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HOCKEY HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 27: NOT- SO-SECRET AGENTS MEETING
Published October 27, 1994
NHLPA Exec Dir Bob Goodenow meets today with about 30-40 player agents, a constituency from which "there have been grumbles and complaints emanating. ... His ability to cement their backing could be a key factor in maintaining player solidarity as the players begin to miss paycheques. If the agents begin to bail, their clients won't be far behind" (Damien Cox, TORONTO STAR, 10/27). CANADIAN PRESS' Alan Adams describes the agents as split among the "hawks, doves and the nod-the-head gang" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 10/27). Briefing the media and execs in FL, NHL Senior VP & Dir of Hockey Ops Brian Burke hoped for some progress from today's summit: "The agents played a very significant role in settling the 1992 strike, and they could play a significant role again" (Roy Cummings, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 10/27). THE SOLIDARITY CUP: Brett Hull and Luc Robitaille were the first two NHL stars to commit to the NHLPA's two-day "Four on Four Challenge" in Hamilton on November 11-12. The round-robin event will feature four teams of NHL players -- from the U.S., Ontario, Quebec and Western Canada. For now, the only plans are to air the event in Canada, but NHLPA Dir of Communications Steve McAllister said the possibility of a U.S. broadcast is still being explored (Viv Bernstein, HARTFORD COURANT, 10/27). Gabe Macaluso, CEO of Hamilton's Copps Coliseum, said the 17,500-seat arena will be sold out. Macaluso: "We haven't had anything like this since the final game of Canada-Russia in 1987" (Len Hochberg, WASHINGTON POST, 10/27). Bruins President Harry Sinden: "I hope they do play them. Maybe then they'll understand how hard it is to stage a game" (BOSTON HERALD, 10/27). IF IT'S TUESDAY, THIS MUST BE HELSINKI: Wayne Gretzky is planning a "goodwill tour" in Europe, with a group of elite players playing local clubs in European hockey cities, probably sometime in December. Gretzky said it is an idea he has had for two years, "but the NHL has squashed it." Gretzky: "What I want to do is make it very legitimate hockey, make it good, competitive, strong hockey, strong enough that television would love to buy it and support it." Tentative sites include Helsinki, Stockholm, Dusseldorf, Bern and Milan (Al Strachan, TORONTO SUN, 10/27). Gretzky will not be available to play in the NHLPA's Hamilton tournament, due to a previously planned Caribbean cruise (Jim Taylor, Vancouver PROVINCE, 10/27). OTHER NEWS & NOTES: The league denied a SPORTING NEWS report that federal mediator John Martin could join the talks as early as Tuesday. NHL VP of Communications Arthur Pincus: "As we have said over the past few weeks, we are not at the point where mediation or arbitration can help the process. We have got to get some common ground first" (Al Strachan, TORONTO SUN, 10/27)....Mighty Ducks coach Ron Wilson and 21 other members of the team's coaching and admin staff are taking other jobs within the Disney organization (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 10/27).