Recchi Not Committed to WHA Yet
Mark Recchi confirmed he spoke to Jeremy Roenick about the WHA tourney that is scheduled to be held in May, but he wasn’t sure how his name got on the list of players according the Post-Gazette (via Jamie Fitzpatrick).
At the time of this posting Recchi’s name is not on the player list.
The WHA declined to comment.
From the PG story:
Recchi said that if he declines to participate, “they won’t have a hard time replacing me,” and expressed misgivings about money that will go to the players. The WHA Web site said there will be “$2 million in prize money” and each participant reportedly will receive $20,000, but Recchi said he feels this should not be a for-profit venture for his colleagues.
“I’m not too keen on part about getting paid,” he said. “I’d rather it all go to charity. I want to do it for the right reasons. I don’t want to do it for money.”
Assuming the tournament goes ahead, the big question isn’t who will play. It’s, how will they play? There’s $2 million in prize money at stake, small change by NHL standards. If you’re a pro hockey player, are you ready to go through walls to win a short, meaningless, one-off tournament?
It’s good to know Recchi doesn’t think the tourney will have a hard time finding players, but both articles hint that money won’t be a factor in play. If that’s the case, then the tournament could be doomed for entertainment failure. The last thing anyone wants to do is watch the OSHL again. I think a possible extra 100k per player (estimated from the $2 million prize) will indeed be enough to motivate some. Quite a few players here in NA and Europe are playing with passion simply because they’re being paid and that it means something to at least part of the roster, and the desire to win can certainly rub off. While a few on the list make some nice cash in the NHL, quite a few don’t and I have little doubt this money is all the incentive needed to make them play hard - and that could be enough to have the snowballing “I don’t want to be shown up” effect and give us some emotionally-charged hockey.