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  • NBA OWNERS ON ICE, PART I: ALEXANDER JOINS HOUSTON'S CHASE

         Rockets Owner Leslie Alexander formally submitted an
    application to bring an NHL expansion franchise to Houston,
    according to Eddie Sefko of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE.  The bid sets
    up a "showdown" between Alexander and IHL Aeros Owner Chuck
    Watson, who applied for a Houston franchise last month.  Sefko
    writes at the "heart of the race" for a team is controlling
    interest in a new basketball/hockey arena that likely would be
    located in downtown "or in the Greenway Plaza area."  Sefko:
    "Both owners have strong connections that could work in their
    favor in a hockey battle that could develop into an interesting
    ice show."  Alexander's current lease with The Summit runs until
    2003 and he has expressed interest in managing the new facility.
    Watson, however, owns the lease at The Summit, and any new arena
    "would likely have Watson as an operator of the building in some
    capacity" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/17).
         EARLY LINE:  The CHRONICLE's Sefko notes Alexander is "close
    friends" with NBA Commissioner David Stern and that Stern remains
    a "confidant" of NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.  Insiders,
    meanwhile, are "divided" on whether Alexander or Watson have the
    better chance for the franchise.  Sefko cites some unnamed
    sources who believe the NHL would prefer to have an owner who is
    already "entrenched" in a city at the major league level. Others
    feel "a deep-pockets owner like Watson, who may be able to
    facilitate a new building more readily than Alexander, makes more
    sense."  A third possibility also exists, as Gavin Maloof of
    Albuquerque, NM has filed an application for a Houston team as
    well.  Sefko notes Maloof's bid is an "extreme long shot"
    (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/17).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Houston Rockets, NBA, NHL
  • NBA OWNERS ON ICE, PART II: SHINN EYES VA AND CAROLINA SITES

         Hornets Owner George Shinn is considering both Raleigh, NC
    and Hampton Road, VA region as a possible home for an NHL
    expansion team, according to Rick Bonnell of the CHARLOTTE
    OBSERVER.  Shinn recently met with Raleigh officials at the
    invitation of marketer Max Muhleman, who helped Shinn land the
    Hornets and is also working as a consultant for a potential
    Raleigh NHL bid.  Shinn became involved with the Norfolk-VA
    Beach-Hampton Roads region through TV evangelist Pat Robertson,
    whose Christian Broadcasting Network is based there.  Shinn said
    he has met twice with a mayors group from the VA region looking
    for a potential owner and has discussed the area with NHL
    Commissioner Gary Bettman.  Shinn: "I haven't filled out any
    application for Raleigh or Virginia Beach. In the future?  That's
    a good question. I'm a businessman. I'd pursue it if it made
    sense."  Shinn said bringing an NHL club to Charlotte "doesn't
    make sense" because the city is not "big enough to support two
    major league teams under the same roof."  Shinn added that his
    "immediate focus" at the present time is on building a new uptown
    arena for the Hornets.  Bonnell notes a VA bid "isn't likely" to
    be ready immediately, but ready to bid "over the next two years"
    (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 10/16).
         FROM THE OLD DOMINION:  Norfolk Mayor Paul D. Fraim
    confirmed he has met with Shinn, but would not say whether a
    potential NHL franchise was discussed.  Fraim: "He came here at
    my request to offer advice and consultation on the prospects of
    Hampton Roads being a viable market for professional sports."
    Fraim added he was "encouraged" by the meeting.  With 1.6 million
    residents, Hampton Roads is the nation's largest metropolitan
    area without a major league sports franchise (VIRGINIAN PILOT,
    10/17).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, New Orleans Pelicans, NHL
  • N.Y. POST REPORTS SALE OF ISLANDERS TO SPANO "CLOSER"

         While Dallas businessman John Spano and Islanders majority
    Owner John Pickett have "settled most key issues" in the proposed
    sale of the club to Spano, the two have yet to "hammer out fully"
    all contract language, according to an unnamed NHL source cited
    by Peter Botte of the N.Y. POST.  Spano: "There's not much I can
    add except that it's just not done yet."  It is believed that
    Spano has verbally agreed to purchase Pickett's 85-90% stake in
    the team for "slightly more" than $80M.  Another source cited by
    Botte said Spano will be back in NY next week and hopes to meet
    with Nassau County Exec Thomas Gulotta about the prospects of
    building a new arena to replace Nassau Coliseum (N.Y. POST,
    10/17).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, New York Islanders, NHL
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