Amazing Facts on the Merger of the WHA and the NHL

After the original six welcomed another six teams in the 1920s, there was no clear evidence that the NFL would once again add more teams until the merger between the NHL and WHA happened in 1979. The discussions had been ongoing for a few months, and other team players hoped that the discussions would lead to the onboarding of better players, but no one was sure how it would happen.

The 1979 Merger

By this time, the WHA had been in operation for about seven years. However, it was obvious that the way the NHL operated could not be challenged, and so for the WHA to remain relevant, this move was necessary. In the 79-80 season, the WHA came on board with the four main teams; the New England Whalers, Edmond Oilers, Winnipeg Jets, and Quebec Nordiques.

This move cemented the exit of the WHA from hockey and marked another significant beginning for the NHL with exemplary teams. However, this was not the first time these discussions had happened. Two years back, in 1977, the two leagues had come together to discuss a possible merger, only for a majority of the NHL stakeholders to fight the idea.

Terms of the Merger

After an unchallenged voting process settled the alliance, the NHL was allowed to absorb most of the WHA’s teams and players without compensation. The WHA would only keep two skaters and goaltenders. The new teams were given the entry draft positions, which was a different move as other new teams always took the front draft in such expansions.

After the merger, teams such as the Oilers and the England Whalers recorded a considerable increase in value, thus generating more income for the NFL. Great players were also introduced to the league, which challenged the performance of other teams.

This historical move was a win for both the IHA and NHL.