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"SEVERE BLOW" TO CANADIAN TV IF NHL LOCKOUT IS NOT AVERTED
Published September 23, 1994
The possibility that the start of the NHL regular season "could be put on ice" would be a "severe blow" to CBC-TV, according to the network's head of sports, Alan Clark. Clark said that so far there is not "contingency plan" if a lockout occurs: "We must have hockey. Hockey wasn't broken so there was no need to fix it." Molstar Communications VP Ron Harrison, whose company produces "Hockey Night In Canada": "We are worried, but we are also helpless." Both Clark and Harrison mentioned the "added frustration that the current unrest creates, coming just when hockey fever is at an all-time high." CBC, which would have televised baseball's World Series, would not comment on what viewers would see if the hockey season is put on hold. TSN Public Relations officer Steve Rayment noted that unlike mainstream TV stations, TSN has "fewer fallback options in the case of a lockout": "For the NHL to go out in the wake of the baseball situation would be another blow to TSN" (MacLeod/Campbell/McKee, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 9/23). In the U.S., the Fox deal starts with the January, 1995 All-Star game. But if October 21's telecasts are not played on ESPN or ESPN2, the NHL will loose $2.7M in rights fees from ESPN (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 9/23).