Thursday, October 09, 2003


More on the CHL's dispute with the Tupelo T-Rex.

What I get out of this story is that the WPHL didn't "loan" the T-Rex money, they just allowed them to operate without paying their franchise fees. It's also surprising that Global wasn't more aggressive about enforcing the T-Rex trademark, even if junior hockey didn't fall under the umbrella of the non-compete (or they simply didn't care when it was junior hockey).

Still, it's a legitimate debt and Fletcher signed the deal... if he had just figured out a way to go out of business and re-incorporate with a new company and a new team name, maybe none of this would have been an issue (you can be sure there are other teams that didn't pay their WPHL franchise fees and never had to, either because they went out of business or a new owner took over and stayed in the league with those debts forgiven).

Let's face it, it's not like the Tupelo organization gave anything a lot of thought when they rushed into the AWHL that first year. If they have the money to operate they should have the money to pay their debts. And I'm certainly not gonna feel sorry for an owner whose "struggling" hockey team couldn't pay its franchise fees but could afford to carry Jason Firth.

It's also hard to imagine Jim Riggs was blindsided by this, considering he was in Memphis (then owned by Chen) at the time of the WPHL/CHL merger, when Tupelo remained in play.

It may seem petty, but business is business. What if, a year from now, the SEHL merges (or re-merges) with the WHA-2 while the higher-level WHA sniffs around Memphis and OKC? Everyone is competition. The folks who started up the WPHL have always seen that, treating minor pro hockey as a single business. That approach has caused its share of questionable or unpopular decisions, but you can't say it hasn't been right-on.

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