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NHL AND UNION AT ODDS OVER SKILLS COMPETITION?
Published September 6, 1996
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).