According to business manager Ray 'Bauschke, Winnipeg Jets need an average attendance of 7,500 to make the 1974-75 season a viable operation . That may take some doing, but it's possible, particularly if the club continues to play the pleasing"-style of hockey it did in the opening game here against Edmonton .
It's nice to learn that on Sunday night the Jets plan to make a presentation to Mrs. T. Farr prior to the opening faceoff against Michigan Stags. Mrs. Farr, in case you don't remember, is the lady who had saved for a holiday trip to Britain, but when the "Save the Jets" fund opened, decided to forego the long-awaited vacation and contribute the money to the fund instead .
Some lucky fan at the game will be awarded a trip for two to Las Vegas, compliments of Frontier Airlines . .. It's interesting to note that in the first week of the new season, attendance in the World Hockey Association showed a jump of 30,950 over the first 16 games a year ago. The total was 127,571-for,a league average of 7,973, an increase of-nearly 2,000. or 32 per cent . . . .That's a healthy sign indeed and augers well for the future .
OAKLAND (AP) — Reports circulated Thursday that California Golden Seals will be moved-out of Oakland, despite the fact the Seals have demonstrated rather convincingly they can't win National Hockey League games anywhere else.
While the Seals, who have yet to win on the road in eight games, went down 4-1 at Atlanta to the Flames Wednesday night, club officials here were denying any plans to transfer the franchise to Denver.
"There is no arrangement nor agreement with the Denver Spurs regarding the purchase of this hockey team," said a statement issued by the general partnership of executives operating the Seals.
The league purchased the club from Charles O. Finlay, owner of the Oakland A's baseball champions. Feb. 14 for a reported $6.5 million.
Ivan Mullenix, owner of the Spurs who had been granted an NHL expansion franchise for 1976-77, also denied reports in the Denver Post and Hockey News-published in Montreal that the Seals would become the Spurs in 1976.
SEATTLE (AP) - Vince Abbey, president of the Seattle Totems, said Thursday he plans to talk with Denver owner Ivan Mullenix in about three weeks to discuss a possible speedup in National Hockey League expansion plans.
Both teams, now in the Central Hockey League, have been granted NHL franchises for 1976-77, but Abbey would like to begin a year earlier, if Denver will join in the request to advance the expansion date.
If, on the silver anniversary of the World Hockey Association, It should be decided to honor the league founders, first name on the list would- have to be Winnipeg's Ben Hatskin.
It's unlikely Benny will be around 25 years from now to receive any accolades so he's not too concerned at this time whether he will be remembered or not. But there's no question whatsoever that he must rank No. 1, for had it not been for his determination, gumption and foresight, there probably would be no World Hockey Association today.
Benny was determined to sign Bobby Hull to a Winnipeg contract and when he did, at a cost of $2.5 million to himself and the WHA, it turned out to be a master stroke. Not only did Hull's presence in the league give it credence with the general public, but it also influenced other National Hockey League players to follow him. Permitting Bobby Hull to get away from them was (he biggest and costliest mistake owner Arthur Wirtz and the Chicago Black Hawks management ever made.
Every team in the NHL has paid dearly in hard, cold cash because Wirtz did not make a greater effort to retain the services of one of hockey's most famous superstars. Had he and the NHL matched, or even come close to matching the contract Hull signed with the new league, the World Hockey Association might not be in existence today and players would not be receiving the huge salaries they now demand and get.
For the first two years of their existence, the Jets. — even with Hull — weren't quite the financial success Hatskin anticipated they would be. Partly it was his own fault. He made the mistake of operating a "one man" show, with the result there were times when his right hand didn't know what the left was doing. But always, in the back of his mind, there was the idea of public ownership. A few months ago this became a reality, although Benny still has the controlling interest in the club.
Life Is More Pleasant
Since he no longer has the total say, life has become much more pleasant and serene for Hatskin. When he was running the entire show, every night the Jets performed at the Winnipeg arena you could find him in the rotunda literally counting the cash customers as they passed through the turnstiles, and swearing under his breath when the attendance was poor. He rarely sat down and watched a game through, preferring to fuss and fidget behind the goal at the "norm end ice level. There he cursed his players when they made a mistake and gave away a goal. While he lias never said so, the season of 1973-74 must have been torture for him as tile Jets did little more than go through the motions.
But it's a much different story this season. Benny attends every game, and he still "counts" the house, but he no longer becomes frustrated and upset when he finds it is not up to his expectation. He has, by the way, become expert a'j assessing the number of people in the arena and can estimate the total within a hundred or so. Now, instead of pacing up and down like a caged tiger, Benny takes a seat and calmly watches the action on the ice. The other night when the Jets defeated Minnesota he sat through the entire game, along with his personable and attractive wife. Only twice 'did he show irritation. That was when Mike Ford made a blind pass out of his own end into the centre ice area that ultimately resulted in a St. Paul goal, and when Ron Ashton also gave away a goal by sloppy play.
.. , It's Still Touch And Co
Hatskin is delighted with the way the five European imports have turned out. "I reasoned," he said, "that It's foolish to pay an untried junior a large signing bonus and salary, when top-notch Europeans were available. If they were good enough to star against the Russians, they were good enough for the Jets."
Appraising the World' Hockey Association as a whole, Hatskin says there are still some trouble spots because the arenas are not large enough. He also admits that: it is still touch and go in Winnipeg but is pleased with the support fans have given the Jets thus far this season, especially since he has such a large vested interest. "I think this is going to be an enjoyable year for me," said Ben. "I feel so good about the future I might even take a winter holiday and slip down to Palm Springs."
WINNIPEG — Former Winnipeg Jet owner Ben Hatskin denied Friday a report that the Canadian teams in the World Hockey Association plan to break away from the league. The Journal de Quebec said Friday that the five Canadian clubs planned to form their own league with a partial inter-locking schedule with the U.S.-based WHA members.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 8, 1975 Players Paid DETROIT (AP) — Tuesday was a belated payday for Michigan Stags as the World Hockey Association stepped in with cash to bail out the financially troubled team ownership. John Kanel of the WHA office in California flew in the money for the bi-weekly salary payments, which had been due on Jan. 1. The team payroll is believed to be about $12,500 every two weeks.
WHA president Dennis Murphy said Tuesday the league would try to save the Stags and is doing everything possible to try to locate more financial help in Detroit or elsewhere. Kanel said every effort would be made to keep the Stags in Detroit. He said he was almost certain that the team would finish the season.
The Stags have been plagued by small crowds. The federal government has filed a $177,870 tax lien against the team and the Stags also owe money to the city for use of Cobo Arena.
DENVER (AP) - The owner of the Central Hockey League Denver Spurs says his offer to buy the California Seals of the National Hockey League is off. "I made an offer to the league to buy the Seals," said Ike Mullenix. "But Clarence Campbell (NHL president) took no action on it, so my offer has expired."
Denver already has been awarded an expansion franchise in the NHL for the 1976-77 season. It also was one of the cities bidding to take the finally troubled Seals out of the San Francisco area. Mullenix had wanted to bring the Seals to Denver to coincide with the opening of the new sports arena this fall.
Tuesday, January 21,1975 NHL President Worried About Hockey Prices MONTREAL (UPI) – In terms of the economy, professional hockey is currently teetering at the top of a roller coaster. This was the warning issued Monday by National Hockey League President Clarence Campbell, who stated, in response to a question, that hockey may be pricing itself out of business.
"I can tell you our salaries are 250 per cent what they were in 1971-72, the year before the WHA started," Campbell said. "We'll obviously have to honor our contracts. But I'm sure as time goes one we'll not be entering into long term, big figure contracts. We just can't afford them. "You can ride out a storm by putting out more money, but it gets tiring after a time."
Talking to the press following a meeting of the NHL Board of Governors, held in conjunction with tonight's Ail- Star game, Campbell said the failing economy already has had an effect on planning for future expansion. This despite the fact that NHL teams played to better than 90 per cent of capacity last season.
While proposed expansion into Denver and Seattle is still on the calendar for 1976, increasing the number of NHL franchises to 20, Campbell said that discussion on further expansion has been tabled for the present. "I'm certain at the present time we are not visibly engaged in seeking out other places to play," he said. "The economics of operations are not the same as they were in 1967, in 1970 or in 1972 (other expansion years). One league official spoke hesitantly about the proposed additions, citing the economic problems which have hit every phase of business. "That's what we'll be finding out at the meeting," he said when asked if the league would follow through with expansion. Last week, a plan to put a franchise in Toronto was postponed by the National Basketball Association for economic reasons. "In the ordinary course of events, we might very well have been programming beyond 1976. But general economic conditions sort of inhibit that action at this time."
Campbell also said that the NHL does not plan to engage in exhibition games with WHA teams prior to next season. The rival leagues played 15 exhibitions last fall but it cost NHL teams between $500,000 and $700,000 in added salaries to their players.” Our experience in games 'played were in most cases economic disasters," Campbell explained. "They weren't successful by our standards."
Edmonton (AP)- Before the World Hockey Association all-stars cavort on the ice tonight, the league must decide what to do about the financially plagued Michigan Stags. WHA President Dennis Murphy is on record as saying’ a decision "has to be made" today. The WHA is considering offers from two groups to move the team to Baltimore. Otherwise, the Stags will be disbanded- and the players made available in a common draft.
The Michigan plight was discussed by the WHA's owners Monday'in.a five-hour meeting but details of the session were not made public. The Stags postponed three of their last four games because the Internal Revenue Service, placed an attachment against all potential proceeds. Tonight is the WHA's third annual all-star, game; The East won the two previous contests 6-2 and 8-4. A capacity crowd of 15,326 is expected at the new Edmonton Arena.
MONTREAL (AP) — Denver and Seattle, scheduled to join the National Hockey League in the 1976-77 season, may enter the league earlier through the purchase of existing franchises the NHL's president says. Clarence Campbell, NHL president, said following a Two day meeting of the league Board of Governors Tuesday night that the entry of the two cities could come about if one or both purchased existing franchises.
He said a meeting of the governors will be held in New York Feb. 1 for further investigation of the subject. "Both cities have buildings available now," Campbell said. "And I wouldn't be surprised to see Them in the league next season."
Campbell said the league could stay at 18 teams if Denver, which has already expressed an interest in purchase of the league-owned California Golden Seals, made such a move. Although the league president would not designate a club that Seattle could buy, it was learned that the Pittsburgh Penguins franchise, which already has received financial, assistance from the league, could be the club involved.
The NHL bought back the Seals franchise from owner Charles 0. Finley last season, after refusing him permission to move the team out of the San Francisco-Oakland area. "What we would like to do is keep the thing in balance," Campbell said, noting that it would be unfair for one of the newcomers to start off with an already constructed team while the other would be forced to start from scratch with players picked up in an expansion draft.
After the entry of Seattle and Denver, the NHL was set for further expansion in 1978 and 1980 to bring the total number of teams lo 24. If the two newcomers purchased existing franchises the league could stay at 18, thus bringing 'no change "for the time being." "Unless there is some drastic change, we have to be very careful about expanding under the adverse economic situation of today," Campbell added. "We have to work toward a solution of the problem as soon as possible."
Tad Potter, chief owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins, denied that his financially troubled NHL team might go to Seattle under new ownership. His denial came after NHL president Clarence Campbell said an existing franchise might go to Seattle rather than an expansion franchise in 1976. Campbell also said that the Cahfornia Seals, owned by the hockey league, might replace another expansion franchise for Denver in 1976
It's Still A Stagnant Situation By REYN DAVIS Free Press Staff Writer EDMONTON — Baltimore beckons, but Michigan Stags remain a World Hockey Association question still unsettled today Agents representing the 31 Michigan players ducked in and out of meetings all day Tuesday, worrying about their clients' futures.
Los Angeles lawyer Charlie Abrahams, who represents six Michigan players, fears the league is ready to dump, players whose contracts are not guaranteed by the league. "There will be suits galore," he warned. Baltimore realtor William Hirschfield and his Group showed a renewed interest in the Stags during the Edmonton meetings Monday and Tuesday, but no representative was here. Telephone calls were long and expensive. A tired league president, Dennis Murphy, told a 50-man press conference that the Michigan situation .would '.'hopefully" be resolved in the next few days. A day earlier, Murphy had promised a definite answer. He was wrong.
.Strangely, Murphy, himself, had something to do in making the Stags' payroll probably the highest in the league, exceeding $2 million. Prior to accepting the league presidency, Murphy was general manager of Los Angeles Sharks. Players under his command included Gary Veneruzzo, J. P. Leblanc, Tommy Serviss and Fred Speck. Meanwhile, Murphy announced that the Stags' next game, Thursday night, at home against Toronto Toros, had been "cancelled." Then Murphy corrected himself as Walt Marlow, league director of public relations, nudged him in the ribs with his elbow. "Postponed," said Marlow, loud enough for everybody to bear. "I'm sorry," said Murphy. "I meant postponed."
Officials of the WHA Players Association also met to discuss the situation but no. announcement was made. Murphy said Monday that all salaries committed by the Stags would be paid by the league as was done when New York Raiders were moved to Cherry Hill, N.J., last season. The Raiders this season became San Diego Mariners. Ben Hatskin of Winnipeg, chairman of the board of trustees, was named chief executive in charge of finding a successor to Murphy, who has tendered his resignation effective June 1.
Hatskin will be assisted by members of a committee to screen potential new presidents. No deadline was set for location of a replacement, but Murphy said he .would "be easing out" -of his job within the next few months. If necessary, Hatskin would take over some presidential responsibilities until a permanent appointment is made. Trustees voted unanimously to move the league office to Toronto "to make the operation more efficient," said Murphy. "Toronto has an excellent tradition of hockey, much more so than Newport Beach, Calif."
There have been suggestions that Murphy resigned because of the plan to shaft the league office from his native California but he denied that. "I didn't intend to take this 'as a permanent position. 1 feel I have done most of the things I felt called upon to do," General managers, meeting separately, recommended that an unbalanced schedule be adopted for next season. The clubs now play each rival team at home and away an equal number of times.
BALTIMORE (AP) — The Michigan Stags officially went out of business Thursday and the World Hockey Association created a franchise in Baltimore to absorb its players. Baltimore officials said the WHA will operate a new franchise known as the Baltimore Blades for the remainder of the current season. At a news conference at the Civic Center, where the Blades will play their home games, WHA President Dennis Murphy said the league would run the club, to be staffed with players from the defunct Stags.
According to Murphy, talks are underway to find private owners, "We are hopeful of presenting a local ownership group by the end of the season," he said. Murphy said the team would play its first game as the Blades in Toronto Thursday night. The club then plays four more road games before making its first Baltimore appearance Fob. 2 against the Houston Aeros.
Mayor William Donald Schaefer. whose administration worked for more than a year to bring a WHA franchise to the city, said the move "puts Baltimore in the company of other major league, cities in North American hockey. "The shifting of the new team • here has happened somewhat suddenly, but w'e could not afford to pass up the opportunity which had presented itself. "...If we did not accept this team, we would have had to wait and hope that some team in the future would want to move, or apply for an expansion franchise as Washington, B.C. has done."
The Blades, in last place in the WHA's West Division with a 13-27 record, replace the Baltimore Clippers, of the American Hockey League. Zanvyl Krieger, Clippers president, announced earlier Thursday the team had been dissolved. Krieger noted that, since the beginning of the WHA three years ago, "We have been faced with very hard times financially and have taken substantial losses." The minor league Clippers drew dismal crowds this season, averaging only around 4,000 fans for home games at the UMNO-plus seat Civic Center. Despite the Clippers' lack of success in drawing hockey fans downtown, Schaefer, Murphy and Johnnie Wilson, the Blades coach and general manager, expressed confidence that the Blades would be a success at the gate.
"We have a good mix to offer the fans," Wilson said. "We have some aggressive players and some finesse players. We'll give the fans what they want to see." Murphy, referring to the expansion Washington Capitals, who play their games in Landover, Md., said the Blades poor record so far should not affect their drawing power here. "You're friends down the road are doing all right with the fans and they've only won three games," Murphy said.
Murphy said terms of the agreement include a payment to the city of $500 for each of the 17 remaining home games with the city returning to the team half of its 40 per cent gross of concession sales. Murphy said the Blades will be operated by a league group known as Baltimore Hockey Inc. William Boucher HI, president of the Greater Baltimore Committee, will serve as president of the corporation, Murphy said. Skip Feldman, a former official with the National Basketball Association Baltimore Bullets will serve as executive vice president while Terry Keardon, general manager of the Clippers, will be vice-president of the Blades under the league organization, he added.
Ticket prices for Blades home games will range from $4 lo $6.50, with season tickets going for $100 for the balance of the season. Clipper tickets ranged from $2.50 lo $5.50. Murphy said all remaining Clippers' season tickets would be honored for Blades' games. The last hurdle to bringing a WHA team here was cleared last week when the city agreed to wipe out some $80,000 in back rent the Clippers owed for use of the use of the Civic Center. In return, the Clippers gave up their exclusive ice rights at the municipally owned arena. Schaefer, who also is in the midst of an effort to keep the American League Baltimore Orioles here, defended the concessions to the Clippers and the city's involvement in bringing in the WHA.
"Every night the Civic Center is closed is disastrous for the city," the mayor said. "We made concessions to the Clippers to keep them on the ice. Now with a WHA learn here, we have lo push it. It's part of the redevelopment of downtown." Boucher said the club would mount an all-out drive to sell tickets and boost area hockey interest. "We're going to make that team happy in Baltimore," Boucher said
NEW YORK (AP) —The National Hockey League's Board of Governors meet here today for further discussion of plans for the new Seattle and Denver franchises. The clubs had been expected to join the league for the 1976-77 season, but President Clarence Campbell said 12 days ago that arenas for both teams would be ready for the 1975-76 season and that they could be admitted by that time. Campbell also disclosed that the teams could be ones already existing, which would be purchased by the owners and moved to the new cities. The California Golden Seals and Pittsburgh Penguins had been reported as teams under consideration for transfer.
NEW YORK (UPI) — Next season the National Hockey League most likely will play its own version of one-and-one transferring the California Seals from Oakland to either Denver or Seattle, and granting an expansion franchise to the city which does not get the Seals. "If the Seals are shifted and one other team comes in as an expansion team that would make for a 19-team league." NHL president Clarence Campbell said yesterday following a meeting of the league board of governors.
"It would take a unanimous vote to expand again to 20 teams— and I rather doubt that would happen in the present economic climate." THE BOARD of governors, with the exception of the absent-John Wilcox of Atlanta, whose plane was unable to land because of fog, passed a unanimous resolution which is Designed to aid the financially troubled Pittsburgh Penguins.
"We are encouraged by the progress the Pittsburgh team has made," said Campbell. "They have been on a long unbeaten streak at home and attendance is rising. Progress has been made toward an infusion of new capital, which would spread the base of the ownership but would not result in the Penguins being shifted from Pittsburgh."
The way to transfer to Oakland was cleared when Campbell revealed that the $3 million lawsuit instituted by Barend Van Gerbig, the original owner of the 1967-68 Oakland Seals, had been settled. "The matter with Van Gerbig is completely resolved," Campbell said. "He signed the papers and took the money. There were no damages involved, simply a matter of legal fees."
THUS IT appears that California will be moved as soon as the NHL. which is operating the franchise, can find a way. The other alternate is the sale of the Seals, but at this time the NHL has no prospective buyers. "We are losing $10.000 a day operating the Seals despite a careful operation and we cannot continue this indefinitely." said Campbell. "The cost of operating an NHL team today is about $3 million (a year). It was only one million when the Seals came into the NHL at the time of the original expansion."
In response to a query. NHL vice-president Don V. Ruck said. "There is no request from the National Broadcasting Company that makes the maintenance of a team in the San Francisco bay area mandatory for the retention of the network tv deal — and there never has been even when the Columbia Broadcasting System had the contract." 'Campbell admitted, however. "There are still emotional problems over the shift if it happens. The NHL has never transferred a team."
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, MONDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 1975 Pens promised Support By NHL, But Not Oakland
By AL COLLETTI NEW YOBK (CP) – The board of 'governors of the National Hockey League assured the Pittsburgh ownership Saturday of help in seeking new investment to keep the financially- troubled Penguins in Pittsburgh. The decision of the governors means that the NHL will do all it possibly can to keep the expansion franchise in Pittsburgh. But the Oakland franchise may be moved to Denver or Seattle next season. The money problems of the Penguins and California Golden Seals took up a good part of the all-day governors meeting. Another meeting lasting several days will be held in New York starling March 10.
NHL president Clarence Campbell also disclosed that the league had settled the $3 million lawsuit brought' by Jarend van Gerbig, who headed the original group of Oakland owners,: out pf court. It involved/payment of' van Gerbig's litigation costs, but Campbell wouldn't say how much. The governors issued a brief statement saying' that –they were satisfied that the Penguins were "making .good progress" toward solving their financial problems.
The governors-'were described as "very encouraged" by, the report of Thayer Potter, president of the Penguins. Pittsburgh's main problem has been lack of cash flow. The governors also reviewed the status of the Seals, taken over by the league last year, but ' no further action was taken.
Campbell told a press conference that the increase in attendance at Pittsburgh was encouraging. The club is adding 2,800 seats to Civic Arena to increase seating capacity to 16,000. The Penguins have a 16- game unbeaten home record and seem certain to make the playoffs this season. Campbell said new financing for the Penguins has been in the -works' for more than nine months. This doesn't mean that effective control of the club will change, he said, but the base of the ownership would be broadened by the influx of new capital.
Seventeen of the is governors— Atlanta did not attend— Approved a resolution backing the Penguins, who joined the NHL in the first expansion in 1967. As -Campbell explained it, tile resolution is simply a declaration t h a t would assist Pittsburgh in its recruit of financial investment. But unanimous consent of all those present and voting was needed because property rights were involved. "The league has a certain position with the Pittsburgh club, and in order for it to implement its own plans, at least those that are available to it, requires "our indication of response in advance. And that's what we were talking about today."
The picture in Oakland was grim. The Seals were losing 10,000 a day Campbell said. There is no chance of Oakland going across the bay to San Francisco because the big Yerba-Buena project planned for the downtown area will not have a sports complex although there is land for one. Campbell said the NHL couldn't afford to keep the Seals in Oakland while awaiting a new arena that someone else might build in San Francisco. When owner Charles 0. Finley wanted out after losing several million dollars, the league "bought him out for $6.5 million. But Campbell said the league is not in a position to continue operating the Oakland team. "There are two factors involved in Oakland," he said. "One is the operational losses which losses which are substantial and for which we have budgeted.” We also have the problem of the principal, increments and interest to Finley for his interests." But a substantial part of the money owed Finley has been paid.
Campbell said there have been no firm offers for purchase of the club although there had been approaches. He said the logical thing to do would be to move the Seals to Denver or Seattle as a substitute for one of the conditional franchises already granted. B o t h Seattle and Denver were granted conditional franchises for the 1976-77 season. But the owners want to start up next season because their arenas will be ready by then. If Oakland is moved as a substitute for a new franchise, the league could expand to 19 teams next season from the present 18 by building up only one new franchise. But that also may not happen until 1976- 77.
There also are emotional factors to contend with in moving the Seals out of Oakland. The NHL never has shifted an expansion franchise. The settlement of the van Gerbig lawsuit removed the l a s t legal barrier to the transfer of the franchise. "That has been completely resolved." Campbell said of the lawsuit. "He signed and he took the money." Van Gerbig sued the NHL, claiming' violation of the antitrust laws, after the league rejected his application to transfer the franchise to Vancouver. "The court ruled in our favor," Campbell said. Lawyers for van Gerbig launched an appeal but Campbell said "they weren't very anxious to pursue it."
By AL COLLETTI NEW YORK (CP) - In hindsight , President Clarence Campbell feels the National Hockey League over-reacted when it escalated player salaries to meet the challenge of the World Hockey Association three years ago. Campbell, replying to a question, said Saturday that if the NHL had a chance to do it all over again, "I think we might have reacted differently to the WHA challenge."
The NHL, he said, "could have played it a lot cooler" after the WHA began operating in 1972 and nearly 100 players jumped from the NHL to the rival league. Well, we wouldn't have gone for the long-term contracts, the escalated salaries, because they weren't necessary, think we would have been much more selective in our retentions instead of trying to protect the whole team and thereby creating your own problems.
"... If you decide you're going to keep everybody, then I suppose what you do is try some kind of formula in the salary structure. And I guess everybody figures they're entitled to the same rate of increase. Well, we've proven since then that probably was a mistake."
New York Rangers successfully fended off WHA player raids by raising their payroll to more than $1 million a year. Campbell said the Rangers went further than anyone else, and "they were accused, rightly or wrongly, of trying to buy the Stanley Cup by guaranteeing themselves immunity from the WHA."
But the reaction of some of the other clubs was "much different," and some were victimized. "The biggest single victim percentage wise probably was California Golden Seals. They had a playoff team without question which could easily have been retained for a minimum amount of money. It wasn't forthcoming. The result was that they lost six or seven of their prime players."
The WHA brought a multimillion- dollar anti-trust lawsuit against the NHL in 1972.- It was settled out of court last year after the NHL agreed to pay the costs of the WHA's litigation . Campbell said it amounted to $1.7 million. The NHL's own legal costs –ran about $4,000 a day.
PITTSBURGH (AP) - Mayor Peter Flaherty met 30 of the city's top corporate executives Monday and asked them to buy more than 84,000 unsold seats for Pittsburgh Penguins' 14 remaining National Hockey League home games.
Flaherty told the executives that the "situation with the Penguins is critical," referring to the club's financial problems and speculation that the team may be purchased by someone from outside Pittsburgh. Flaherty said he had assured NHL president Clarence Campbell last week of the city's intention to help the club.
The mayor said he promised Campbell that attendance for the club's final 14 home games would be up. Although capacity at the Civic Arena is 13,402, the Penguins' attendance has averaged slightly more than 10,000 this year.
He called on the 30 executives to get behind the club "to see if we can have sellouts" for the remaining games to help ease the Penguins' short term financial difficulties. T h e Penguins received a vote of confidence Saturday from the NHL board of governors.
Les Nordiques of Quebec City, the franchise originally admitted to the World Hockey Association as an afterthought, has become the WHA's strongest entry. And, therein lies a problem. Although the Quebec sextet packs a better percentage of fans into its rink every game than other WHA clubs, Le Colisee, has less than 11,000 seats; too small by NHL standards. When the inevitable NHL-WHA "merger" takes place — only the word "merger" will be changed to avoid anti-trust suits in the States— Quebec may be left out in the cold. Unless of course, an all-Canadian Division NHL is developed.
Bosses of the NHL and WHA privately allow that neither the endless inter-league war nor astronomical player salaries can continue beyond June without calamitous consequences. There are two possibilities — disaster or merger. Disaster is a good bet if Al Eagleson and the greedy NHL Players' Association blocks a merger. The WHA will bleed terribly and the NHL will hurt more than a little. In the end, big-league hockey players will suffer most. As sure as the sun rises in the east there will be a full-scale loss of jobs as sextets do their deep-six and go bye-bye.
To avert disaster a merger is a must. But how. And who will be dropped? If an All-Canadian Division is developed out of the merger will the Toronto Toros and Vancouver Blazers be forced out of business? That is a distinct possibility. The NHL Canucks own the city of Vancouver and the Maple Leafs own Toronto. Conceivably, the Blazers could move to Calgary and the Toros to Hamilton. That would give the Canadian Division the following cities: Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City.
Taking the proposed merger a step further, the WHA would have to drop weak franchises in the United States, but which? Chicago is a possibility if Pat Stapleton and his Cougars' cartel cannot woo fans to the Windy City Amphitheatre. St. Paul is another despite a new rink. Likewise, Cleveland — despite a new arena, which unfortunately is located miles from civilization — could be a victim along with Detroit-Baltimore. That leaves Houston, Phoenix, San Diego, Indianapolis, Hartford and Cincinnati among the stronger entries.
Of course, the NHL will have to make some concessions, too. Oakland has been a sore NHL spot for years and will remain so unless a new arena is built fast in San Francisco. As we all know, no arenas are built that quickly. Oakland could be sacrificed along with Pittsburgh unless the Penguins prove that they can fill the Igloo, which they haven't. Kansas City and Washington cannot yet be judged because of their awful teams and the newness of big-league hockey (prices) to these metropolises. Needless to say nothing hockey bosses do ever goes according to plan but the merger-revolution is just around the corner, as sure as recession is spelled R-E-C-E-S-S-I-O-N.
NEW YORK (AP) - With the cost of playing approaching the cost of living, the list of endangered species a l r e a d y includes expansion teams in all major sports. That extends even to the National Hockey League, which for years has enjoyed the highest percentage of attendance in the world of fun and games.
The while brows of league President Clarence Campbell were furrowed recently when he future when he delivered a report on the NHL’s future.
-Plans have been pigeon-holed for expansion teams in four new-cities by 1980.
—Conditional franchises in Denver and Seattle, scheduled to enter the league in 1976, may well join for next season to beat a capricious economy that could worsen as easily as it could improve. And, rather than new teams stocked by a draft of castoffs, these clubs could be ones presently competing.
The realistic fact is you've got to make your garment according to the amount of cloth you have," Campbell said. "And the cloth you have in the NHL is the money' you take in at the box office."
But if that were the case, it would seem the NHL could easily open a haberdashery. League vice president Don Ruck reported that box office handle has never been better. The strength of hockey is that a number of our buildings are sold out for every game, and you can t improve on 100 per cent."
.Still, when asked if all member teams had made money last season, Ruck frowned and added, "No sir, not on your life. With all the financial investments and obligations, at least seven teams didn't." Further, there have been grumblings over low revenues from the network television contract and high salaries which Campbell claims "could price us out of existence."
The league faces the distinct possibility that it may not have any network TV contract next season NBC Is considering dropping hockey and that would further decline revenues. The average price of a ticket has risen from $5.80 last season to $6.73 now which "by anybody's standards is a pretty husky increase," Campbell said. The increase hasn't seemed to bother the NHL fan. League statistics show an average drop from last season of only 100 fans per game-through contests of Dec. 31, 1974. So clearly,' the money is coming in. What happens to it?
"Part of our problem has been litigation," Ruck said, citing court battles with the World Hockey Association. "It's no secret our settlement with them cost us over $1.75 million and our legal fees have been considerable." Considerable means teven figures, one source says. And that doesn't include suits still pending by individual WHA team’s and. players.
Add to that a bouncing prime interest rate on loans, which are the life blood of financing start-up franchise, and the trembling state of the NHL economy takes on shakier proportions. For instance, rises of one point in the prime interest rates can cost a new franchise unexpected thousands.
TheDeuce: HF crowd coming back for the memories???
Jun 16, 2017 9:26:26 GMT -5
DowntownBooster: Great site to visit again but I wish we could still post here!
Jun 16, 2017 15:56:42 GMT -5
TheDeuce: Does anyone know where the legendary Simpsons thread is?
Jun 16, 2017 16:35:13 GMT -5
Comrade Fox: stalin did nothing wrong, free the thrashers, cheveldayoff is a scrub
Jun 16, 2017 19:38:03 GMT -5
c: Darren did a great job
Jun 17, 2017 6:11:35 GMT -5
kenas10: Go Jets Go! Here we are 7 years later starting the Conference Finals against the Las Vegas Knights! I'm still a season ticket holder, have been since day 1. I was KennyS and was on the forum the whole time!! Blast reading all of this. Go Jets Go!
May 11, 2018 19:46:11 GMT -5