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In the current issue of SI, Austin Murphy offers a "warm Willkommen back" to the NFL's World League of American Football after its two-year hiatus. "In its reincarnation the league is emphasizing frugality -- players earn, on average $15,000 for the 10-week season -- and entertainment." The World League Experience, "designed to give Europeans an appreciation of football skills," mirrors the league's NFL Experience. Despite new rules, an all-European focus and heavy marketing efforts, "media coverage has been sparse, and attendance through the first six weeks of the season has been disappointing." Murphy notes that the play of the European "nationals" (each team carries seven Europeans) has improved greatly. If 6'6" German-born lineman Olaf hampel is right when he says that the presence of non-kicking European players in the NFL soon will be "no big deal," Murphy writes that the NFL's "experiment in Europe will not seem so wacky after all" (SI, 5/22 issue).
In its first five months, USA Hockey InLine has registered more than 56 in-line hockey leagues totalling more than 9,000 players. USA Hockey InLine's program follows that of USA Hockey, the national governing body for the sport in the U.S., including "sanctioning" of leagues and registration of players, coaches and referees. USA Hockey Exec Dir Dave Ogrean: "The tremendous response we've seen to USA Hockey InLine in the first five months of operation confirms our belief that interest in hockey, both on and off the ice, is at an all-time high in the United States." Four companies -- Karhu, USA (Jofa, Titen, Koho and Canadien), Canstar Sports USA (Bauer, Cooper), First Team Sports (Ultra Wheels), Hillerich & Bradsby of Canada (Louisville Hockey) -- have signed on as Gold Level Official Sponsors for USA Hockey InLine's first year. In addition, USA Hockey InLine has signed on former NHL player Brian Mullen as "Coach-in-Chief" and former WHA/NHL referee Ron Foyt as "Referee-in-Chief" (USA Hockey InLine).