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         North American charities could lose "hundreds of thousands
    of dollars in donations as a result of a feud" between the NHL
    and the NHLPA over the annual SuperSkills Competition, according
    to Dave Fuller of the TORONTO SUN.  The SUN reports that 26
    SuperSkills events which produce finalists for the an All-Star
    weekend competition had to be cancelled for '96-97 after the
    NHLPA withdrew its support.  League VP Brian Burke "promised" the
    All-Star Weekend will include a skills event, but "that's small
    consolation to Toronto charities which have reaped more than
    C$150,000 as a result of the SuperSkills competitions" at MLG.
    Leafs spokesperson Bob Stellick said the event drew 16,000 fans
    last year and is "one of our most important events."  But fewer
    than 1,000 fans attended events in Miami, Denver and New Jersey
    last year, causing NHLPA Exec Dir Bob Goodenow and players "to
    opt out."  The Leafs received Goodenow's permission to run their
    own Skills event, but the league "is threatening to close them
    down."  Burke said the league has yet to approve the event as
    talks are ongoing with the NHLPA to continue the competition
    (TORONTO SUN, 9/6).
         NHLPA'S VIEW: A union spokesperson told THE DAILY this
    morning that the NHLPA has questioned the "commitment and
    cooperation of some clubs" participating in the competition --
    particularly in terms of scheduling, but added the union is
    willing to work with individual teams where the event has
    experienced success (THE DAILY).

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, NHL

         The "operative issue" that MLB owners claim stands in the
    way of a labor deal with the players is the "second-tax free
    year," according to Murray Chass of the N.Y. TIMES.  But "the
    ease with which owners questioning a possible deal have moved
    from service time to a second tax-free year has raised the
    question" if the issue is a "genuine potential deal breaker," or
    a way for owners opposed to the deal to ruin it.  The answer
    could "become clear" when baseball's ruling Executive Council
    meets in Chicago next Wednesday.  The tax-free year would take
    affect in 2000 with a union option for 2001, which would mark the
    second year free of a luxury tax on player payrolls.  According
    to one unidentified owner, some owners don't like the sun-setting
    of a tax for one year, "let alone two."  The owner: "What kind of
    tax system comes and goes away?  The salary cap doesn't disappear
    in the NBA.  We could be back in the same mess and it might make
    it worse."  Chass notes the union has given owners concessions
    for the option on the second tax-free year in 2001, but the
    question remains if enough owners, 21 are needed for
    ratification, "believe the exchange is worthwhile, or will the
    agreement's opponents do enough damage to undermine the deal"
    (N.Y. TIMES, 9/6).
         DOING SOMETHING RIGHT: A poll on ESPN's SportsZone asked
    fans if they like the MLB's wildcard system.  Of respondents, 84%
    said yes, 16% no.  When asked if they liked the wildcard when it
    was first introduced last year, 63% said yes, while 37% said no
    ("Baseball Tonight," ESPN, 9/5).

    Print | Tags: ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLB, NBA, Walt Disney
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