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HOCKEY HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 76: INFORMAL TALKS YIELD LITTLE
Published December 15, 1994
Attorneys from the NHL and NHLPA met at an undisclosed site in New York, but without the principal players on each side, including NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Exec Dir Bob Goodenow. The negotiations "were between small groups with no power to strike a deal. But the lawyers had instructions to see if a breakthrough was possible in this situation that has locked out players and curtailed the regular season" (Joe Lapointe, N.Y. TIMES, 12/15). One source close to the talks: "What happens at these meetings may determine whether negotiations resume." It is expected that if both sides can identify some areas of compromise, bargaining will resume by the weekend (Alan Adams, CANADIAN PRESS/Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 12/15). Bruins Player Rep Dave Reid: "I wouldn't care if Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck were there as long as they settled it" (BOSTON HERALD, 12/15). IS THERE ANY HOPE? Agent Rich Winter: "Baseball left it and left it and left it, and I'm sure hockey will leave it, leave it and leave it to the last minute, and Bettman will try and squeeze out what he can -- he'll take it to the 11th hour" (Dave Fay, WASHINGTON TIMES, 12/15). In Toronto, Damien Cox reports some TV officials "have apparently been notified to have their cameras and microphones at the ready for Boxing Day [December 26], although for that to happen a deal would have to come together by the weekend" (TORONTO STAR, 12/15). But the OTTAWA SUN is reporting that the NHL "is prepared to offer teams in need a line of credit to cover losses during the lockout. Sources said that decision indicates the owners are preparing for the cancellation of the season" (Dave Fuller, TORONTO SUN, 12/15). TEAM GRETZKY: Wayne Gretzky, as his traveling all-star team closed out its European tour with a win in Germany: "I was taken back by the response [during the tour]. It's a clear sign that the NHL is accepted here and could be tremendously successful over here. How they want to do that, whether it's a division or what, is up to them. This has opened a few doors for everyone." As well as helping the game abroad, Tony Gallagher writes that Gretzky also boosted his own marketability. "He's had millions of dollars worth of offers so far, but he's turned down almost all, waiting until he returns to carefully select with whom he wishes to involve himself" (Vancouver PROVINCE, 12/15).