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Volume 24 No. 117

Leagues Governing Bodies

     NHLPA Exec Dir Bob Goodenow meets today with about 30-40
player agents, a constituency from which "there have been
grumbles and complaints emanating. ... His ability to cement
their backing could be a key factor in maintaining player
solidarity as the players begin to miss paycheques.  If the
agents begin to bail, their clients won't be far behind" (Damien
Cox, TORONTO STAR, 10/27).  CANADIAN PRESS' Alan Adams describes
the agents as split among the "hawks, doves and the nod-the-head
gang" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 10/27).  Briefing the media and
execs in FL, NHL Senior VP & Dir of Hockey Ops Brian Burke hoped
for some progress from today's summit:  "The agents played a very
significant role in settling the 1992 strike, and they could play
a significant role again" (Roy Cummings, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 10/27).
     THE SOLIDARITY CUP:  Brett Hull and Luc Robitaille were the
first two NHL stars to commit to the NHLPA's two-day "Four on
Four Challenge" in Hamilton on November 11-12.  The round-robin
event will feature four teams of NHL players -- from the U.S.,
Ontario, Quebec and Western Canada.  For now, the only plans are
to air the event in Canada, but NHLPA Dir of Communications Steve
McAllister said the possibility of a U.S. broadcast is still
being explored (Viv Bernstein, HARTFORD COURANT, 10/27).  Gabe
Macaluso, CEO of Hamilton's Copps Coliseum, said the 17,500-seat
arena will be sold out.  Macaluso:  "We haven't had anything like
this since the final game of Canada-Russia in 1987" (Len
Hochberg, WASHINGTON POST, 10/27).  Bruins President Harry
Sinden:  "I hope they do play them.  Maybe then they'll
understand how hard it is to stage a game" (BOSTON HERALD,
10/27).
     IF IT'S TUESDAY, THIS MUST BE HELSINKI:  Wayne Gretzky is
planning a "goodwill tour" in Europe, with a group of elite
players playing local clubs in European hockey cities, probably
sometime in December.  Gretzky said it is an idea he has had for
two years, "but the NHL has squashed it."  Gretzky:  "What I want
to do is make it very legitimate hockey, make it good,
competitive, strong hockey, strong enough that television would
love to buy it and support it." Tentative sites include Helsinki,
Stockholm, Dusseldorf, Bern and Milan (Al Strachan, TORONTO SUN,
10/27).  Gretzky will not be available to play in the NHLPA's
Hamilton tournament, due to a previously planned Caribbean cruise
(Jim Taylor, Vancouver PROVINCE, 10/27).
     OTHER NEWS & NOTES:  The league denied a SPORTING NEWS
report that federal mediator John Martin could join the talks as
early as Tuesday.  NHL VP of Communications Arthur Pincus:  "As
we have said over the past few weeks, we are not at the point
where mediation or arbitration can help the process.  We have got
to get some common ground first" (Al Strachan, TORONTO SUN,
10/27)....Mighty Ducks coach Ron Wilson and 21 other members of
the team's coaching and admin staff are taking other jobs within
the Disney organization (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 10/27).

     MLS "has accomplished one of its goals -- the financing is
in place.  However, organizers are so far behind in planning that
they have proposed postponing the start of the league until
1996," according to a report in this morning's BOSTON GLOBE.  The
"required" $75M in capitalization has been confirmed by sources,
but MLS Chair Alan Rothenberg is yet to announce investors.
Rumored investors include Soccer USA Partners of New York, a
group led by the Rockets Hakeem Olajuwon, NFL Chiefs owner Lamar
Hunt and VA billionaire John Kluge.  But both Hunt and Kluge are
"upset" their names have also been associated with the investment
before an official announcement.  Patriots owner Robert Kraft,
also a reported investor, "would prefer" to plan for a '96 start.
MLS organizers have proposed a shortened schedule, in conjunction
with U.S. Cup '95 and '96 Olympics preparations (Frank Dell'Apa,
BOSTON GLOBE, 10/27).  Rothenberg "conceded" yesterday that a
franchise in Long Island, NY, could be delayed for "the first
couple of years."  The league is looking for a $2M investor to
rebuild Hofstra Stadium (Alex Yannis, N.Y. TIMES, 10/27).
Columnist Roscoe Nance suggests MLS should form a two division
league with the APSL, one consisting of the APSL's individually
owned teams and the other of the MLS's "single-entity teams."
Nnace notes the APSL presently has one thing which the MLS does
not -- "teams playing games" (USA TODAY, 10/27).

     The NBA and the NBPA, "days away from an unannounced league-
ordered work stoppage, reached an agreement in principle" late
last night on a no-strike/no-lockout pledge that will allow the
season to start on time on November 4.  According to sources, the
league had notified the NBPA "about a week ago that a lockout
would have begun Monday had they not come to this understanding.
That will become a moot point, however, when the pact is
completed and announced" in New York today (Scott Howard-Cooper,
L.A. TIMES, 10/27).  The joint NBA-NBPA news conference is
scheduled for 2:00pm EDT (USA TODAY, 10/27).  Had the no-
strike/no-lockout pledge not been reached, NBA owners would have
discussed the possibility of a lockout during a meeting in
Chicago next Monday.  Negotiations between NBA Commissioner David
Stern and NBPA Exec Dir Charles Grantham are ongoing (Richard
Justice, WASHINGTON POST, 10/27).  Yesterday afternoon, Grantham
sent a fax to agents on the CBA advisory board stating that
league officials had informed him that if no agreement "in
principle" is reached on a new contract by Monday, the owners
would lock out the players (Jackie MacMullan, BOSTON GLOBE,
10/27).
     THE DEAL:  In New York, Murray Chass reports that the "key
element" was the consent of players David Wood and Howard Eisley
to postpone a lawsuit filed on their behalf Monday over the
league's "allegedly artificial reduction of the salary cap for
this season" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/27).  Eisley said before a game on
Tuesday that "he knew little about the suit.  In fact, his name
was volunteered by his agent, Frank Catapano."  Catapano said
that Jeffrey Kessler, the attorney handling the suit, called
various agents and asked if any of their clients would have been
paid more if the "cap hadn't been misrepresented" (Minneapolis
STAR TRIBUNE, 10/26).
     NEGOTIATIONS:  Despite the no-strike, no-lockout deal, the
two sides "were not close" to agreement on a new CBA.  Last week,
the league offered the union a proposal that includes a hard
salary cap, "removing some of the gimmicks that have enabled
teams to circumvent the cap."  The union proposes eliminating the
cap entirely (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 10/27).  The hard cap
proposal by the league also included a prohibition on contracts
with an "escape clause after one year."  That has been a
"sticking point" with the NBA, which took several players to
court over their opt-out clauses (Jackie MacMullan, BOSTON GLOBE,
10/27).  According to one owner, "the atmosphere at the
bargaining table has been fairly positive" (Peter Vecsey, N.Y.
POST, 10/27).  MacMullan, from "SportsCenter":  "The one drawback
to the players -- it gives David Stern everything he wants.  The
games continue, his reputation remains intact, and the expired
agreement, which he happens to like very much, will remain in
effect" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 10/26).