SBD/14/Franchises

LOCKOUT BACKLASH IN CANADA AS NHL TEAMS STRUGGLE AT THE GATE

     Outside of Calgary, a lockout backlash in Western Canada is
"certainly true," according to Mike Beamish of the VANCOUVER SUN.
The difficulties the Jets, Canucks, and Oilers have faced, both
on the ice and at the gate, is "the worst case of bad timing."
Poor attendance could be interpreted as "further evidence of
trouble with a Canadian 'small-market team.'"  Beamish: "Out
there in the desert, Suns' President Jerry Colangelo is doing the
relocation dance. ... The owners hoped-for 'footprint' in the
American sunbelt could become a stampede."  Beamish claims that
the "notion that a city's image depends on its ability to attract
and support professional sports is very much in vogue in the
United States.  Civic pride is not so much about peaceful
neighborhoods ... but whether the local arena has enough skyboxes
and club seats to keep the pro team satisfied" (VANCOUVER SUN,
2/14).
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