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HOCKEY HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 28: AGENTS STAND BEHIND BOB
Published October 28, 1994
"If anyone was anticipating an uprising against NHL players boss Bob Goodenow, it simply wasn't in the cards," writes Damien Cox in this morning's TORONTO STAR. A group of about 35 player agents that met with Goodenow yesterday "basically reaffirmed their support" (TORONTO STAR, 10/28). "Any hopes the owners might be able to drive a wedge between the agents and the union were dashed when Goodenow revealed the league cancelled its insurance policies on the players on Oct. 15 -- and didn't tell anyone. ... While the NHLPA has since agreed to pay the insurance premiums, the players were without medical, dental and life insurance for nearly two weeks" (Dave Fuller, TORONTO SUN, 10/28). This is a "blow" for NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, writes David Shoalts. "Now, not only is Bettman facing a smart, stubborn union leader, he is facing one with the unwavering support of all elements of his constituency" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 10/28). But, in her report on the Goodenow/agents summit, ESPN's Linda Cohn noted: "There is a sign union solidarity might be showing signs of weakening, at least among its younger players" ("SportsCenter," 10/27). CHECK THE RECORDS: According to a CANADIAN PRESS report, Goodenow also requested that the league's 26 owners release their financial records. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman "agreed to do so if the players agreed to return to work under the terms of the NHL's last collective bargaining proposal while an audit was done by a firm chosen by the NHLPA" (Nancy Marrapese, BOSTON GLOBE, 10/28). STARS ON TOUR: Bettman said he can't stop a proposed tour of Europe by a team of NHL stars led by Wayne Gretzky. But he did say: "I hope they don't reverse the strides we have made to improve our relationship with international hockey." Notified of Gretzky's plans, IIHF General Secretary Jan-Ake Edvinssson said they would need consent from local federations and the NHL before any games could be scheduled (George Gross, TORONTO SUN, 10/28). ESPN hockey analyst Mike Milbury called the proposed exhibitions "a real bad idea": "That takes care of the stars, but what about the other 650 guys who are out walking the dog or doing the dishes? What does it do for them?" (Nancy Marrapese, BOSTON GLOBE, 10/28). The first of four scheduled NHL players' charity games will be Sunday night in Sarnia, ONT, between a team of NHLers and the junior Sarnia Sting (Mult., 10/28). GRETZKY SPEAKS: Wayne Gretzky: "We want to play hockey, too. Kirk Muller wants to play hockey, I talked to him yesterday. Doug Gilmour wants to play hockey. I want to play hockey. Messier, he is out in L.A. saying he wants to play hockey. But, we are not going to do anything to step on Bob's toes. ... It is going exactly the way we were all told and we are just basically standing back and we have our trust in the Association" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 10/27). NO COMPARISON, SAYS NHL: The NHL released a statement in response to requests for comment on the NBA's decision to start its season under a no-strike/no- lockout agreement with its players' union. From the NHL: "The NBA arrangement preserves a status quo for that League that is competitively and economically sound. The NBA has had in place for more than 10 years a system designed to preserve the competitive balance and economic viability of its clubs and the financial well-being of its players. It makes good sense for the NBA to continue under a system like that. ... The NBA has assured itself what we accomplished a year ago -- playing one season without a CBA" (NHL). NHL Senior VP & Dir of Hockey Ops Brian Burke, on the NBA: "Let's see where they are a year from now." Burke also noted the NBA's salary cap, adding that he "hasn't heard the NHL players say they'll play with a cap this season while negotiations continue" (KNIGHT-RIDDER/SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 10/28). ON LAYOFFS & NO PAYOFFS: The Canucks gave layoff notices to their ticket manager and special events manager, but teams officials said to avoid further layoffs, Canucks employees may be shifted to work for the expansion NBA Grizzlies (VANCOUVER SUN, 10/28)....Maple Leaf Gardens Chair Steve Stavro announced there will be no Leafs layoffs until January at the earliest (TORONTO STAR, 10/28). But MLG also announced that, because of the lockout, it would not pay its customary quarterly dividend for the first quarter of FY '95. MLG announced its revenue is down $2.8M from a comparable period in '94 (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 10/28).