by Russ Cohen
The World Hockey Association was a star-studded league that ran from 1972-1979, a professional league that was genuine competition for the NHL.
It was a league that snagged quite a few stars in the process — like Bobby Hull, Gordie Howe and Mark Howe to name a few — and it was a place where some youngsters started their careers, including Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier.
In 2004-05 when the NHL had a lockout the WHA almost came back to life, but that dream fell short. But last week in Hartford, Conn., Whalers fans came out in droves to see Howe, Mike Rogers and many former players. This week, they were in Winnipeg, with two of their trading card sets, DVDs and the hope of rekindling interest in the defunct league.
A 10-card WHA Hall of Fame set can be picked up by fans wanting some additional memorabilia to go with their memories. The cards included are of Joe Daley, who has owned a card shop in Winnipeg for many years, Marty and Mark Howe, Robbie Ftorek, The Avco Cup (awarded to the playoff champion) and the first card ever produced for the “Winnipeg Hot Line” of Ulf Nilsson, Bobby Hull and Anders Hedberg.
If this set wasn’t enough, there is an uncut sheet available as well. There are only 40 of them and they sell for $29.95. The website also offers autographed merchandise and much more.
The Hall of Fame is looking for a physical location and the two cities with the best chance of getting it are Hartford and Winnipeg. Winnipeg should have the edge since its team won three championships – – the most in league history.