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PHILADELPHIA COURT GIVES GO-AHEAD ON SUIT AGAINST NHL
Published February 2, 1998
A U.S District Court judge in Philadelphia has allowed a lawsuit, filed by five former NHL players against the NHL, former league president John Zeigler and NHLPA founder Alan Eagleson, to proceed, according to the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER. The suit "accuses the league of breaching its duty" by allowing Eagleson "to act unchecked" in negotiating with the league and its players. The first pretrial conference in the case will be held today (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 2/1). In Montreal, Ted Blackman called the Philadelphia ruling a potential "billion-dollar hockey bombshell," with results that "could hurt the NHL worse than the $300-million hit baseball took for collusion." Blackman: "How much worse? Roughly, given a maximum players' victory, $52 million per team! Or bankruptcy for several teams and chaos for the rest" (GAZETTE, 2/1). OTHER NEWS: NHL GMs meet in Scottsdale, AZ, this week for their annual mid-season meetings, with potential rule changes expected to be "hotly debated" (TORONTO STAR, 2/1). ...On ESPN's "The Sports Reporters," Bob Ryan noted the quality of regular-season play, and said, "No game has inflicted more aesthetic misery on its most knowledgeable followers than NHL hockey. If they're lucky, the Olympics will shame these who control the game into acknowledging the basic mess the day-to-day the NHL has become" (ESPN, 2/1).