Multiple sources are reporting a major shift in the structure of the National Hockey League.
According to sources, the NHL is set to announce it will be absorbed into wrestling promoter Vince McMahon's World Wrestling Entertainment money machine. The price? No cash will change hands, but the NHL will be given a sizeable 0.00008% equity interest in the brawling empire.
A source at WWE, who declined to be identified, said "this is a natural fit: the NHL .... they've got the cartoon characters, we've got the crowds". He noted that some of the hockey league's colourful characters - Gary "The Brain" Bettmann, Don "The Intellectual" Cherry, Ron "Straight Man" Maclean, Boots "The Fraudster" Del Baggio, Brian "The Whisperer" Burke, Pierre "The Auctioneer" McGuire", Sean "The Diplomat" Avery, Wayne "The Choirboy" Gretzky - could move straight into WWE roles after exchanging their skates for ring attire.
"In fact", the source added, "we didn't believe them when they said they weren't scripted. We thought the major difference was that they didn't smash chairs over each other. But then, we've never done octopus throwing. At least this will finallly give the NHL that veneer of respectability it's been looking for".
One major sticking point was the exact title to be given Bettmann. This was resolved, the source said, by allowing him to use the prefix "Mr.", as in "that's Mr. Bettmann to you". It is thought that Bettmann's main future responsibility will be fantasy wrestling camps. "Make believe seems to be the area of his expertise" said the source.
Bettmann has been heard crowing around league headquarters about how this move would finally bring hockey to places like Des Moines, El Paso, Montgomery and other hot spots he has been trying to access for years.
In an interesting development, rumours also had it that the storied Toronto Maple Leafs were intent on forming a breakaway "Super Premier League", comprised of a founder's division (of which the Leafs would be the only member) and an industrial division (comprised of pickup teams from Miimico, Etobicoke, Pickering and other pockets of civilization around the Greater Toronto Area). The winners of each league would compete every spring for the Stanley Cup. "In that scenario, we could almost guarantee the Leafs would hoist Lord Stanley's Mug within 10 years" said a source confidently. One source confirmed that Blackberry mogul Jim Balsillie was going to be offered the chance to buy the entire industrial division. "I guess the teams will be doing a lot of text messaging" he joked.
As predictably as always, cries of outrage are being heard in Hamilton. "We'll shut them up" said a WWE source: "we'll arrange for a monster garden furniture show at the Copps Coliseum".
Added the source: "If this goes through and we take on the Ottawa team, it would be nice to throw in a few politicians". Just imagine if we had Michael "Big Eyebrows" Ignatieff, or Bob "The Quipster" Rae as a tag team against Jim "The Leprechaun" Flaherty and Stephen "The Mackerel" Harper. We could have a House of Commons Survivor Cage Match". (Editor's note: don't we already?).
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