The one fact that has been universally overlooked is that, in the past, there were only six major league hockey teams, providing only 108 NHL jobs for more than 1,000 professional hockey players. As a result many extremely gifted players were forced to play in the minor leagues. Certainly one of the most desirable results of expansion is that more than 100 of these players will now have the chance to prove they can play in hockey's major league.
As chairman of the California Seals Hockey Club, I feel confident that we have drafted a team that can compete with anybody in hockey and that we can win our share of games next year against the established teams in the Eastern Division. It is true that the old teams lost very few from their National League playing rosters of last season, but when you stop to think how much money and time was spent developing these 15 top players in each organization, nobody, in all fairness, could possibly expect the teams to give them up.
I would also have to say that those people who have labeled our players "castoffs" and "pickups" have not hurt us. In fact, they have given our coaches a tremendous psychological weapon. Any man playing for an expansion club next year who has not taken offense at these various labels does not deserve to call himself a professional athlete.
BARRY VAN GERBIG