Friday, August 06, 2004


OSHL - Arcade Hockey Come to Life!?

This news release was a bit of a bombshell that was released on this past Monday.

According to the report:

Randy Gumbley, owner of a Junior A team (Streetsville) in the OHA, has initiated a media friendly, player friendly hockey league, which will be called the OSHL.

Why is this anything to look at?

Well, for one thing, this startup league claims to have things the long-running WHA (in compassion) does not...people and places.

According to group responsible for making the OSHL a reality, arena bookings are written in stone.

Cloutier has already committed to play in the splinter league, should the NHL go ahead with a lockout. Other NHLers rumoured to be on board include both Primeau brothers, Dominik Hasek, Roberto Luongo Alexei Yashin and Chris Osgood. Gumbley feels he has an excellent rapport with players and agents, including Mark Osborne.

And how about these funny rules...

The league will house a number of different, and experimental, rules. Each team will allow 12 skaters, including one goaltender, and will play 4-on-4, three 17-minute periods. No red-line will exist, blue-line icing is the norm and all penalties will be taken as penalty shots with chasers. Each period will end with a two-player shootout, not reflective on the gameday score, but rather each goal in the shootout will be allocated to tournament points -- three points for winning the game, two for winning the shootout.

Wow! A blend of arcade and pond hockey come to life! Too bad they won�t have pucks on fire and landmines laid randomly under the ice surface.

According to the report, the OSHL was supposed to become �public� on Thursday. I was waiting for it to become public before commenting, but nothing has happened yet.

Now, we have not heard anything since this release, nor did we hear anything about this OSHL before. It�s rare to have any type of news this big kept under wraps so well. The hockey hounds can usually sniff out something like this long before it�s made public.

It makes you wonder if this Gumbley guy is simply blowing smoke up our asses�
Still, I think this idea is perfect, and much more suitable to the current market climate than the flawed and dead-before-life WHA.

Like the old Wayne Gretzky Travelling All-Stars, this is a perfect short-term diversion for the fans in case of a lockout. There is much less financial commitment from the league, and less time commitment from the players. It will keep the fans amused, keep the players in decent shape, and will be easily collapsible if the NHL resumes operations at any point during the winter.

While the WHA has no real player commitments and trouble with arena leases (Toronto can�t even get one), the OSHL, if it�s not lying, would already have a choke hold on the WHA with a commitment of players and leases. If players such as Yashin and Cloutier are in on the OSHL, you can bet other players will jump on board with this �sure thing�, rather than take their changes with the WHA.

Unfortunately for us West Coasters, this league is strictly in the (l)East. I wonder if a C-sports channel like The Score will pick up the OSHL if it�s a go.

I�m keeping my eyes and ears open on this OSHL. It�s a good idea, and much more likely to succeed and achieve its goals than the WHA.

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