World Hockey Association
Of all the crazy semi-pro and pro leagues that have gone bust, the WHA was, by far, one of the most successful. Started by Dennis Murphy, as well as some other guys, this rival to the NHL got off to a great start. They put teams in under-served markets and lured NHL players away from their teams with more money, including nabbing Bobby Hull away from the Chicago Blackhawks for the Winnipeg Jets, for $2.75 Million over 10 years; a sum unheard of then. In total over 67 players jumped ship from the NHL.
They were in existence for 7 years, but all of those years were full of talks of mergers with the NHL as the WHA was financially unstable. When they did, only 4 teams came over – The Edmonton Oilers, Hartford Whalers (Carolina Hurricanes), Quebec Nordiques (Colorado Avalanche) and the Winnipeg Jets (Arizona Coyotes). You might also recognize one other name from the WHA – the great one himself, who got his start as a 17-year old player with the Indianapolis Racers.