AH Timeline: The NHL-WHA merger: A different story

Makes sense that the Blues would go back to back but I don’t think they’ll have an Oilers like domination of the 80s since the talent is a lot more spread out ITTL.

I do wonder what Gretzky is doing for American hockey being in the spotlight there from the beginning.
Yeah, i think it would be either Houston, quebec or seattle's time next year, especially with saint patrick being drafted to seattle...

St. Louis is not that big of a market, right? Still, with our national TV Deal with CBS, i do believe gretzky Would be more visible to americans, especially with that epic rivalry against houston and Guy Carbonneau, As it appears...was carbonneau that good offensively? Cause i always remembered him as a Defensive Center...a gretzky-messier-lemieux three way rivalry would also be godlike. Really, A good TV Deal to showcase your big stars is key to growing the product, along with relative parity compared to OTL. The NBA in the 70s wasthe only time that league had any real parity, yet they had terrible TV Deals and next to no coverage on sports news networks and magazines.
 
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Yeah, i think it would be either Houston, quebec or seattle's time next year, especially with saint patrick being drafted to seattle...

St. Louis is not that big of a market, right? Still, with our national TV Deal with CBS, i do believe gretzky Would be more visible to americans, especially with that epic rivalry against houston and Guy Carbonneau, As it appears...was carbonneau that good offensively? Cause i always remembered him as a Defensive Center...a gretzky-messier-lemieux three way rivalry would also be godlike. Really, A good TV Deal to showcase your big stars is key to growing the product, along with relative parity compared to OTL. The NBA in the 70s wasthe only time that league had any real parity, yet they had terrible TV Deals and next to no coverage on sports news networks and magazines.
St Louis is about an average size market, comparable to cities such as Baltimore, Minneapolis/St Paul, Pittsburgh and Portland (OR). With the national TV deal with CBS (who also has the NBA as of now just like IRL) those St Louis-Houston games have done wonders for the NHL on American TV as it is helping the game grow in the United States. Ratings for the Stanley Cup Final this year easilly triumphed over this years NBA Finals. Speaking of the NBA, they are still in limbo in terms of national exposure at this point. Teams like the Celtics and 76ers have dominated the scene and it seems like everyone else is trying to catch up to them. Some teams, like the Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors and New Jersey Nets are struggling some poorly that they are on the brink of folding. Right now the NHL is above the NBA but below the MLB and NFL in terms of American Sports TV ratings but hockey seems to be catching up to baseball. Gretzky vs Messier vs Lemeiux could come around for sure. Don't forget about Colorado, Hartford and Los Angeles, they are also looking to get the Cup in '86.
 
One benefit of having a Jordan-led Houston Rockets in the NBA is that it will increase basketball's popularity in Texas. Granted, it won't be the most popular sport in Texas (not in a state where entire towns shut down for high school football)--that's football--but it will be the second-most popular...
 
I still don’t see the NHL being bigger then the NBA ITTL but more likely on an equal footing for longer. The NHL should still have the leadership issues that plagued it in OTL until a Bettman like figure comes along.
 
Is there anybody better than bettman out there? Of course, there is, but no name comes to mind, unfortunately...
I was thinking Gordie Howe could be comminsher instead of Bettman, but that could be a stretch. There are some other canadites for the job tough.
 
I was thinking Gordie Howe could be comminsher instead of Bettman, but that could be a stretch. There are some other canadites for the job tough.

That's the thing. Was it inevitable that Bettman would be appointed as NHL commish? It seemed like the league didn't think anyone else was better in 1993.
 
Well, really, the whole mess with southern expansion and the league expanxing too fast is arguably also on the league trusting frauds like bruce Mcnall who ingrained in the owners's heads the idea of the NHL reaching similar TV Contracts and popularity levels as the NBA...which, obviously, was completely misguided, as hockey will never have the same global and multi-demographic appeal as Basketball. Hockey will always be a niche sport. However, with the CBS deal firmly in place and the league being in a much better state ITTL, the league wouldn't be desperate to gain popularity and money. This could mean expansion and relocation plans focused on Hockey hotbeds like portland and milwaukee instead of unproven and terrible hockey markets. We might have to do something about quebec, Hartford and Winnipeg in the 90s, though, especially Quebec and Winnipeg, since the canadian dollar plummeted in the 90s. Maybe the 94 lockout doesn't happen and we get the salary cap earlier? Could it be enough to save them?
 
Bettman was brought in to fix a lot of the problems the league had. He was the protégé of David Stern (the former commissioner of the NBA) but depending on the financial stability of the league may not need to be brought in. Going deep on the league finances isn't necessary with the detail being put into this TL but the league would look to the big sports in North America to see what does and doesn't work.

As for relocation it's going to come down to how viable the teams are in the markets they are in as profits and fans drop off if teams aren't good.
 
Here are the teams, grouped in their conferences from the 1984/85 season before the Penguins are sold. I thought it would be good to get a visual of each team. I tried to use logos from the time period.
 

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Sports news in 1984-85
Other Sports in 1984-85

NFL: For the first time in 11 years the Miami Dolphins are Super Bowl Champions, upsetting the two-time defending champion Washington Redskins 23-19. Dan Marino was named MVP of the game by throwing all 3 of Miami's touchdowns in the game.

NBA: The Boston Celtics are NBA Champions for the fifth time in six seasons, beating the Denver Nuggets 4 games to 1 in the 1985 NBA Finals. Larry Bird won another Finals MVP by averaging 30.4 points a game during the series. In other NBA news, rookie Michael Jordan boosted some NBA moral with his spectacular dunks and high-scoring games. (Side note: MJ is on the Nets ITTL)

MLB: For the second time in three years, the Los Angeles Dodgers have won the World Series, sweeping the Toronto Blue Jays in 4 straight games to win the 1985 World Series. Orel Hershiser won series MVP with a complete game shutout to clinch the series in game 4 as well as a victory in game 1.

San Diego NHL update: The now-San Diego franchise chose to use a fan vote to choose their team's new nickname. The choices were the Gulls, Destroyers, or to keep Penguins. Surprisingly, 61% of fans voted to keep the Penguins nickname. Gulls was second with 29%, and then Destroyers with 10%.
 
Other Sports in 1984-85

NFL: For the first time in 11 years the Miami Dolphins are Super Bowl Champions, upsetting the two-time defending champion Washington Redskins 23-19. Dan Marino was named MVP of the game by throwing all 3 of Miami's touchdowns in the game.

NBA: The Boston Celtics are NBA Champions for the fifth time in six seasons, beating the Denver Nuggets 4 games to 1 in the 1985 NBA Finals. Larry Bird won another Finals MVP by averaging 30.4 points a game during the series. In other NBA news, rookie Michael Jordan boosted some NBA moral with his spectacular dunks and high-scoring games. (Side note: MJ is on the Nets ITTL)

MLB: For the second time in three years, the Los Angeles Dodgers have won the World Series, sweeping the Toronto Blue Jays in 4 straight games to win the 1985 World Series. Orel Hershiser won series MVP with a complete game shutout to clinch the series in game 4 as well as a victory in game 1.

San Diego NHL update: The now-San Diego franchise chose to use a fan vote to choose their team's new nickname. The choices were the Gulls, Destroyers, or to keep Penguins. Surprisingly, 61% of fans voted to keep the Penguins nickname. Gulls was second with 29%, and then Destroyers with 10%.
San Diego Penguins! I love it.
 
San Diego NHL update: The now-San Diego franchise chose to use a fan vote to choose their team's new nickname. The choices were the Gulls, Destroyers, or to keep Penguins. Surprisingly, 61% of fans voted to keep the Penguins nickname. Gulls was second with 29%, and then Destroyers with 10%.
What about Mariners? Why didn't you bring back one of the coolest WHA logos?
 
1985 NHL Draft
1985 NHL Draft
Notable selections

1. Wendel Clark (D) - San Diego Penguins

4. Ulf Dahlen (RW) - Toronto Maple Leafs

5. Dave Manson (D) - Cincinnati Stingers

22. Sean Burke (G) - Colorado Rockies

26. Joe Nieuwendyk (C) - San Diego Penguins

27. Mike Richter (G) - Chicago Blackhawks

49. Bill Ranford (G) - Vancouver Canucks

212. Igor Larionov (C) - Philadelphia Flyers

Notable Trade

Guy LaFluer (MTL) traded to Seattle in exchange for two-first round picks in 1986 and 1987 and a second rounder in 1986. The Canadiens deal their long-time super-star in the hopes he can win one more cup before he retires.

Author's note: Pelle Lindbeg does not die in a car crash ITTL. He goes to a party, just like IRL but calls a cab instead of driving home himself.

Comments apricated!
 
1985 NHL Draft
Notable selections

1. Wendel Clark (D) - San Diego Penguins

4. Ulf Dahlen (RW) - Toronto Maple Leafs

5. Dave Manson (D) - Cincinnati Stingers

22. Sean Burke (G) - Colorado Rockies

26. Joe Nieuwendyk (C) - San Diego Penguins

27. Mike Richter (G) - Chicago Blackhawks

49. Bill Ranford (G) - Vancouver Canucks

212. Igor Larionov (C) - Philadelphia Flyers

Notable Trade

Guy LaFluer (MTL) traded to Seattle in exchange for two-first round picks in 1986 and 1987 and a second rounder in 1986. The Canadiens deal their long-time super-star in the hopes he can win one more cup before he retires.

Author's note: Pelle Lindbeg does not die in a car crash ITTL. He goes to a party, just like IRL but calls a cab instead of driving home himself.

Comments apricated!
Finally, linseman and napier will Have some help on offense! With coffey/langway on defense and patrick roy in net, seattle's gonna shock some people! Good pickups by the pens, as well. It makes up for losing lemieux. Sean burke's not the goalie i would've picked, but still, colorado's got a goalie to back up hawerchuk, gilmour and stevens.
 
Finally, linseman and napier will Have some help on offense! With coffey/langway on defense and patrick roy in net, seattle's gonna shock some people! Good pickups by the pens, as well. It makes up for losing lemieux. Sean burke's not the goalie i weould've picked, but still, colorado's got a goalie to back up hawerchuk, gilmour and stevens.
Seattle is definelty a favorite to win this year after the LaFluer trade. That Norris division though looks like a gauntlet with Houston, St Louis and Colorado in the division, all Cup contenders this year.
 
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