Sign in to follow this  
hockey week

What If More WHA teams entered in NHL in 1980? Looking for some help

Recommended Posts

I'm working on another What-If series (it's been a loooooooooong time since I've done one) like my Ottawa Senators and Montreal Maroons series, and I'm at a loss for ideas. I'm all about thorough research and realism, so I want to do this right. So I'm coming for help so I can complete the series before I post.

The idea is this: What if more WHA teams joined the NHL in the 1979 merger? Birmingham, Houston, Indianapolis, Cincinnati join the NHL.

Birmingham Bulls join the NHL, so the Atlanta Flames last a few years longer with the regional rivalry. Instead of Atlanta moving to Calgary in 1980, the Birmingham Bulls move to Calgary in 1982. Atlanta still doesn't survive, and they move to become the Florida Flames in 1984. That alternate path is done.

Houston Aeros join the NHL, see the success that Dallas did but years earlier. However, the Minnesota North Stars wouldn't move to Texas if the Aeros are already there, so in 1993 they move to San Jose to revive the Seals (the Seals WERE merged with the North Stars and technically the Sharks are the descendants of the Seals, so why not make it official?). I'm working on this.

Colorado Rockies still move to New Jersey. Winnipeg Jets still move to Phoenix. Quebec Nordiques still move to Colorado. Hartford Whalers still move to Carolina. Anaheim Ducks, Ottawa Senators, and Minnesota Wild still become expansion teams. Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers, Columbus Blue Jackets, San Jose Sharks, Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets 2 never exist.

Now, here are the real questions:

The Indianapolis Racers survive a very short time before moving to Nashville. I'm all ears for naming suggestions, but a racing theme is something I want to keep. Anybody have info on other possible team names that the Predators rejected?

The biggest problem I'm having is this: The Cincinnati Stingers had numerous WHA attendance records and did well. I think they would have survived and taken the Blue Jackets' place. However, they looked exactly like the Bruins did, and with the Bruins losing the argument with Pittsburgh over the Black and Gold color scheme, they won't let it happen again. One of the conditions of Cincinnati joining the league is for a change of color scheme and jerseys. What colors make sense for the Stingers other than black and gold? Any thoughts on if that logo would change much over time?

And I have two spots for expansion teams. Would the NHL simply expand to Winnipeg, or should they follow the Thrashers/Jets model? Columbus didn't happen because Cincinnati has a team. Where should that franchise go?

I realize there are no concept here, yet. But I am hoping with some ideas, direction, and inspiration, I can make some great ones.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

According to Wikipedia, there were three candidates (after the logo was made, which were Ice Tigers, Fury, and Attack. Predators was added in by the owner and won the vote, just so you know.

Cincinnati would probably try to take the colors from one of the Cincinnati teams at the time (Much like how the Penguins did with Black and Gold), like the Red an Blue of the Indians, or the Orange and Black of the Bengals.

I'd suggest Seattle for an expansion team, creates rivalry with Vancouver.

I'd like to say this is a very interesting concept idea. Good luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What if instead of Nashville, the racers moved to Charlotte? Then you could keep the name.

Otherwise, I think Nashville Gamblers would work because Kenny Rogers' song was big at the time, and it would lend itself to a cool identity... I have to imagine any team that moved to Nashville in the 80s would've had a country music theme and probably had their games broadcast on TNN.

As far as the Stingers... you could probably work in another color... say, red... into the black and gold scheme if you really want to differentiate from the Bruins and Penguins.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think I'm the only one that feels the Stingers would survive with Gold, Black and White. In that order. Use Gold as the main colour, use the Vancouver Millionaires arm stripes and have them Gold and Black stripes. Black pants on the Gold Home jerseys, Gold Pants with the White home jerseys. Add in silver for trim here and there and further distance itself from Boston and Pittsburgh. I understand that your point it that Boston wont allow, but I still think there are other ways to go about it. If the Rangers, Canadiens, Jets, Nordiques, Jackets, Panthers to a degree, Canucks a-la-late 90's to 00's having Red White and Blue colours and the Lightning and Leafs having the exact same Blue and White, I'm sure you can go about 3 Black, Gold, White teams. It's almost too easy considering both Boston and Pittsburgh wear Black Home jerseys.

Just a suggestion, your call.

By the way, sad to see Indy not survive in this world :'(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In 1977, Ray Kroc decides to hold on to the San Diego Mariners and give them one more chance since they took the defending champion Jets to seven games in the playoffs (even though he was disappointed with attendance).

Attendance improves, the team keeps winning, and they get into the NHL in 1979 instead of Birmingham.

Also, what if the Racers kept Gretzky?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In 1977, Ray Kroc decides to hold on to the San Diego Mariners and give them one more chance since they took the defending champion Jets to seven games in the playoffs (even though he was disappointed with attendance).

Attendance improves, the team keeps winning, and they get into the NHL in 1979 instead of Birmingham.

Also, what if the Racers kept Gretzky?

I could buy that the Mariners come back...I supported the Racers through the end of the 79 season when they didn't in reality. They stay in San Diego instead of the Anaheim Ducks being created.

I also like the Racers moving to Charlotte, and instead moving Hartford to Nashville.

1clkgtramg has my favorite idea for the Stingers so far. I was thinking a baby blue and gold thing a la the Pittsburgh Hornets, but I'm really not sure if that would make any sense or work.

The Racers' attendance dropped off after 1976 and their owner was a master of flipping properties...including Wayne Gretzky. I don't think he would've been in for any kind of long haul and therefore, the Racers wouldn't last.

These posts are great, by the way. I can't wait to flesh some of these ideas out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Could go with Cleveland Crusaders deal to moving to Hollywood, Florida not falling through (instead of their move as the 2nd version of the Saints) and being called the Florida Breakers.

Florida Breakers survive to end of WHA.

http://www.funwhileitlasted.net/tag/cleveland-crusaders/

Where they go from there who knows ? stay in Hollywood FL, move to nearby Miami, or move to some other large centre?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

According to Wikipedia, there were three candidates (after the logo was made, which were Ice Tigers, Fury, and Attack. Predators was added in by the owner and won the vote, just so you know.

Cincinnati would probably try to take the colors from one of the Cincinnati teams at the time (Much like how the Penguins did with Black and Gold), like the Red an Blue of the Indians, or the Orange and Black of the Bengals.

I'd suggest Seattle for an expansion team, creates rivalry with Vancouver.

I'd like to say this is a very interesting concept idea. Good luck.

Yeah, the Cincinnati Indians and Cleveland Reds rivalry is truly the best rivalry in baseball.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Racers move to Portland in 1985-86 through 1990-91 then move to Charlotte and become the Carolina Racers from 1991-92 to 2001-02. In 2002-03 they move back to Indy and THEY WIN AT LEAST ON STANLEY CUP.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Otherwise, I think Nashville Gamblers would work because Kenny Rogers' song was big at the time, and it would lend itself to a cool identity... I have to imagine any team that moved to Nashville in the 80s would've had a country music theme and probably had their games broadcast on TNN.

How about the Nashville Mullets, cause that's basically all Hockey and 80s/90s Country Music have in common :P (I kid)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this