New WHA2 team in 2004?

Special to the Reporter

David and Ruth Waronker, owners or part-owners of several WHA2 franchises, met with Birmingham Jefferson Civic Center (BJCC) officials Suzette Hunter and Frank Poe recently

to discuss the feasibility of placing a World Hockey Association (WHA) franchise in Birmingham for the 2004&045;05 season.

Also attending the meeting was Taylor Hall, majority owner of the WHA2 Alabama franchise that will play in the Birmingham suburb of Pelham.

The WHA2 franchise will work in close concert with a WHA Birmingham franchise.

&uot;Although downtown Birmingham will be without a hockey team for this season, we are hoping to provide a major pro team in the WHA for the 2004-05 season,&uot;

Waronker said.

The city has expressed an interest in returning hockey to the BJCC.

Birmingham had a franchise in the original WHA from 1976-79.

&uot;We are in the very early stages of exploring the market but we have begun putting together an investment group to raise the capital to fund a Birmingham WHA team,&uot;

Waronker said.

&uot;If the negotiations continue to go well, we plan on establishing an office in Birmingham in early fall, a full year before the WHA season would begin.&uot;