HOCKEY HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 25: NHLPA BOOKS RINK, NETWORK
The NHLPA has booked Hamilton's Copps Coliseum from November
10-12 for a tournament involving its members. A source close to
the NHLPA confirmed that a deal has been reached with the CTV
television network to broadcast the games across Canada. "The
Hamilton tournament is expected to be the first of several held
by the union in non-NHL cities, unless the lockout ends soon."
Among the players expected to play are Wayne Gretzky, Doug
Gilmour and Sergei Fedorov. The format -- whether players
represent their home countries or are divided up randomly -- is
still to be decided (David Shoalts, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 10/25).
CHICAGO HOPE? NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Exec
Dir Bob Goodenow held an unannounced meeting at a hotel near
Chicago's O'Hare Airport. It was their first face-to-face
meeting since October 10, the day before Bettman postponed the
season. Representatives for both sides reported that no progress
was made and no new proposals were presented. Asked about the
schedule for future meetings, NHL VP of Communications Arthur
Pincus said, "We're not discussing it [publicly]" (Len Hochberg,
WASHINGTON POST, 10/25). Since Bettman meets with several player
agents and representatives of the officials' union today, and
Goodenow has a similar meeting with agents on Thursday, "it
appears the earliest [another] meeting could be scheduled is
Friday" (Frank Orr, TORONTO STAR, 10/25). "A lot of activity,
but no progress" (Gary Miles, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 10/25).
"They might not be saying much, but they are talking" (Nancy
Marrapese, BOSTON GLOBE, 10/25). Bettman was accompanied by NHL
Dir of Hockey Ops Brian Burke and General Counsel Jeffrey Pash,
while Goodenow brought NHLPA Associate Counsel Ian Pulver (Frank
Brown, N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/25). Goodenow: "They were general
discussions" (TORONTO SUN, 10/25).
FIRST SCHEDULE ANNOUNCEMENT: The NHL announced that it has
canceled four games for each of the 26 clubs -- two home and two
away. According to the league release, "No decision will be
announced as to which games will be canceled until a start date
for the season can be determined" (NHL). "The league made a
conservative start to what is certain to be more sizable slashes
in the schedule" (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 10/25). "The meeting
took some of the sting off the first official cancellation of
games" (Dave Luecking, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/25). CNBC's
Sue Herera: "NHL officials are finally admitting the full season
cannot be played, even if the lockout ends" ("Market Wrap,"
10/24). Jets Coach & GM John Paddock: "When the games were just
postponed, it gave the players a false illusion that if they hung
in there, they could still get their full pay cheque. Now that's
changed" (Ed Willes, WINNIPEG SUN, 10/25).
CANADIAN FAN POLL: The Angus Reid-Southam News survey of
780 adult hockey fans in Canada was conducted from October 20-23.
43% support the owners, and 25% back the players. The rest are
undecided or back neither or both. Pollster Angus Reid: "They
believe some Canadian franchises will never be able to compete
with large American teams, and that without some kind of salary
limits they'll collapse and move to the U.S. ... In general,
those regions with vulnerable teams -- Alberta, Manitoba and even
Quebec with the Nordiques -- show the highest level of support
for the owners" (Doug Fischer, SOUTHAM NEWS/OTTAWA CITIZEN,
AS IF THEY DON'T HAVE ENOUGH TO THINK ABOUT: Bettman and
Pash meet with Don Meehan, agent for the league's officials, and
NHLOA President Terry Greggson today. Meehan says there are 10-
12 issues still unresolved before the CBA with officials can be
ratified, including "one big sticking point that could have
caused a problem had the season opened as scheduled" (Lance
Hornby, TORONTO SUN, 10/25).