The World Hockey Association (French: Association mondiale de hockey) was a professional ice hockey major league that operated in North America from 1972 to 1979. It was the first major league to compete with the National Hockey League (NHL) since the collapse of the Western Hockey League (1952–74). Although the WHA was not the first league since that time to attempt to challenge the NHL's supremacy, it was by far the most successful in the modern era. The WHA tried to capitalize on the lack of hockey teams in a number of major American cities and mid-level Canadian cities, and also hoped to attract the best players by paying more than NHL owners would.
The WHA had an acrimonious relationship with the NHL, resulting in numerous legal battles, as well as competition for control of players and markets. In spite of this, merger talks began almost immediately, as the WHA was constantly unstable, with franchises occasionally relocating or folding in the middle of the season. NHL owners voted down a 1977 plan to merge six WHA teams (the Edmonton Oilers, New England Whalers, Quebec Nordiques, Cincinnati Stingers, Houston Aeros, and Winnipeg Jets) into the NHL before a 1979 merger was approved. As a result, the WHA ceased operations, and four teams joined the NHL for the 1979–80 season: the Edmonton Oilers, New England Whalers, Quebec Nordiques, and Winnipeg Jets.
The Broncos folded before the start of the season, the negotiating rights to their picks were transferred to the Cleveland Crusaders. Similarly the Screaming Eagles never took to the ice, and their picks were transferred to the Philadelphia Blazers. The Oil Kings changed their name to the Alberta Oilers.