WHA/NHL Merger Questions

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by Shootmaster_44, Jan 15, 2011.

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  1. Shootmaster_44

    Shootmaster_44 Registered User

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    I am curious about a few things regarding the 1979 merger between the WHA and the NHL. First, why was Edmonton allowed to keep Gretzky? I imagine there had to have been a concession made to the existing NHL teams to do this.

    Secondly, was there anything given in perpetuity to the Cincinnati Stingers and Birmingham Bulls owners? The reason I wonder is the NBA made a blunder (from their end and a great deal from the Colonels' end) by giving the Kentucky Colonels of the ABA a share of the NBA's TV contract in perpetuity.

    Thirdly, why did the NHL refuse the Oilers Priority Selection of Bengt-Ake Gustafsson? He played two playoff games for the Oilers, so he should have been able to have been selected.

    Lastly, what happened to the WHA's on-ice officials? Were they a part of the merger? Did they simply lose their jobs? If they did, were they given any sort of compensation by either the WHA teams or the NHL?
     
  2. reckoning

    reckoning Registered User

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    Teams were allowed to protect two skaters and two goalies. Gretzky was one of the players Edmonton chose to protect.

    I've never understood why Gustafsson was awarded to Washington.

    According to book The Rebel League, Cincinnati was paid $3.5M Birmingham paid $2.85M by the other four teams to fold.
     
  3. Changeiscoming

    Changeiscoming Rebooting myself Sponsor

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    Most of the WHA off ice officials that stayed in hockey went to junior leagues. I think only a few got to the nhl

    The Gretzky the BG thing gets a little more complicated. Each team could protect X amount of players who they had under contract.

    Gretz had a personal services contract and the nhl and the oilers agreed the oilers cold protect him--but at a price and that price after a very long and complicated story--the oilers who tried to protect BG could not
     
  4. mbhhofr

    mbhhofr Registered User

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  5. Shootmaster_44

    Shootmaster_44 Registered User

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    I did read it after I posted. Still didn't answer two of my questions. Plus, I'm still entirely unclear on why the NHL allowed the Oilers to keep Gretzky. I didn't think the personal services contract was signed until after they joined the NHL?

    At any rate, it does beg the question of who would have had the Number 1 pick if the Oilers had let Gretzky go and be able to pick where they would have normally been slotted? If Gretzky had gone through the draft, I wonder if they still would have ruled him ineligible for the Calder?
     
  6. Changeiscoming

    Changeiscoming Rebooting myself Sponsor

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    personal services contract was signed with Skalbania in 78 before the trade to edmonton
     
  7. Shootmaster_44

    Shootmaster_44 Registered User

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    When was that big signing ceremony in Edmonton though where he signed the 20 year deal? I thought that was the first personal services deal for him?
     
  8. Changeiscoming

    Changeiscoming Rebooting myself Sponsor

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    that was in 79 to extend the contract and to change a few things in it

    that was all a PR stunt by Peter Puck and co
     
  9. Changeiscoming

    Changeiscoming Rebooting myself Sponsor

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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nelson_Skalbania

    Skalbania tried to revitialize the club in 1978 by signing Sault Greyhounds star Wayne Gretzky to a personal services contract. However, this ploy failed to put enough fans in the stands, and Gretzky was sold to Edmonton for $800,000.
     
  10. mbhhofr

    mbhhofr Registered User

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    I forgot Don Koharski. He was a linesman in the WHA who eventually became a referee in the NHL.
     
  11. MiamiScreamingEagles

    MiamiScreamingEagles A Fistful of Dollars

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    I'm pretty sure there was a rule in effect for European players joining the WHA and it was ultimately deemed that Edmonton signed Gustafsson after an established deadline.

    When the NHL absorbed the four WHA franchises, the Capitals and Oilers both claimed to have his rights. John Ziegler then issued a ruling saying the Capitals had property because the Oilers violated the WHA deadline as to when European players could join that League.

    I can't say for certainty the exact wording of the rule violated but this site highlights the issue:

    http://www.hockeydraftcentral.com/1978/78055.html

     
  12. reckoning

    reckoning Registered User

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    I'm not sure the personal services contract was a factor. They were allowed to protect him as one of their priority selections, and chose to. Since he hadn't been drafted yet, no NHL team had a legitimate claim on him.

    Even if he went to the draft, I believe he would've still been ineligible for the Calder. The NHL prohibited WHA players from winning the award the year before when Hedberg and Nilsson signed with the Rangers.
     
  13. King of Arcadia

    King of Arcadia Registered User

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    it would have been interesting to see how the 4 WHA teams would have fared had they been able to keep their rosters intact rather than being pillaged. I think Quebec was competitive off the bat, but the Winnipeg Jets may have suffered the most. I think there was some worry among NHL teams that maybe these newcomers might come in and win too many games!
     
  14. paulsonj72

    paulsonj72 Registered User

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    I know it's b-ball but it was actually the Spirits of St Louis who got the phenominal deal(now) of the TV money the Surviving ABA teams got. mBelieve it or not today over 30 years after that merger the owners STILL get something like 1/7 of all the tv money the 4 surviving ABA teams get.
     

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