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JETS CLEARED FOR TAKE-OFF, BUT WILL LANDING BE SMOOTH?
Published October 5, 1995
As health care exec Richard Burke said yesterday that he expects to announce a deal this weekend to buy the NHL Jets at the end of the season, MN legislative leaders said state help for the team will be difficult to sell. Jay Weiner reports in this morning's Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE that MN House Speaker Irv Anderson said he is "not going to the wall" for a plan to help bring the team to the Target Center. A news conference in the Twin Cities is set for Sunday to announce that Burke has a deal for the team. But Burke has said he needs public aid to make the Jets a "viable franchise" at the Target Center. Anderson said he does not support a plan to give the team's owners a rebate on the Jets' players' state income taxes as a subsidy. Next Wednesday, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman will join Burke in a meeting with the State's Advisory Task Force on Professional Sports (Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE, 10/5). CONFLICT OF INTEREST? In this morning's Vancouver PROVINCE, columnist Kent Gilchrist writes that the "NHL's treatment of the city of Winnipeg and its loyal hockey fans is one of the sorrier aspects to the costly and drawn-out death of the Jets." Gilchrist notes speculation that NHL VP of Hockey Ops Brian Burke will be the President & COO of Richard Burke's Minnesota franchise, creating an "obvious conflict of interest." Gilchrist also asks who will be responsible for paying the $6M-plus contract of Keith Tkachuck this season: Manitoba taxpayers or Burke? Both had a stake in "the quick decision to match" the offer sheet the star had signed with the Blackhawks. Gilchrist writes if the Jets lose C$15M-20M this season, "there is no way the government's 36 percent ownership share of the sale will come close to covering losses. ... The league appears ready to further stick it to Winnipeg and Manitoba by making them pick up the first year of Tkachuck's contract and then hand the team over to Richard Burke" (Vancouver PROVINCE, 10/5).