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ROWLAND'S STERN WARNING: SUN SHINING ON WHALERS?

     CT Gov. John Rowland "hardened his stance" on the Whalers
self-imposed ticket-selling deadline on WTNH-TV in New Haven
Thursday when he warned it could cost the Whalers money should
they break their Civic Center lease and leave for a new city.
The HARTFORD COURANT's Michael Arace reports Rowland called the
team's 11,000 -ticket deadline "somewhat artificial" and invoked
the two-year lease the Whalers have with the Civic Center, saying
"that contract is binding unless they spend a huge amount of
money to move out of the state."  Arace notes there "has been
some question" if the Whalers' lease requires team owners to pay
$10.5M or $25.5M to move prematurely. Though he admitted
Rowland's warning surprised him, Whalers President/GM Jim
Rutherford refused to comment on Rowland's statements (HARTFORD
COURANT, 5/10).  Meanwhile, the COURANT's Jeff Jacobs writes some
life was breathed into the Whalers when Sun International
committed to buy 120 season tickets.  Sun's Kevin DeSanctis,
managing partner of the Mohegan Sun casino, announced the tickets
will be donated to area youth.  The team had averaged 46 ticket
sales a day, which would have landed them 11,000 in time for the
'99-2000 season (HARTFORD COURANT, 5/10).
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