The World Hockey Association was created in 1972 when Dennis Murphy and Gary Davidson founded the league that would change professional hockey forever.
For a short while the NHL and the fifth estate looked down upon the WHA. However, the NHL would eventually incorporate many of the new leagues ideas into its own. One example is the return of overtime play. The other was the transfer of 4 teams into the NHL. The NHL has also established teams in the former WHA markets of Phoenix and Ottawa. The media came around to support an exciting alternative.
When the WHA gave Bobby Hull a $1-million dollar contract, causing The Golden Jet to leave the Chicago Black Hawks, a stunned NHL suddenly took notice. Soon, the war was on. The WHA was draining the NHLs talent pool by enticing players to jump ship luring them with larger salaries. Mr. Hockey himself, Gordie Howe, was lured out of retirement to play with his two sons for the Houston Aeros and later the New England WHAlers.
The WHA paved the way in mining European talent, something NHL clubs grudgingly started to follow. The NHL had a rule that players must be 18 to play; the WHA emphasized scouting and scoured the junior leagues for under NHL age talent. One player developed this way was Wayne Gretzky.
The WHA brought perhaps the biggest change to hockey, ushering in free agency. Unlike the NHL where players were bound to one team forever, players in the WHA could pretty much play with WHAtever team offered them a contract.
The WHA began life seeking to capitalize on an existing demand for pro hockey. The league placed many teams in markets the NHL never approached. The WHA granted franchises to NHL cities such as Edmonton, Winnipeg (now Phoenix) and Quebec (now Colorado). Years later, following the closure of the WHA league, it must be noted that the NHL had set up shop in some of the same markets originally opened by WHA. These teams and many WHA players are still valuable participants in the NHL.
In fact, when teams from the two leagues played exhibition games against each other, from 1974 to 1978, the WHA teams won 33, lost 27 and tied seven.
Congratulations to the Oliver Jets on being the WHKA Champions for the 2007 / 2008 season. We all hope you get a chance to defend your title next season. Also, we wish you the best of luck against the GMHL Champion.
Sep 15, 2008: (Re Hockey Canada Bulletin No.: A09-02 dated September 3, 2008). Hockey Canada plays an important role in the development of Canadian hockey players, coaches, as well as officials. The sanctions that they have imposed are only a self proclamation and based on concerns of leagues being in direct competition with Hockey Canada sanctioned leagues. Through their own statements, they do not wish to have any competition. The reality is that there are several successful independent leagues in Canada who share their vision however are not under the auspices of Hockey Canada. The situation has been brought to the attention of the Canadian Federal Government Competition Bureau who is currently reviewing the situation with the intention of determining whether or not the imposed sanctions violate Federal laws and are unconstitutional. We will provide regular updates as this situation progresses. It is the hope and expectation of the World Hockey Association, as well as several other independent leagues across Canada, that the ruling will be favourable and the sanctions as stated in the bulletin will be retracted and unenforceable. Despite the negative comments made by Hockey Canada that those teams and leagues not operating under their auspices are inferior and without conscience or notions of player development, the WHA is planning to enter the third year of operation. The WHA has secured several new areas where the communities can enjoy watching a high calibre of junior aged hockey. As with any new business or organization, the WHA has had to recognize and adapt to all the challenges of operation and is continually doing so with the intention of providing a local showcase of talented players as well as having the stability of a successful and professional environment. The World Hockey Association has taken great steps to achieve these goals and is dedicated to providing a safe and fair alternative to hockey players who may not have an opportunity within the Hockey Canada family and wish to continue to develop as a hockey player as well as a young adult and to be further prepared for their future. This has been and always will be the mandate of the WHA.
The league will continue to provide the best possible environment for our players, as well as to the communities where they are playing. There is a 40 game schedule currently in place with teams within relatively close proximity. Each team will have up to three practice ice times per week with opportunities for extra ice times as each facility permits. The league will continue to offer a high calibre of hockey, community and personal responsibility, and guidance in player performance and development. We look forward to your interest and participation in this exciting league.
The World Hockey Association announces franchise locations for the 2008/09 hockey season.
August 1, 2008 Vancouver, B.C., Canada The World Hockey Association announces franchise locations for the 2008/09 hockey season. At present time, seven franchise locations are confirmed for play commencing this September and are all located in British Columbia. Teams will be operating in Armstrong, Ashcroft, Clinton, Hope, Logan Lake, Nakusp, and Oliver.
The teams will be known as the Armstrong Sharks, Ashcroft Stingers, Clinton Cowboys, Hope Screaming Eagles, Nakusp Aeros, and Oliver Jets. The Logan Lake team will be named by August 7, 2008.
For the 2008/09 season, WHA Junior teams will play a 42 game regular season schedule which will commence in late September and conclude in late February with playoffs to follow.
The WHA Junior League is an independent hockey league offering players aged 16 – 21 years old an opportunity to play competitive junior hockey.
Monday, July 14, 2008 - Varkaus Eagles and WHA have Formed an Affiliation with Anka Sports Club in Anka Turkey:
The Anka Sports Club, Varkaus Eagles and World Hockey Association have formed an affiliation Agreement.
"This is something that is really exciting," said Keith McAdams, General Manager of the Varkaus Eagles. "We will working with Anka and other organizations around the world to pool resources and create program to enhance our programs. For the Eagles our goals are to create opportunities for our players and additional sponsorship. The Eagles are look forward to working with Anka Sports Club, Red Star-Sofia and the WHA.
The vision of the World Hockey Association is to create opportunities for players to play in North America, “said Rick Smith, President WHA.”There is definitely interest from players from around the world to play in the WHA. We are thrilled about the opportunity to work with Anka Sports Club, Red Star-Sofia and the Varkaus Eagles."
"This is a great opportunity for our players and coaches to work with the WHA & Varkaus Eagles," said Anil Uyar, Head Coach of Anka Sports Club. "The goals for the program are to get our coaches and players experience in North America and Finland. We are looking forward to setting up an exchange program, joint training camp and tournaments in the near future."
The Anka Sports Club, Red Star-Sofia, Varkaus Eagles and World Hockey Association will be formulating a long term plan over the next few months. Additional information will be released in August.
Sunday, July 6, 2008, Red Star-Sofia, Varkaus Eagles and World Hockey Association have formed an Affiliation.
The Red Star-Sofia , Varkaus Eagles and World Hockey Association have formed an affiliation Agreement. The organizations will work together to create opportunities for their players. The goal of the agreement is to develop junior hockey exchange programs, sponsorship, tournaments, player development, educational opportunities, for our players. All three organizations will be working to find and create opportunities for player in our organization. We will work together to foster player movement and create a hockey school program in Bulgaria.
"This project is the first of it kind," Said Keith McAdams, General Manager of the Varkaus Eagles. "We will working side by side with Red Star-Sofia and the WHA to create programs that generate sponsorship and excitement for our clubs. For the Eagles we are looking to expand opportunities for our players to play professional hockey in other countries. The leadership of Plamen Galabov and Red Star will help us achieve these goals. I look forward to working with Red Star-Sofia youth hockey and program. "
The vision of the World Hockey Association is to create programs with no geographical boundaries, “said Rick Smith, President WHA. ”The program has already created interest world wide. We look forward to working with Red Star-Sofia to achieve our mutual goals."
"We are excited about working with the Varkaus Eagles and WHA," said Plamen Galabov, Program Director of Red Star-Sofia. "We have some major goals to accomplish with our organization over the next few years. We are looking to build a new ice facility, add four youth teams, and raise the level of our junior team and the entire Red Star-Sofia program. We believe by creating these affiliations it will help us grow our program."
The Red Star-Sofia , Varkaus Eagles and World Hockey Association will be formulating a long term plan over the next few months. Additional information will be released in August.
The Armstrong Sharks have signed 2 players from the SUOMISARJA / FINNISH FIRST DIVISION
Goalie Joni Weckstrom & Defenseman Mika Paalanen, both players had excellent seasons last year & are excited about reporting to the SHARKS & playing in the town of Armstrong.
Head Coach & G.M. of the SHARKS , Tim Ostoforoff says he looks forward to their arrival and the experience they bring with them. We have 3 other European players that are signing this weekend as well our WHA European Camp in July will give us a chance to see other players equal to Joni & Mika, states G.M. Ostoforoff.
The Varkaus Eagles Hockey Club and the World Hockey Association have formed a partnership and affiliation agreement.
The WHA Eagles partnership will feature the following: Educational & Hockey Exchange Program between North America & Europe. The WHA Eagles have organized a Coaching Exchange Program. We are in the process of creating affiliate agreements with European and American clubs. The WHA Eagles have created a program where European teams can send players to the WHA for anywhere from a month to years. In this agreement, the European Federation and teams will maintain the rights to the players.
The WHA Eagles are moving towards an affiliate agreement with a professional team in the USA. The WHA Eagles will be moving players between the WHA teams and Varkaus Eagles. The WHA will serve as a development league for the Eagles and college hockey teams. The goal of the WHA is to move players into college hockey programs. The WHA and Eagles will do joint tryout camps. The WHA Eagles will operate a Prospect Tournament and Scouting Service. The WHA & Eagles will be doing Joint Marketing & Recruiting in Europe, Canada and the USA.
“The partnership with Varkaus Eagles is a natural fit for the WHA," Said, Rick Smith President of the WHA. "The WHA was the first league to have a vision for a global hockey. The WHA has no restrictions on European or import players. This partnership gives us a recruiting platform for the WHA and marketing footprint in Europe."
"The Eagles goal from the beginning was to create partnership and affiliation programs", Said Keith McAdams, General Manager of the Varkaus Eagles. "The WHA is great situation for the Eagles. The WHA will act as a development league for the Varkuas Eagles. We will work together scouting and recruiting player which will strengthen both programs."
The foundation of the WHA Eagles partnership is about creating opportunities for kids. The Varkaus Eagles will be providing players from North America and Europe a chance to attend school and play hockey in Europe. The WHA gives European & North American players an opportunity to play hockey in Canada. The WHA Junior League is for players 21 and under. The Eagles plan to announce other affiliate teams in Europe and the USA in the near future. We have interest from around the World to be involved with this concept and program."
High Lights Of Program:
- Recruitment of European Players for WHA.
- Development of Affiliation Program for European Clubs and Junior Players.
- Educational & Hockey Exchange Program between WHA , Eagles & Europe.
- Coaching Exchange Program
- Player Movement from WHA to Varkaus Eagles
- Joint Marketing Programs
- Joint Scouting & Recruiting Programs
About the World Hockey Association: The WHA created the WHA Junior West Hockey League to promote the sport of hockey. The Junior West Hockey League is an alternative, community based league for highly skilled junior players, and is designed to promote high standards of sportsmanship in hockey. The 2007-2008 season will feature an expansion from six to 16 teams and will see the WHA firmly established in British Columbia, Alberta and the Northwestern United States. As a listed company on the Over-The-Counter Pink Sheets our mission is to provide a financially sound economic model that is responsible to WHA investors, coaches and staff, and the junior hockey players participating on each team. Fan satisfaction is a primary consideration in our decision making process.
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WHKA vs GDVM/Nexus counter-claim link
Nexus vs WHKA complaints court document in PDF format. 3/15/2007