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OTTAWA SUMMIT YIELDS LITTLE SUPPORT FOR CANADIAN TEAMS
Published May 3, 1995
"The fate of struggling franchises in Winnipeg and Quebec City remains in doubt today after the federal government signaled it's not prepared to sign a blank cheque to keep teams from moving to the United States," according to Mark Kennedy & Ken Warren in today's OTTAWA CITIZEN. Human Resources Minister Lloyd Axworthy and Finance Minister Paul Martin met with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, Jets Owner Barry Shenkarow and Nordiques Owner Marcel Aubut. Axworthy emerged from the meeting citing a "hard dose of reality" (OTTAWA CITIZEN, 5/3). The meeting provided "no magical solution" for the Jets and Nordiques, according to the Toronto GLOBE & MAIL. "There is no standing federal offer to save pro franchises for the sake of pride in the national game" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 5/3). ANTI-AMERICANISM: ESPN's Al Morganti noted that Winnipeg fans booed the U.S. National Anthem last night, saying that they view the Jets' situation as "a Canada-U.S. thing rather than a small market-large market thing." Asked what can be done for the smaller markets, Morganti cited the necessity for some form of revenue sharing. But he added, "Thus far, the owners haven't put their heads together to get this done, and I think at some point Gary Bettman's going to have to bang those heads together or just give up everything on the small markets" ("National Hockey Night," ESPN, 5/2). In a speech before the annual Canadian Press meeting in Toronto, Bettman acknowledged the NHL will be a "scapegoat" if the Jets and Nords move, but he defended the need for team "stability." Bettman: "This is not an attempt to take the game away from Canada, but to make the game as strong as possible." Bettman was hopeful Canadian losses would end with the two teams (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 5/3). Jets GM John Paddock, asked about the small-market/large-market issue during last night's game: "If we can't remain competitive, we shouldn't be here" ("National Hockey Night," ESPN, 5/2). THE WORD FROM QUEBEC: In Montreal, columnist Don MacPherson writes, "Here in Quebec, with a possible referendum looming, it's considered only a question of time until the Parizeau government announces that it will spend public funds to help the Nordiques wipe out their debt, build a bigger arena with luxury boxes, or both." But MacPherson considers any assistance for the Expos "a waste of public funds" (MONTREAL GAZETTE, 5/3). The Expos drew 46,515 for their home opener last night (GLOBE & MAIL, 5/3).