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BOSTON GLOBE'S DUPONT OFFERS BLEAK PROSPECTUS ON NHL
Published October 30, 1997
The state of the NHL is examined by Kevin Paul DuPont of the BOSTON GLOBE in his "On Hockey" column. DuPont: "Isn't this what we wanted all along, hockey imitating the rest of the world, everybody talking money, really obscene money, players sitting out all over the place because their piece of the apple pie isn't oozing with more millions than they can spend in a lifetime? Well, it's here, folks, and it's only getting worse. By the hour." DuPont chronicles Paul Kariya's holdout from the Mighty Ducks, the offseason contract for the Avalanches' Joe Sakic and the impending free agency for some of the game's top players. DuPont: "Ultimately, there is only one measure of the market, and that's if the fans continue to pay the ticket prices that support these salaries" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/30). IN THE HUB: Using the Bruins as an example, DuPont notes that through four games, the team has averaged 13,635 at the FleetCenter, a "shortfall" of capacity by 20%. But "more disturbing ... is the no-show factor in the lower bowl." While Boston "has had among the most fertile fan bases in the NHL ... those days are gone, and those empty seats tell us they're gone for good. There is no chance of ticket prices falling. None. Not here. Not anywhere. Not when the likes of Kariya can't be satisfied with $7 million. Not when it will take $10 million or better to bring in [Eric] Lindros next time. The players fault? Management's fault? The blame game is pointless. It's reality that counts, and empty seats equal reality. When Boston is working with a 20 percent vacancy factor, that should send a clear, undeniable message to everyone in the equation -- management, agents, and [NHLPA] -- that the guy on the street just can't pay it anymore" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/30).