WHA, the SEJHL and The Future

Saturday and Sunday were tryouts in Ontario for the WHA Super Junior hockey league... On Sunday in the US, there was a tryout camp as well at the Tampa Bay Skating Academy in Oldsmar, Florida where WHA brass showed up to begin the launch of the WHA Super Junior league.

The first portion of the WHA SJ consists of the Southeast Junior Hockey League which I've covered from time to time on the site. The SEJHL still exists, as I had been confused about what would become of it, and has been purchased by the WHA for their use. The SEJHL continues to be a C-level Junior hockey affiliation under USA Hockey bylaws but the quality of play is supposed to be improved under WHA ownership.

Bobby Hull was in attendance, as was Brad Park of New York Rangers fame and several other former pro hockey stars. Hull and Park, during evaluations, were impressed by the number of "diamonds in the rough" that were participating in the tryout camp. There were around 60 local kids and bay area based hockey players that participated.

Hull tried to explain to players and parents the fact that the WHA was alive and well and that this was an extension of that. He also spent time trying to explain that the players would be put under a microscope by the media because of who the organization was and what they were trying to accomplish.

Hull hoped to compose two teams out of the players who showed up (out of the planned six) and the league was planning to use the uniforms for the LA Sharks for the Oldsmar Sandsharks. Other teams would have original WHA monikers in the league. There was also talk of more Junior Hockey leagues being purchased by the WHA but that talk will remain speculation for now.

The WHA still hopes to re-launch at the professional level - with perchance some of the kids that are to partake in the Junior Hockey(s) that the WHA will own and operate... but for the moment, eyes will shift to Florida for the continuation of the grand experiment: Junior Hockey in the sunshine state.