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  • CANADIENS, MAPLE LEAFS HIT HARD BY LOCKOUT

         MLG REPORTS LOSSES:  Maple Leaf Gardens Ltd. reported
    yesterday a loss of C$565,219, or C$.15 a share, on revenues of
    C$33.9M for the nine months ended March 31.  Compared to last
    year, during a 10-month period, profits were C$4.9M ($1.36 a
    share) on revenues of C$47.8M.  The company also did not pay
    dividends in the quarter, making it the third time they have
    failed to pay out to shareholders since last September.  MLG's
    board blamed the losses on the NHL lockout, noting the Leafs
    played only 22 home games in the last nine months (Gayle
    MacDonald, FINANCIAL POST, 5/18).
         MOLSON SUFFERS 31% DROP IN EARNINGS:  Molson Cos. Ltd. has
    reporting a "disappointing" 31% drop in profit for fiscal '95,
    according to Marina Strauss in this morning's Toronto GLOBE &
    MAIL.  The drop in earnings was due to the lockout in the NHL and
    losses from its U.S. chemical business, Diversey Corp.  Molson
    owns the Canadiens and TV production unit Molstar Communications.
    While Molson Breweries reported a small profit in '95, the parent
    company said their profit dropped to $86.8M in '95, compared with
    $125.7M in '94 (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 5/18).  Analyst Michael
    Palmer called the report "an ugly document."  The hockey work
    stoppage cost Molson $15M in profits from the Canadiens and
    profits at Diversey Inc. dropped 42% (TORONTO STAR/CP, 5/18).
    Despite the losses, Molson CEO Marshall Cohen "dispelled any
    notion" the company would sell the Canadiens.  Cohen: "We view
    this as a legacy asset and will retain it" (Terry Weber,
    FINANCIAL POST, 5/18).
         LEAFS IN EASTERN CONFERENCE?  Maple Leafs President and GM
    Cliff Fletcher said yesterday that the team "won't be bumped"
    over to the Eastern Conference of the Nordiques relocate to
    Denver.  If the Nords do move to Denver, they would be placed in
    the Western Conference, leaving 13 teams in each conference
    (Damien Cox, TORONTO STAR, 5/18).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, Montreal Canadiens, NHL, Toronto Maple Leafs
  • KALAMAZOO WINGS CHANGE NAME, LOGO

          The IHL Kalamazoo Wings announced this week that they have
    changed their name and logo.  The change to the "Michigan K-
    Wings" is an effort to expand the team's regional reach.  The new
    logo contains the same "winged K" as in the last one, but it is
    now slanted and has the word "Wings" running through it.  The
    color scheme will remain green, black, white and gold, but the
    "winged K" will now have a center field of white with black and
    gold trim, with "Wings" colored green with black and white trim
    (Wings).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises
  • LITTLE SUPPORT SHOWN FOR KEEPING NORDS

         Nordiques fans "expressed disappointment" yesterday at Co-
    Owner Marcel Aubut's rejection of the government's offer to save
    the franchise, according to Rheal Seguin of the Toronto GLOBE &
    MAIL.  "But the vast majority of supporters refused to take to
    the streets just yet, preferring instead to watch from the
    sidelines the outcome of a face-to-face confrontation that will
    likely take place between Aubut and Premier Jacques Parizeau."
    Only 200-250 fans participated in a demonstration yesterday
    before the National Assembly in Quebec City.  A "handful" of taxi
    drivers honked their horns and people carried hockey sticks and
    placards in support of the team.  The demonstrators also carried
    a petition signed by more than 75,000, urging the government to
    keep the team from moving to the U.S. (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL,
    5/18).
         PUBLIC CHOICES:  Nordiques fans "ran up against" another
    group of demonstrators protesting the government's decision to
    shut-down seven Montreal hospitals.  According to Seguin, the two
    demonstrations "symbolized the divisions expressed by many
    Quebecers.  On the one hand many support the government's offer
    to the Nordiques but draw the line by insisting that public money
    should not be doled out at the expense of further cutbacks" in
    health care and other government programs (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL,
    5/18).  In Quebec City, LE SOLEIL columnist Jean-Guy Lemieux
    argues that subsidizing a team is as valid as funding museums and
    theaters, and says losing the Nordiques would be a "national
    catastrophe" for a society which considers Patrick Roy to be
    their Luciano Pavarotti (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 5/18).
    

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  • MEADOLWANDS AUTHORITY MAKES OFFER TO KEEP THE DEVILS

         The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority made an offer
    yesterday to keep the Devils from moving to Nashville, according
    to the N.Y. TIMES.  The offer came only a day after the Nashville
    Metro Council passed a "package of inducements" to lure a team to
    a new arena in the city.  Terms of the NJSEA's offer were not
    released and "it was not apparent how far the agency went to
    satisfy claims" that the Devils had made in a challenge of their
    lease at Brendan Byrne Arena.  Representatives of both the NJSEA
    and of NJ Gov. Christine Todd Whitman refused to say whether the
    offer was a "significant improvement" over the current terms of
    the team's lease.  Whitman spokesperson Carl Golden:  "Just
    because an offer was made is not tantamount to a confirmation
    that he [Devils Owner John McMullen] isn't making enough money.
    The offer is just part of a process" (Richard Sandomir, N.Y.
    TIMES, 5/18).  The N.Y. POST's Larry Brooks asks why NHL
    Commissioner Gary Bettman hasn't "stepped up to do the right
    thing now, which is to protect the state of New Jersey and Devils
    fans from the threat of a Nashville heist?  He shouldn't wait for
    a call from Trenton.  He should make it" (N.Y. POST, 5/18).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, New Jersey Devils, NHL, YankeeNets
  • MONEY'S IN PLACE FOR JETS TO STAY: WILL OTTAWA BUCK UP?

         With sources claiming that private investors trying to keep
    the Jets in Winnipeg have reached their C$60M cash goal, the
    potential deal "dangled" by a C$17M thread last night, as
    Canadian federal officials "balked" at coming up with C$37M for a
    new arena, according to John Douglas in this morning's WINNIPEG
    FREE PRESS.  Jets Owner Barry Shenkarow set a deadline for noon
    today for local investors to get a deal together, or the team
    will be sold to a MN group led by health care entrepreneur
    Richard Burke.  Yesterday, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister
    Andre Ouellet said that the city could expect to receive only
    C$20M of the C$37M needed from the Federal government to build an
    arena. However, Human Resources Minister Lloyd Axworthy's staff
    "worked into the night negotiating with the prime minister's
    office" in an effort to get the full amount  (WINNIPEG FREE
    PRESS, 5/18).  In Vancouver, Jim Taylor reports that the Federal
    government will contribute a C$25M grant today, with a C$12M loan
    "that will be forgiven if not repaid over the next 10 years"
    (Vancouver PROVINCE, 5/18).
         STEEL CAGE MATCH:  Last night, "in a meeting that more
    resembled a World Wrestling Federation main event," the Winnipeg
    City Council voted 13-3 pick up the C$37M tab for a third of the
    arena cost.  John Douglas reports that "packed galleries cheered
    and gave high-fives to councilors who supported the public
    funding of a new arena while booing and waving goodbye at the
    three politicians who voted against the plan."  Earlier in the
    week, Manitoba Premier Gary Filmon pledged C$37M in provincial
    support for the new, C$111M, 16,000-seat arena (WINNIPEG FREE
    PRESS, 5/18).
         WILL THE NHL PUT THE KIBOSH ON THE PEG?  Despite a report
    yesterday by Minneapolis' Fox affiliate, Jets Owner Barry
    Shenkarow says the league will not reject the local offer to keep
    the team in Winnipeg.  The FREE PRESS' Scott Taylor reports,
    "Shenkarow said the league would have no problem with any
    decision he made."  Minneapolis' Fox station ran a report "that
    suggested the league would turn down any deal to keep the Jets in
    Winnipeg because the league "did not believe the team could be
    viable" in Winnipeg.  NHL VP of Public Relations Arthur Pincus
    said the league would not comment on the situation, but did say
    that they would "stand by" a press release issued by Shenkarow
    last week that detailed the possibility of a local buyer stepping
    in to save the team (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 5/18).
         DO YOU TAKE THIS TEAM?  WE DO:  2,500 fans paid C$100 apiece
    last night for a Jets fund-raiser held at the Winnipeg Convention
    Center, including a couple to be married next month that gave up
    their honeymoon money to keep the Jets in town.  Bride-to-be
    Karen Dowhan: "We just broke into our wedding money and said,
    'That's it.'"  Meanwhile, companies locally and across Canada
    continue to chip in, with Canada's five largest banks
    contributing a total of C$1.25M to the cause.  Coca-Cola
    Bottling-Winnipeg is donating C$.10 for each case of Coke sold
    over the next ten days -- a possible donation of C$40,000 (FREE
    PRESS, 5/18).  STILL EXPECTING IN 'SOTA:  MN Legislators are
    exploring the possibility of offering the public an opportunity
    to buy shares in the Jets to recoup any contribution the state
    may offer Burke to help bring the team to the Target Center (Jay
    Weiner, Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE, 5/17).
    

    Print | Tags: Coca-Cola, Franchises, New York Jets, News Corp./Fox, NHL
  • SOUTH FLORIDA GROUP GAMBLING ON LAS VEGAS CFL FRANCHISE

         A South FL investment group led by Bruce Frey has signed a
    "letter of intent" to purchase the now-defunct Las Vegas CFL
    franchise rather than pursue expansion options, according to the
    MIAMI HERALD.  The deal should take "two or three months" to
    complete, upon which the team will move to Miami and begin
    playing in the Orange Bowl in June '96.  The team will be called
    the Miami Manatees and will not play this year in order to have
    more time to complete the transaction.  Frey's group chose to pay
    $1.45M for the Las Vegas franchise rather than acquire an
    expansion team.  Frey:  "There were advantages financially to
    doing it this way" (Barry Jackson, MIAMI HERALD, 5/17).
    

    Print | Tags: CFL, Franchises
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