SBD/6/Leagues Governing Bodies

NHL AND UNION AT ODDS OVER SKILLS COMPETITION?

     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).
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