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Western Hockey League (minor pro): Wikis

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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 (disambiguation)

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, and 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.[citation needed]

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. As well, the owners of both the Denver Spurs and Seattle Totems had been granted "conditional" NHL franchises, neither of which, though, came to fruition. A few of its surviving teams were absorbed into the Central Hockey League.

The championship trophy of the WHL was the Lester Patrick Cup, which is currently on display at the Hockey Hall of Fame.

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