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DESPITE LOSSES AND RED INK, MCCAW REMAINS COMMITTED TO TEAMS
Published March 10, 1998
Six months into his term as Orca Bay Sports & Entertainment's President & CEO, Stephen Bellringer "commands a corporation immersed in a sea of red ink caused by rising salaries ... and an unsteady Canadian dollar," according to Grant Kerr of the Toronto GLOBE & MAIL. Kerr reports that Northwest Sports Enterprises, the Orca Bay subsidiary which owns the Canucks, reported a loss of C$15M through the first half of the NHL season after reporting a loss of C$21.2M last year. This season, the Canucks may report losses up to C$30M, and the Grizzlies up to C$9M. Bellringer, on Vancouver's "mid-market" status: "We get no market-size relief from the NHL, zero, under the current policies. We are obviously concerned about the losses, but there's no magic-wand solution." Bellringer, who said Orca Bay is "committed" to retaining its top players, including Pavel Bure and Shareef Abdur-Rahim: "It's a North American business, competing for North American talent. You can't go to the players ... and offer Canadian dollars." Bellringer added that Orca Bay Owner John McCaw's commitment to the two teams "has not wavered," while "admitting there may be room for additional partners" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 3/10).