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Despite the first appearance of Michael Jordan in Vancouver, the Grizzlies did not sell out last Thursday's game against the Bulls (S.F. CHRONICLE, 12/5)....The Oilers still have about 22,000 seats available for Sunday's game against the Lions (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 12/5)....NEWSDAY's Jim Smith reports an Islanders source says Darcy Regier will serve as interim GM, with coach Mike Milbury being named GM after the season. Smith writes Milbury does not want the title right away because he doesn't want to be perceived as having "undermined" Don Maloney (NEWSDAY, 12/5).
Jets buyer Richard Burke yesterday decided that an offer from St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman to have the Jets play in the St. Paul Civic Center had too many questions at too late of a date, according to the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Burke said "serious discussions" would begin today to take the team to Phoenix to play in America West Arena. Burke was "very optimistic" a final deal will be in place within the week. He and partner Steven Gluckstern will now negotiate with Suns & Diamondbacks principal Jerry Colangelo, who is likely to become a Jets limited partner (Jay Weiner, Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 12/5). ESPN's Linda Cohn reported, "The Jets should be dropping the puck in Phoenix beginning next season" ("SportsCenter," 12/4). NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman released a statement yesterday thanking Coleman for his efforts and encouraged him to "pursue the necessary arrangements" to try and bring an NHL franchise to the city in the future (NHL). NEW AND IMPROVED: "In all likelihood," the Jets' name will change, and "it would not be surprising" to see some purple added to the team colors, according to the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. At a news conference yesterday, Colangelo said Burke talked of changing the team name to one with more of a regional theme. Colangelo said any changes would be up to Burke and Gluckstern, but added, "I wouldn't be surprised that there will be real consideration of a major name change and repackaging." Colangelo estimated the lowest priced tickets for games would be about $10, with the average ticket costing $34 -- which is also the league average. Colangelo also noted that while he does not have a hockey background, he is confident the team can be a success in Phoenix. Colangelo: "The business of sport is applicable to any sport. Whether it's a puck, a basketball or a baseball, the same principles apply" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 12/5). WHAT NOW FOR WINNIPEG? An IHL committee is expected to recommend today which franchise will move to Winnipeg for '96-97 (Rachel Blount, Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 12/5).
Officials from the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, the Oakland Football Marketing Association, and the city's police department plan another meeting today on controlling fans at Raiders games, according to the OAKLAND TRIBUNE. Officials already have announced an extra police squad will be on hand during the game against the Steelers this Sunday, bringing the total to 60 police and traffic officers assigned to the Coliseum during Raiders games. On Sunday, 72 people were ejected from the stadium, 32 were arrested and 14 were cited by police, but police Sgt. Bill McFarlane noted, "We could have done three times the business if we wanted to" (Robert Salladay, OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 12/5).