Western Hockey League (minor pro)

Western Hockey League (Minor Pro)

Western Hockey League (minor pro)

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This article refers to the minor pro Western Hockey League operating from 1952 to 1974. For other leagues with the same name, see Western Hockey League

The Western Hockey League was a minor pro ice hockey league that operated from 1952 to 1974. Managed for most of its history by Hockey Hall of Fame member Al Leader, it was created out of the merger of the Pacific Coast Hockey League and the Western Canada Senior Hockey League. During the 1960s, the WHL moved into a number of large west coast markets including Los Angeles and San Francisco. There was speculation that Western Hockey League could grow into a major league capable of rivaling even the long-entrenched National Hockey League.

It was fears that the WHL would become a rival major league that finally convinced the National Hockey League to expand for the 1967-68 season.

In the 1965-66 and 1967-68 seasons, the WHL played an interlocking schedule with the American Hockey League.

Several factors led to the WHL's decision to cease operations after the 1973-74 season. The NHL and World Hockey Association had moved into many of its traditional markets, and the talent pool had become strained by the fast growth in the number of professional teams. When the NHL announced in June 1974 that the owners of both the Denver Spurs and Seattle Totems had been granted "conditional" NHL franchises (neither of which came to fruition), the WHL announced the same day that it was folding. A few of its...
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