHL so badly,” said Garrett, who played for three WHA teams in four cities and made the transition in 1979 with the Whalers.

“Though it kind of made people mad they only got to protect one goalie and two players. The WHA had just brought in the young kids (drafting 18-year-olds, in part to force the NHL’s hand on a merger) such as Rick Vaive and Michel Goulet. Imagine today how much drooling there would be if you could start teams with choices like those.”

WHA Birmingham Bulls goalie John Garrett trading card

But the peace terms were not generous.

“No one thought we could compete under such restrictive conditions in the NHL,” Garrett said.

“Yet we made the playoffs our first year in Hartford and in five years, the Oilers were vying with the New York Islanders as a dynasty.”

Garrett, now a Vancouver Canucks broadcaster, credits the WHA with inspiring a window of creativity in the 1980s before the dead puck era of trap hockey took hold.

“Glen Sather modelled the Oilers after the WHA Jets. We used to call it the ‘Winnipeg Weave,’ five guys circling the puck at centre ice looking for an opening. There was no dump-and-chase for them. They could get past those slow defencemen with their four-inch diameter lumber who were chopping away at them.”

The WHA was initially a minor irritant to the NHL in its 1971 inception.

“We felt their weakness was their arrogance and selfishness,” WHA co-founder Dennis Murphy told author Ed Willes in the 2004 retrospective, The Rebel League.

“The NHL thought they had it made and if they ignored us, we’d go away. They could have knocked us out of the box before we even started.”

There were some unusual deals and strange bedfellows in launching the WHA’s first season as they scrambled to find suitable rinks and financiers for 12 proposed franchises.

But 67 NHLers jumped to the new circuit its first year when the average NHL salary was about $25,000.

The biggest ruckus was created when Bobby Hull took the Jets’ $1 million dollar offer to bolt from the frugal Blackhawks, which cost Hull his place on Team Canada ‘72.

Toronto’s irascible owner Harold Ballard soon made it his stated goal to sink the WHA.

When NHL president Clarence Campbell assured him the new league would flop, Ballard bashed it at every turn, overcharged the Toronto Toros to use Maple Leaf Gardens and refused to match salaries when the WHA tried to lure some of his best players.

But as a result, Leafs such as Dave Keon, Norm Ullman and Paul Henderson and a number of youngsters slipped away.

Henderson and Frank Mahovlich wound up with the Toros.

Even when the NHL’s own struggles in weak markets spurred merger talks in the late ’70s, Ballard always rallied at least four other hawkish owners to deny the three-quarters majority needed for approval at the board of governors level.

The die-hards included Montreal, Boston, Vancouver and Los Angeles.

When a merger for 1977-78 and again in ‘78-79 was blocked, the WHA hit back by plucking teen talent before the NHL could draft them at age 20.

The WHA also played its Canadian content card, forcing debate all the way to Parliament Hill where many MPs demanded the NHL accept new teams in the north.

The eventual breakthrough came down to suds and skullduggery.

1974-1975 World Hockey Association (WHA) Houston Aeros, Gordie, Mark and Marty Howe trading card

Supporters for a team in Winnipeg urged a public boycott of NHL sponsor Molson’s products, which took root across the country.

And on the day after a key merger vote failed at a board meeting in Key Largo, Fla., Washington governor Peter O’Malley organized a secret gathering aboard Chicago owner Bill Wirtz’s yacht.

O’Malley isolated Canucks’ Frank Griffiths in a room with a few key pro-merger governors and Griffiths eventually changed his vote for concessions such as Toronto and Montreal continuing regular stops in his rink.

Today, the WHA mostly lives on in trivia questions. Only the Oilers remained in their original city.

Despite five Cups, they needed league help to survive at one stage.

During the mid-’90s, Winnipeg pulled up stakes but became the perennially impoverished Phoenix Coyotes.

Quebec moved to Colorado (winning a Cup its first year there,) while Hartford shifted to Carolina and also won in ‘06.

Mark Messier retired in 2004 — the last active WHAer.

“You still see WHA people in your travels; scouts, coaches, general managers and a few referees,” Garrett said.

“It’s funny when you a few of their sons also made it to the NHL.”

MAKING THE SQUAD: A brief history of WHA teams

We pause to mourn the New York Raiders, San Diego Mariners, Toronto Toros, Cleveland Crusaders, Minnesota Fighting Saints and Ottawa Civics.

And don’t forget the Miami Screaming Eagles and Dayton Arrows, though they never played a game in their intended home bases.

The Eagles became the Philadelphia Blazers and Dayton into the Houston Aeros.

Philly morphed into the Vancouver Blazers and later the Calgary Cowboys.

World Hockey Association (WHA) team logos

By now you’ve figured the list of teams in the WHA obit is a long walk through a cross-continental graveyard, but one with a legacy of colourful team names and coveted collector hockey sweaters.

From the WHA’s birth as a 12-team operation in 1971, there were seven name changes or city swaps by the spring of ‘74 alone.

Expansion to markets such as Indianapolis and Phoenix was eventually undermined by seven collapsed franchises amid other name changes and shifts to new locales.

Birmingham, Cincinnati and Indianapolis were still around in the final season, but not included in the ‘79 NHL merger.

lhornby@postmedia.com

Read More



Leave A Comment

More News

Top Travel stories

Short-handed TFC outclassed by FC Dallas 2019-06-22 23:25:46FRISCO, Texas — The Reds seemed to totally melt down on a very hot night in northern Texas on Saturday, one of their worst performances of the s

Ticats take Argos to the woodshed in Toronto’s 2019-06-22 23:14:09A new season, a renewed sense of optimism and yet it was the same old deplorable Argonauts on Saturday afternoon at BMO Field. Nothing for the Argos w

Donato, June 23 2019-06-22 22:54:52Andy Donato

Marner posts heartfelt message after Leafs trade Marleau 2019-06-22 22:49:12VANCOUVER — Mitch Marner, like Auston Matthews, is going to miss Patrick Marleau. On Instagram on Saturday night, Marner posted a photo of himse

Leafs pick Robertson has been beating the odds 2019-06-22 22:45:04VANCOUVER — If Nick Robertson was asked during interviews with National Hockey League clubs in the weeks leading up to the draft about the bigge

Wolfpack fends off Toulouse 2019-06-22 22:37:13The Toronto Wolfpack now own the city’s longest pro-sports win streak. The Wolfpack defeated the Toulouse Olympique 28-16 to register its 12th c

WARMINGTON: Ford Fest a much-needed love fest for 2019-06-22 22:36:20MARKHAM — Yes, for those keeping score there were some boos at Ford Fest Saturday evening. But this time they were not for Premier Doug Ford &md

Rally caps work as Blue Jays blow past 2019-06-22 22:31:13BOSTON — Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo set the bar low for a Fenway Park matinee on Saturday and then watched his young kids show him a thin

KINSELLA: Federal leaders silent as Quebec bans wearing 2019-06-22 22:07:15Silence. That’s all that could be heard from the federal party leaders, essentially: silence, or something approaching that. The occasion: the d

Pozuelo not in the starting XI for FC 2019-06-22 22:00:35FRISCO, Texas — Sitting in the lobby of the Toronto FC team hotel just north of Dallas, midfielder Alejandro Pozuelo was asked if feels like he

LEVY: Healing centre application delayed 2019-06-18 20:54:57An application to put a controversial healing lodge in Scarborough has been delayed a month to allow community voices to be heard, Councillor Gary Cra

EISEN: Fiscal headwinds heighten need for spending reductions 2019-06-18 20:46:09Nobody said governing was easy. On fiscal policy, the Ford government has learned this lesson the hard way, as it inherited a daunting budget deficit

Canada Travel - The

Justin Trudeau Urges Canadian Muslims To Make Themselves 2019-06-22 19:14:36NORTH YORK, Ont. — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged Conservative Muslims Friday night to get involved in the next election campaign to ensure

Pride 2019: Toronto Gets Loud At Annual Dyke 2019-06-22 18:19:52Lesbians and their allies took to Toronto’s streets as part of the city’s 2019 Pride festivities. Marchers danced, chanted and held up sig

Deal Between Feds, Unions Gives Paid Time Off 2019-06-22 17:23:17OTTAWA — Several new deals reached between the federal government and one of its biggest civil-service unions that allow paid time off for victi

'Follow-Up' Podcast: Liberals Gear Up For The Election 2019-06-22 14:45:17OTTAWA — Days before the House of Commons adjourned, Government House Leader Bardish Chagger lamented in her office that the NDP didn’t ha

Peter Winterburn, Retired UBC Prof, Killed In Chile, 2019-06-22 13:33:24VALPARAISO, Chile — A retired geochemistry professor from the University of British Columbia has been killed in attempted robbery in Valparaiso,

Why The Social Media Giants Could Be In 2019-06-22 12:28:20We don’t want social media spying on us, but we also want them to stop hatred from spreading online. Activists, politicians and users are demand

Gay Suicides Are On The Rise. Epidemiologist Travis 2019-06-22 12:02:39Photos by Jackie DivesOne of the indescribable aspects of being a member of a minority group is knowing that things are better than they have ever bee

Dean French, Doug Ford's Chief Of Staff, Resigns 2019-06-21 20:02:05TORONTO — Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s chief of staff resigned Friday after a string of controversies in the government’s first year

HuffPost Canada Splash: June 21, 2019 2019-06-21 18:49:35

Brooke Lynn Hytes From ‘Drag Race’ Stardom Returns 2019-06-21 18:07:47I only have 15 minutes on the phone with Brooke Lynn Hytes, because she’s somewhere “on the backroads” between Nebraska and Kansas,

The U.S. Consulate In Toronto Has A Pride 2019-06-21 17:43:38The rainbow Pride flag cannot be flown outside U.S. government buildings, including consulates, without top-level approval.But no one said anything ab

Kid Shows Off Amazing Jingle-Dress Dance Moves At 2019-06-21 17:24:12A seven-year-old captured hearts at a two-spirit powwow in Duck Lake, Sask. in June.Alex Cameron Jr. won a contest after doing a jingle dress dance, w

Breaking Travel News

News: Hakkasan Dubai unveils allergen-focused menu range 2019-06-22 04:40:18The award-winning Cantonese restaurant, Hakkasan Dubai, is expanding its exquisite offerings with a range of new menus catered towards those with spec

Focus: Welcome to the new era of purpose 2019-06-21 05:27:52‘Purpose’ seems to be on everyone’s mind – again. Is it merely a hype and academic quibble? Or is it a real game changer in dr

News: JetBlue Airways doubles down on Airbus partnership 2019-06-21 05:17:40JetBlue Airways will add the A321XLR to its fleet of Airbus aircraft and increase its existing order for Airbus A220s. JetBlue has contracted to conve

News: Marriott to take Ritz-Carlton brand to Portland 2019-06-21 05:09:31Under the contract, the brand would manage 251 hotel rooms and 138 residential units – including eight spacious penthouses – within a near

News: Radisson Blu Royal Viking Hotel completes overhaul 2019-06-21 04:58:33Radisson Hotel Group has confirmed the completion of the Radisson Blu Royal Viking Hotel, Stockholm in Sweden, following its ambitious multi-million r

News: Norwegian launches gate-to-gate Wi-Fi across whole global 2019-06-21 04:50:57Customers travelling on any route across Norwegian’s global network will now be able to stay connected for the entire duration of the flight fro

News: Chiva-Som to reopen in Thailand in October 2019-06-21 04:43:13Chiva-Som International Health Resort will reopen on October 15th, two weeks earlier than planned. This date will mark the completion of the fourth an

News: Flynas places new A321XLR order with Airbus 2019-06-21 04:34:54Flynas has signed a memorandum of understanding with Airbus for ten A321XLR aircraft. The new plane, which was launched at the Paris Air Show this wee

News: Profits fall as Carnival cuts guidance for 2019-06-21 04:20:16Carnival Corporation has announced an adjusted net income of $457 million for the three months to the end of May 31st. The figure is a slight fall fro

News: Forte Village signs Degasperi for new triathlon 2019-06-21 04:04:41Forte Village has unveiled plans to launch a brand-new triathlon training academy, headed up by international triathlete and Ironman champion Alessand

News: Investment in Romania pays off for Dubai 2019-06-20 23:38:59The Dubai Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing has reported a steady increase in tourism volumes from Romania, welcoming 29,670 overnight vi

News: Phillips replaces Mattar as chief executive of 2019-06-20 10:05:35Raki Phillips has been announced as the new chief executive of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority. Officials at the authority argue that his

Vancouver Sun - Travel

For travellers, monastery stays offer peace and quiet, 2017-08-08 08:00:26Scores of abbeys and retreat centres across the U.S. give visitors a chance to become their best selves

In Mexico City, a child-friendly culture that adults 2017-08-04 08:00:30The affordable capital city is brimming with great kid-centric activities

For Paris’s immigration museum, terrorism spurs tourism 2017-08-03 08:00:42In strong demand, France's collection of art and artifacts illustrating the impact of new arrivals celebrates its 10th anniversary

Tragedy on Mount Harvey as five hikers found 2017-04-10 11:43:35Distraught family members of five hikers missing on Mount Harvey gathered at Lions Bay community school on Sunday, where a soccer field had been turne

Five reasons to visit Orlando that have nothing 2017-04-03 14:50:46Orlando may not be the first American city that pops to mind when visitors think of great food or hipster cocktail bars, but that’s changing fas

Five-star hiking trips around the globe, from Australia 2017-03-31 09:50:43Just because you want to get into the great outdoors doesn't mean you have to sleep there, too

Ryerson University president apologizes for student film that 2017-03-30 11:22:58The film claims to reveal "what truly lies within the city" by showing images of dilapidated houses and boarded-up buildings, while unnamed people c

Hipsters come calling: Bathrobe dining and craft breweries 2017-03-30 09:55:24The beautiful scenery and placid waters at Rathtrevor Beach and Park near Parksville have drawn generations of children and relaxed parents

Six tips to avoid getting kicked off a 2017-03-30 09:39:07'Legging-gate' has died down, but a pressing question has arisen: How easy is it to get kicked off a flight?

Ancient city of Ypres, Belgium offers window into 2017-03-29 09:59:09Pat Brennan: Today there are more Canadian flags billowing in the fields than there are Canadians strolling through its many meticulous military cemet

Easter Week dazzles as Antigua Guatemala rolls out 2017-03-29 09:55:44The rising sun hasn't lit up the cobblestone streets of this colonial city yet, but people of all ages are busy covering them with carpets made of fl

Canada is finally getting rid of those annoying 2017-03-20 06:42:46Your international travel is about to get a little bit easier. Starting Monday, you won’t need to use paper declaration forms when flying&n

TORONTO STAR | LIFE | TRAVEL

Are budget airlines really worth it? 2019-06-22 10:01:04Christian Nielsen, the chief legal officer at AirHelp, a site that helps passengers make claims against airlines, recommends travellers consider wheth

A solo quest to find the source off 2019-06-22 09:54:04In Roman times, it formed the boundary between Gaul and Germania. More recently, of course, pivotal battles of two World Wars were fought here.

At Singapore’s Changi Airport, it’s an adventure before 2019-06-22 09:13:04The result of four years of construction and $1.25 billion (U.S.) in investment, the commercial and entertainment structure aims to do what no other b

Rustic hospitality, but only for foot traffic 2019-06-22 09:05:03Accessible only by foot and connected by the Appalachian Trail, the eight huts offer rustic but comfortable hospitality.

Tradition and evolution coexist at the scenic Connecticut 2019-06-21 23:10:59The village of Stonington is a Rockwellian picture of a New England coastal town, and an idyllic respite from the summer mobs that descend upon places

A journey to Bosnia and Herzegovina, where Sleeping 2019-06-21 21:19:57Despite its war-torn buildings, Bosnia is home to scenery that fits the platonic ideal of a fairy tale, a dreamy dominion punctuated by spindly minare

Scuba diving and stand up paddleboarding in Japan’s 2019-06-21 19:48:56One of the 36 islands in the Kerama Islands archipelago, Zamami has an area of about10 square kilometres and is the perfect place for stand up paddleb

Avoid these travel ‘hacks’ for a smoother summer 2019-06-21 19:32:59Whether it’s the terms of your loyalty program or the complex tariffs governing your airline ticket, the travel industry’s rules are compl

Flying well with kids takes more than a 2019-06-21 18:40:55Travelling, especially flying, with kids is difficult, but not impossible.

This rural retreat to the forests of southern 2019-06-21 18:23:55Stedsans in the Woods offers a chance to stay in a remote uptoia among pines and old-growth oaks in the Swedish woods.

Where to find the best frozen custard in 2019-06-16 18:24:12Here’s the scoop on all the frozen treat hot spots in Cream City.

How to take better travel photos without buying 2019-06-16 18:11:16Before you spend money on a new camera, try improving the photos you take with your current camera or phone. You may be happy enough with the results


Disclaimer and Notice:WorldProNews.com is not responsible of these news or any information published on this website.