Tuesday, October 26, 2004

No time to comment, but that doesn't mean I can't link: Great bit from Greg Rajan:


Ever-intrepid Rayz equipment manager George Escamilla pointed out a souvenir in the visitors' room in Laredo, apparently left by the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs following the controversial Game 7 of last year's CHL finals.

On a ceiling fixture was a sticker with the Mudbugs' logo and the words 'We beat you. You suck.'

When notified of the parting gift, Cullaton simply laughed.

'They can say whatever they want,' he said. 'I've got a ring to prove (otherwise).'

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Guess Eagles head coach Chris Stewart has other plans next season (like just being VP/GM, perhaps?). There's an ad in last week's Hockey News taking applications for his job -- "5 yrs experience required... $63,510 a year, m-f 8-5 + travel."

Btw, I'm moving to Cincinnati Tuesday, so I wouldn't visit here too often for the next two weeks. I mean, you can visit, I just can't promise any content. Go Ducks!

Friday, October 22, 2004

Seriously, why do the Laredo Bucks even have training camp? It's not like any of the players on the team actually attend it. Roscoe's annual ritual -- trotting out a big list of Tier II scrubs and, this year, long-shot back-up goalies until the real players show up -- continues unabated.

Yesterday the Bucks added yet another Rampage assignee, Chris Nielsen, and also got back Dube and Weidlich:

The Bracknell Bees regret to report that Serge Dube and Steve Weidlich are leaving the club. This decision comes to us as a complete shock and was very unexpected considering the form we are in at the moment. This decision was solely their own and they have decided to return to their previous club, the Laredo Bucks in the Central Hockey League.

Yeah, that sounds a lot better than

The Bracknell Bees regret to report that, like Guildford's Jason's Baird, these guys figured they could come over here and make as much money as they could from August 15-October 15, then leave, which we always knew might happen.


The Bracknell Bees regret to report that, our import players thought it would be really exotic and cool to play in the U.K. Then they got here, ate some mushy peas, realized the level of play in our country's second best-league is nowhere near the level of play in American's fourth or fifth best league, and high-tailed it back to Texas.

Maybe Bugs fans can find some hope in this new trend. Come back, Craig Minard!

One thing about the Bucks though -- it's easy to get distracted by their talent, or just the fact that Roscoe gets so much out of it. But at last week's Scorpions-Bees exhibition, Shawn Legault talked about the fact that his team was coming off a game against Laredo, while RGV had only played Team Mexico. The way he described the Bucks when making that comparison was "a team with the most unmatchable work ethic in the whole league."

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Hockey players say the darndest things: Andrew Ference on the lockout:

I understand there's an art to negotiation but right now, they're pretty shitty artists.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

27. Another number for the Mudbugs to retire.
Walrus justice: Not surprising about Miller. Downright impressive that Sauter did what he felt was the right thing with Leo Thomas, given that his brother's still on the team. Of course you could argue that his brother gets a pass based on talent, but I choose to believe the team was punishing the two guys they felt started the trouble rather than the two who got caught up in it. Unless of course, there's more to come.
Poor Anders Strome: he didn't make the cut or the San Diego Gulls. I presume Lubbock still has his CHL rights.
Of course, there's another explanation for Campbell's absence from the Mudbugs' line-up last night. In other words, paging teams with open vet spots -- situation wanted by two-way forward, former playoff MVP, once known for scoring timely goals, will give you 20 and win lots face-offs, somewhat undersized and maybe slightly overpaid. Answers to "Soupy." For more information, contact Scott Muscutt. If you don't play in the Northern Conference he may even give you a phone number.
Mudbugs GM Jason Rent:

The events that ended last season, hockey operations wise, were the worst thing that could have happened to us. Business-wise it wasn't that bad of a thing. Our season ticket sales are up around 20 percent from last year.

And a good line from Lang:

Thankfully beauty isn't a must because second-year defenseman Travis Bell says Dan Wildfong should get serious consideration [as Mudbugs captain].

Hell yeah he should. But do you want a guy that chippy, a guy who spends so much time in the box, always talking to the ref?

And wait, Sprott retired? That story just seemed to die off without a finish. I would think you'll see that "33" up in the rafters.

And speaking of, I sure hope my own home team is making plans for "40" and "11."

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

All right, who's got a Canadian satellite dish?
Does this mean Jason Campbell already made the Bugs? Wildfong is a given
Official: Jason Baird to Corpus.

Now, I don't really begrudge the Tarantulas that trade, since they weren't gonna get those players anyway, but let's review:

Corpus got Baird, Zelenewich, John, McIver and Carter, all of whom are on the team.

Topeka got DuPaul, who isn't what he used to be, and Woodcroft, who at least they flipped for Peter Robertson. That's it. The other two guys went to the ECHL (though Levesque was waived on Monday). And the rights to the retired Richardson were picked up by New Mexico.

Plus the Rayz got Gilmore from the Rants for futures.
For what it's worth, Fort Worth gets vindication. Mike Barack tells me -- and the Hockeyblog's Toronto bureau chief confirms -- that on p. 77 of today's Sun is the following correction.

In a column published Oct. 14 (... Just ask Lonny Bohonos), Steve Simmons incorrectly reported Lonny Bohonos earned $1,500 US a week playing hockey for the Fort Worth Brahmas of the Central Hockey League. The Sun regrets the error.

Now obviously, no one is going to come out and say, "oops, you caught us" (not even the teams that actually get caught). But Barack stands by what he told Greg Rajan and insists that he and Andy Moog and Stuart Fraser do not break the rules.

"One of the things coaches who come here know is listen, we're not cheating and we're gonna play by the book," he says. "And if that means we finish in last place we finish in last place."

Which, of course, they have. Barack says that if he has a better team this year, that's down to Sims' recruiting.

But does it still raise eyebrows that someone like Bohonos, who was making $450,00 Canadian his last year in the NHL and surely continued to earn six figures while in Switzerland, would suddenly play for seven, eight, nine hundred bucks in "AA?" Of course it does. Even $1500 a week sounds low (that's $36,000 in six months; the average AHL salary is $55,000 a year). So the speculation will continue, in opposing locker rooms as well as on the Internet -- it was already going on before the the Sun said anything. But speculation it remains.
I thought the JailBlazers were in Portland.
A must read: WPHL alum, two-game NHLer and current Belfast Giant Mel Angelstad and his 40-50 injuries.
Confirmed: Brenden Morrow to Oklahoma City.

"I told them I would play, but we haven't worked out all the details yet," said Morrow, who expects to make around $750 a week, including housing allowance, depending on Oklahoma City's salary cap situation. He said his first game would be Oct. 29 in Oklahoma City against Bossier-Shreveport. The Blazers begin the season on Oct. 22.

Morrow said the contract would allow him to leave the CHL should the NHL resume this season. He said he's already purchased insurance for around $30,000 to protect what remains of the $1.6 million he was scheduled to make in the final year of his contract with the Stars.

Steve Newlin, minor league detective. Readers of The Farm Report now know where CHLers (including Joe Van Volsen, Mike Van Volsen, Ken Shepard, Peter MacKellar and Justin Cardwell) finish their careers: the Eastern Ontario Senior Hockey League.
In case you missed it: Roy Lang on Brad Lukowich, and on the Mudbugs' so-called high road.

Muscutt's position in the latter article is more than disingenuous -- his owner has already been quoted as saying Louisiana's worker's comp laws would make it difficult to sign an NHLer, and the Bugs have never been about development (though believe it or not, Dan Wildfong and Jason Campbell were once newbies). The team is going younger now because they have no choice. Not that you can blame him, what with all the championships, but no coach complained about the vet rule more loudly and publicly than Muscutt. And that was back in the halcyon days of five per team.
Everybody sitting down?

No really, brace yourselves.

UHL transactions. Rockford Ice Hogs. Paul Vincent, placed on waivers.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Transactions! Get your fresh hot transactions here!
Jason Baird returns to North America? It's a lot sooner than December.
RiverKings fans can officially rest easy -- because Cote was not a Phantom in the first place, they can't just call him up and send him to another league, the way they could have if he'd been someone they assigned. Any playing that he does at the "AA" level will be for Memphis.
No, it's not the Flyers, but at least faithful "Inky" readers like myself are still getting a regular dose of Tim Panaccio via his Phantoms coverage. Item of note, especially to Memphis fans:

Riley Cote, a 6-foot-1, 170-pounder who looks like he just left a bar brawl in Fishtown, joined the Phantoms on a 10-day tryout. He had 258 penalty minutes in 57 games for the Dayton Bombers of the ECHL last season. Cote began the game on [Patrick] Sharp's line with Northeast Philly's Tony Voce.

Just remember, going to the AHL does not count as bailing on your contract, and it's especially not the same thing as going to the UHL. And the lockout does not mean there are more jobs in the AHL, it means there are less. Why do you think the likes of Crowley, Lundbohm and Chris Hartsburg are playing in our league?

It's a bit mystifying really, that the Phantoms don't already have a full-time enforcer, or someone to call up from the ECHL. And it would truly suck (and would count as bailing on his contract even if it's not legally enforceable) if, after the tryout, the Phantoms wanted to sign Cote to a contract and keep him up I-95 in Trenton.

But if it came down to that, he'd be crazy not to do it -- so long as he really had a shot to stick with the organization and get chances to keep playing at the next level.

Ideally, the Phantoms will just send him back to Memphis and hang on to his phone number. It's a real feather in the cap for Cote that he's even up there now -- there were dozens of CHL players in AHL camps this year, none of whom have gotten called back up just yet. Granted, it's all about the role, but the Phantoms were a deep team to begin with and are carrying three Flyers who wouldn't otherwise be on the club. Again, there's fewer jobs to go around, not more.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

It didn't make the Caller web site, but here's something Greg Rajan wrote up on Friday:


A story in Thursday's Toronto Sun caused ripples around the CHL. The story, on former NHLer turned Fort Worth Brahma Lonny Bohonos, stated he was earning an eye-popping $1,500 per week. The CHL's weekly salary cap is $8,500.

Brahmas general manager Mike Barack said there was miscommunication between the Sun reporter and Brahmas coach Al Sims. Barack said "the question that came up was what possibly could be the highest dollar amount a player could make. . Al said it could be $1,500 and it got reported as Lonny Bohonos makes $1,500."

Barack declined to disclose Bohonos' salary but said it was "commensurate with a high-end player in the Central Hockey League." Barack also said he would seek a correction from the Sun.

Ok, I accept this explanation at face value -- neither Sims nor Bohonos actually meant to publicly admit he makes $1500.

And who exactly does "commensurate with a high-end player in the Central Hockey League" refer to? Joe Burton? Don Parsons? Greg Pankewicz? Brent Cullaton?

Meanwhile, every team in the league received a fax on Friday reminding them of the salary cap rules and penalties. A coincidence I'm sure.

Moving on... does this mean the Bees are better than the Rayz? Actually, no -- at least not based on Rio's game against the Scorps. New Mexico looks very good, but Bees coach Tracey Egeland said he was disappointed with the work ethic of every single one of his returning players in that game.

Bats fans are buzzing about defenseman Vinnie Jonasson, who had two goals and an assist on Friday. He's a Rayz castoff who didn't do too badly on that awful Lubbock team; after the Bees-Scorps game Daniel Tetrault spoke highly of him. (Tetrault and Jonasson both played for the CHL All-Star team otherwise known as the mid-'90s Brandon Wheat Kings).

And speaking of Tetrault, if the Bats don't make a run at the division title, with 80-90 points from Richards, that trade's not gonna look so good -- even though it simply had to happen at the time, and the trade itself is probably what shook Tetrault from his languor. The former CHL Defenseman of the Year -- a non-veteran, unlike Austin's two ex-Scorps -- looks to be in top physical condition, is already playing with great confidence and has apparently been given the "C" by Bill McDonald.

Hey, maybe Steve Belkin could help out the Toronto Sun with that retraction.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

I can't think of a more ignorant reaction to last night's Killer Bees-Team Mexico game than "wasted effort" or "why'd they play the game?" or "not a good way for the Bees to get prepared."

I mean, ok, maybe it was a waste of time for Bees goaltender Terry Dunbar, who only faced three shots, but then, he's probably not gonna make the final roster anyway. And Tracey Egeland did admit he wasn't paying attention to the finer points of line combos or players on the bubble.

But that's not what this was all about. No one expected a good game (10-1, was my prediction). And for the teams participating, these contests (ok, "contests") are in addition to, not instead of, proper preseason tilts.

Anyway, the game was -- yes, I'm really gonna say this -- closer than the final score.

Well, for 20 minutes anyway. Mexico worked hard, and were well-coached in their defensive system. They were simply overmatched, and eventually that took both a physical and mental toll. Cue 11-goal explosion.

Thing is, there were no unhappy faces walking off the ice.

"It's a great experience for us to play here," said Team Mexico coach Joaqin De La Garma. "We've never played against a professional team. I'm happy with my team because all they did was work, work work. We have an invitation for next year to come again -- playing next year would be great."

Goaltender Diego De La Garma, the coach's son, faced 52 shots, stopping 44. Asked if he'd ever experienced such a barrage, he responded, "Nothing like this. It's like a dream come true."

Typical masochistic goalie. Or else something got lost in the translation.

But the point is, these kids were thrilled to be playing a minor pro hockey team, excited to get this kind of publicity and hopeful of a bright future for Mexican hockey -- for the national team, for recreational players, and, of course, for the CHL in Monterrey come 2005. It's no different from a I-AA football team visiting Texas or Nebraska for a beating. I'm just sorry they weren't selling Team Mexico pucks.

It was also cool of healthy scratch Ryan Shmyr to camp out by the rink door, greeting the Mexican players as they left the ice.

"The best thing to take from this was, it was a good experience for them and it was a good experience for us," said Egeland. "In the bigger picture it's good for hockey. It's good to promote the game. 10 years ago -- even three years ago -- there never would have even been a game like this. It's something that I'll remember, and that I'm sure most of the guys will remember."

Friday, October 15, 2004

Brendan Morrow to the Blazers?

And would this be a Lukowich type deal, or just for a few games? Because there has been some talk of coming up with a framework where locked out players join a team for just a game or two (or three, or half a dozen). "Promotional appearances," essentially, except they'd take a lot more shifts than Manute Bol.
Now that's publicity!

I'm heading down to Rio Grande to see the game tonight.
Hey Ken Richardson fans... do you know which team would have the chance to sign him if he came out of retirement?

A team that's practicing in Corpus Christi. But not the one that's coached by Ken McRae.
Twenty-friggin'-eight. That's how old Wayne Gretzky was the night he bypassed Gordie Howe on This Day In Sports.

Thursday, October 14, 2004


Dallas Anderson, 2002

Dallas Anderson, 2004

Is it any wonder people want to kick his ass?
And speaking of cheating -- it's not often you get the equivalent of a smoking gun in the Toronto newspaper.

I know, I know, don't believe everything you read... but I'll bet you... oh, let's say, $1500 a week for the next six months... that the figure on Bohonos' standard player contract is lower than that.

Or at least, it was.

And while I defended the signing as being on the level at the time, now you gotta wonder -- is Brad Lukowich making $725 because that's what he counts against the cap, or was he always making that (or more)? Though in the bigger picture, it's not like he really needs the money.

Oh well, at least now we know (if you click on the preceding link) he isn't mad at Sauter.

Meanwhile, in that same Oke City thread from my last post, our favorite ornery Fort Worth fan implies that Lonny's gonna be the best player in the league, to which someone else responded, the best player in the league's still in Laredo.

We'll see. After all, Jeff Bes was a mere point-per-game player in the ECHL. Bohonos was a point-per-game player in the Swiss League, and has never played below the AHL. For that matter, if Chad Woollard was on a good team with Brent Cullaton and Chris Grenville as his linemates, he might have been the best player in the league.
Summing up a bit of Blazers chatter:

1. Sauter's not recruiting like he used to.

2. Pshaw, his old teams didn't look good on paper either.

Now, the Walrus' accomplishments speak for themselves. But to imply that he routinely amassed a plucky group of no-names who would then triumph over superior-on-paper, draft-pick-laden opposition, is pretty hard for me to swallow.

For one thing, where players were drafted by the NHL, or even what level of junior or college they came up from, is not the sole defining factor of their quality, let alone a team's quality.

Seems to me the Blazers won big when they had the horses (and I don't mean Clydesdales) -- in goal, up front, with just enough on D.

I've said it before and I'll say it again -- everyone who reads this blog looks around the league and plays the guessing game: "which teams might be cheating?" The Blazers no longer get accused of it. They no longer seem to be a "have." That's as big a recruiting reality as Sauter's connections or willingness to work the phones.

And speaking of cheating, I've said this before as well, but remind yourself that it exists next time you bitch about the vet rule. More vets means more cheating. The owners must protect themselves from themselves because so many people do it and it's nearly impossible to bust someone.

Fans live in a fantasy land about this issue. They bitch about other teams, never think about their own and act like you're accusing their favorite player of being in Al-Quaeda if you imply they aren't on the level.

But players and coaches know what guys are worth. They know when a player they tried to sign for $600 goes to another team for $400. And the players talk amongst themselves about this stuff, because while no team likes losing to a team they think is puffing up its roster, no one would ever begrudge one of their brethren getting the most money he can. If you asked around the league -- and they were they willing to admit it -- you'd find that nearly every decent player has taken extra money or amenities at some point in their career. Which means that somebody is paying it.

Financially, the vet rule only accomplishes what should happen anyway if everything was on the level. That is, if you have 18 guys and have incredible success, 12 of them deserve a raise. That means you have to get rid of half a dozen. Happened to Laredo twice now, even with the two-ways.

The owners also like the parity. They want to break up dynasties. They want the great team that can only keep 10 players from the year before to have to start anew.

So of course Mudbugs fans like the vet rule least -- especially this year, when they've got six or seven stalwarts fighting it out. Anyone else think Scott Muscutt pretty much made Jim Sprott's retirement decision for him, only at the last minute he decided he didn't feel much like a press conference after all?
Let's hear it for the Corpus Christi Rage!
According to the so-called experts, Doug Shedden has his work cut out for him. The Winnipeg Sun picks St John's last in the AHL North, while The Hockey News has them last in the entire Western Conference, 14th out of 14.
$250,000 into the lockout fund from Atlanta Thrashers minority owner Steve Belkin, who told the "Boston Herald":

We are going to try everything we can to resolve this. If we reach an impasse and it goes on for a year, we will attempt to bring in other players. That's not good for anyone. That's a last resort. But if that's the only alternative, say, a year from now, we'll probably proceed with doing that, and then hopefully start building up the caliber of the players over a period of time.

Then said:

I deeply regret the comments I made to the Boston Herald, which were my personal, uninformed views, and not those of the Atlanta Thrashers' ownership and management -- nor those of the National Hockey League.


Wednesday, October 13, 2004

ESPN's E.J. Hradek's solution to the lockout.
Greg Rajan enters the blog world. Make sure you click on that to read his interview with Hitch.

But dude, who cares about your fantasy football team? At least when I bore people it's about the Flyers.

Monday, October 11, 2004

And just like that, Scott Allison is no longer the highest drafted player in CHL or CHL/WPHL history. Meet Laredo Bucks center Scott Kelman.
Lonny Bohonos? Welcome back to the big-time, Fort Worth Brahmas (in other words, enjoy all the success while other fans accuse your team of cheating).

Amarillo press release:

[Brent] Hughes had an outstanding rookie season for the Ice Bats where he was nominated for the CHL's Rookie-of-the-Year Award.

Sure, if "nominated" refers to the fact that all 17 teams were allowed to submit the name of their best rookie.

Hughes' failure to be one of the five finalists is something I discussed back then.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Former Fayetteville, Lubbock and Macon player Mark Green ends his troubled life. Condolences to his family and friends.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Cool Runnings 2: Chris Chelios hopes to join the Greek bobsled team

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Bryan Lundbohm. That was the guy I meant.

And check it out, in addition to Bryan and not one but two Andys, there's David with the Lowell Lock Monsters.
Heh... the new CHL-U bulletin board software won't let anyone say "cock."

As in, Hitchcock.

At first I thought it was a joke about the way he talks in practice.
A brief alumni transaction round-up:

Tuesday: ex-Brahma Lee Jacobson, fresh from a year of boxing, to Mississippi. Mike Minard, who no longer has to worry about getting jerked around by an NHL team, to Columbia, along with Greg Amadio. And goaltender Mark Cairns to Augusta.

Monday: Chris Minard to Alaska.

Older news: Marco Emond and Dan McIntyre are teammates/roommates up in Flint.

And hey, it turns out Ken Hitchcock really does want another chance to pick on Lukowich!.

The exiled Flyers coach will spend next week in Corpus, working with the Scorps and Rayz.

Hitch has always been a great supporter of the CHL, and it's a great thing for those players. Let's face it, the man is incapable of going seven or eight days in a row without teaching some hockey.

Advice to Shawn Legault: read up on Antietam.
It would seem Periard even turned down Beaumont to play for Corpus.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Ken McRae and Bryan Elliott outflank Austin (who had him once before) and Laredo (since he was in the Rampage camp) by signing Dominic Periard
Would this be the most authoritative speculation on the lockout?

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Hockey Gladiators to Lowell, MA? What's funny is in August a few people made fun of the founder for saying they might do it "in six months," since the presumption was the NHL would take priority. Guess we'll see about that.
Nathan Grobins joins Greg Hewitt in Elmira.
USA Today's Kevin Allen has a piece in last week's Hockey News that reads like a rebuttal to Mike Ulmer.

He's optimistic about the younger generation of US players, figures guys like Modano, Guerin and Tkachuk can still contribute in 2006 if needed, and most of all, just L-O-V-E-S loves Chris Chelios.

When you consider his leadership with his on-ice performance, he might be the greatest American player ever... He should become to American hockey what Wayne Gretzky is to Canadian Hockey.

The article is not online, but here's a previous piece by Allen on the same subject.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Lockout talk.

It sounds so reasonable to say, "hey, the NBA has a salary cap, why can't the NHL?"

But while the NBA cap was $43.8 million in 2003-2004, look at what the actual payrolls were:

1) New York Knicks $94.5 million
2) Portland Trail Blazers $84.3
3) Dallas Mavericks $78.6
4) Minnesota Timberwolves $72.4
5) Sacramento Kings $69.5
6) Los Angeles Lakers $64.8
7) New Jersey Nets $63.1
8) Atlanta Hawks $63.1

The next 13 teams were also anywhere from $1 million to $12 million over.

In other words, the NBA "salary cap" looks a lot like the NHL status quo. There's a massive gap between the haves and have-nots, only a few teams really have a chance to win the championship and several clubs pay way too much for way too little. The Spurs and Pistons are the equivalent of the Devils and the Lightning, mid-sized payroll teams who win.

Give Bob Goodenow a "soft cap" like the NBA's and the lockout could end next week. Wouldn't solve anything, but let's not buy into ownership's myth that the players are stubbornly refusing to consider a system that works in other sports.
Bobby Clarke on Jeremy Roenick:

So much of J.R. is just talk. There is no speed bump between his brain and his mouth.

Kind of like Doug Sauter. The Walrus wasn't trying to run down the Brahmas or his godson, he's just incapable of expressing himself diplomatically. As a journalist, I gotta love that. What he says to the press is the same thing he'd say over a beer, or on the phone with Bernie Lukowich. Not great public relations, but in a world of stock answers and no comments, at least he adds a little color.

And obviously Lukowich is still not a Top 4 defenseman in the NHL on any but the worst teams. He spent most the finals as a #7. He knows nothing about his career is guaranteed, and it's likely financial value will go down after the lockout. He's hungry to continue his career and can't afford to lose his edge, so he's playing in the CHL to keep it. Sauter just gave his take on that plain truth in a less sunshiney ("not that great of a player") way.

I wasn't planning to bring up the Mudbugs Boilers Newsletter again, but then I saw the Times story about "closure". What, no interview with the guy who wrote "Ask Rufus?"
Larry Linde must be jealous of this one:

(Port Huron player Mat) Goody, a 6-foot-2, 250-pound forward, is helping the Beacons with their ticket drive, starting Tuesday, by staying in a tent next to the McMorran box office. He will not be able to leave -- or shower and shave -- until the United Hockey League team has sold 800 season tickets or 2,000 tickets to its home opener, Oct. 22 against the Fort Wayne Komets.

What the story doesn't tell you is, Goody has a selfish motive: 7,920 penalty minutes will be added to his career statistics.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Guess all's well in Hidalgo now.

What a shock, there isn't gonna be a Federal Hockey League. Or a WHA.

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