An unnamed ownership group has secured a World Hockey Association franchise for Phoenix for the inaugural 2004-05 season, WHA co-founders Nick Vaccaro and Allan Howell announced Tuesday.
“An ownership group has emerged with a franchise fee for Phoenix,” said Howell. “They have asked to remain unnamed until a building lease at the preferred America West Arena can be negotiated and we will, naturally, honor that request. We can say that they have considerable experience in major sports franchise administration and will be welcomed into the WHA fold.”
The new WHA, a reincarnation of the league that operated between 1972 and 1979, will begin play in the fall of 2004 in as many as 12 cities in North America.
This marks the second time a Phoenix franchise has competed in the WHA. The Phoenix Roadrunners played for three seasons starting in 1974.
“Phoenix will be a perfect geographical fit for us,” said Vaccaro. “We have had significant interest for proposed franchises in three West Coast states and will have as few as two franchises in the West but perhaps as many as four.”