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Volume 24 No. 157

Franchises

     MLG REPORTS LOSSES:  Maple Leaf Gardens Ltd. reported
yesterday a loss of C$565,219, or C$.15 a share, on revenues of
C$33.9M for the nine months ended March 31.  Compared to last
year, during a 10-month period, profits were C$4.9M ($1.36 a
share) on revenues of C$47.8M.  The company also did not pay
dividends in the quarter, making it the third time they have
failed to pay out to shareholders since last September.  MLG's
board blamed the losses on the NHL lockout, noting the Leafs
played only 22 home games in the last nine months (Gayle
MacDonald, FINANCIAL POST, 5/18).
     MOLSON SUFFERS 31% DROP IN EARNINGS:  Molson Cos. Ltd. has
reporting a "disappointing" 31% drop in profit for fiscal '95,
according to Marina Strauss in this morning's Toronto GLOBE &
MAIL.  The drop in earnings was due to the lockout in the NHL and
losses from its U.S. chemical business, Diversey Corp.  Molson
owns the Canadiens and TV production unit Molstar Communications.
While Molson Breweries reported a small profit in '95, the parent
company said their profit dropped to $86.8M in '95, compared with
$125.7M in '94 (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 5/18).  Analyst Michael
Palmer called the report "an ugly document."  The hockey work
stoppage cost Molson $15M in profits from the Canadiens and
profits at Diversey Inc. dropped 42% (TORONTO STAR/CP, 5/18).
Despite the losses, Molson CEO Marshall Cohen "dispelled any
notion" the company would sell the Canadiens.  Cohen: "We view
this as a legacy asset and will retain it" (Terry Weber,
FINANCIAL POST, 5/18).
     LEAFS IN EASTERN CONFERENCE?  Maple Leafs President and GM
Cliff Fletcher said yesterday that the team "won't be bumped"
over to the Eastern Conference of the Nordiques relocate to
Denver.  If the Nords do move to Denver, they would be placed in
the Western Conference, leaving 13 teams in each conference
(Damien Cox, TORONTO STAR, 5/18).

      The IHL Kalamazoo Wings announced this week that they have
changed their name and logo.  The change to the "Michigan K-
Wings" is an effort to expand the team's regional reach.  The new
logo contains the same "winged K" as in the last one, but it is
now slanted and has the word "Wings" running through it.  The
color scheme will remain green, black, white and gold, but the
"winged K" will now have a center field of white with black and
gold trim, with "Wings" colored green with black and white trim
(Wings).

     Nordiques fans "expressed disappointment" yesterday at Co-
Owner Marcel Aubut's rejection of the government's offer to save
the franchise, according to Rheal Seguin of the Toronto GLOBE &
MAIL.  "But the vast majority of supporters refused to take to
the streets just yet, preferring instead to watch from the
sidelines the outcome of a face-to-face confrontation that will
likely take place between Aubut and Premier Jacques Parizeau."
Only 200-250 fans participated in a demonstration yesterday
before the National Assembly in Quebec City.  A "handful" of taxi
drivers honked their horns and people carried hockey sticks and
placards in support of the team.  The demonstrators also carried
a petition signed by more than 75,000, urging the government to
keep the team from moving to the U.S. (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL,
5/18).
     PUBLIC CHOICES:  Nordiques fans "ran up against" another
group of demonstrators protesting the government's decision to
shut-down seven Montreal hospitals.  According to Seguin, the two
demonstrations "symbolized the divisions expressed by many
Quebecers.  On the one hand many support the government's offer
to the Nordiques but draw the line by insisting that public money
should not be doled out at the expense of further cutbacks" in
health care and other government programs (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL,
5/18).  In Quebec City, LE SOLEIL columnist Jean-Guy Lemieux
argues that subsidizing a team is as valid as funding museums and
theaters, and says losing the Nordiques would be a "national
catastrophe" for a society which considers Patrick Roy to be
their Luciano Pavarotti (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 5/18).

     The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority made an offer
yesterday to keep the Devils from moving to Nashville, according
to the N.Y. TIMES.  The offer came only a day after the Nashville
Metro Council passed a "package of inducements" to lure a team to
a new arena in the city.  Terms of the NJSEA's offer were not
released and "it was not apparent how far the agency went to
satisfy claims" that the Devils had made in a challenge of their
lease at Brendan Byrne Arena.  Representatives of both the NJSEA
and of NJ Gov. Christine Todd Whitman refused to say whether the
offer was a "significant improvement" over the current terms of
the team's lease.  Whitman spokesperson Carl Golden:  "Just
because an offer was made is not tantamount to a confirmation
that he [Devils Owner John McMullen] isn't making enough money.
The offer is just part of a process" (Richard Sandomir, N.Y.
TIMES, 5/18).  The N.Y. POST's Larry Brooks asks why NHL
Commissioner Gary Bettman hasn't "stepped up to do the right
thing now, which is to protect the state of New Jersey and Devils
fans from the threat of a Nashville heist?  He shouldn't wait for
a call from Trenton.  He should make it" (N.Y. POST, 5/18).

     With sources claiming that private investors trying to keep
the Jets in Winnipeg have reached their C$60M cash goal, the
potential deal "dangled" by a C$17M thread last night, as
Canadian federal officials "balked" at coming up with C$37M for a
new arena, according to John Douglas in this morning's WINNIPEG
FREE PRESS.  Jets Owner Barry Shenkarow set a deadline for noon
today for local investors to get a deal together, or the team
will be sold to a MN group led by health care entrepreneur
Richard Burke.  Yesterday, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister
Andre Ouellet said that the city could expect to receive only
C$20M of the C$37M needed from the Federal government to build an
arena. However, Human Resources Minister Lloyd Axworthy's staff
"worked into the night negotiating with the prime minister's
office" in an effort to get the full amount  (WINNIPEG FREE
PRESS, 5/18).  In Vancouver, Jim Taylor reports that the Federal
government will contribute a C$25M grant today, with a C$12M loan
"that will be forgiven if not repaid over the next 10 years"
(Vancouver PROVINCE, 5/18).
     STEEL CAGE MATCH:  Last night, "in a meeting that more
resembled a World Wrestling Federation main event," the Winnipeg
City Council voted 13-3 pick up the C$37M tab for a third of the
arena cost.  John Douglas reports that "packed galleries cheered
and gave high-fives to councilors who supported the public
funding of a new arena while booing and waving goodbye at the
three politicians who voted against the plan."  Earlier in the
week, Manitoba Premier Gary Filmon pledged C$37M in provincial
support for the new, C$111M, 16,000-seat arena (WINNIPEG FREE
PRESS, 5/18).
     WILL THE NHL PUT THE KIBOSH ON THE PEG?  Despite a report
yesterday by Minneapolis' Fox affiliate, Jets Owner Barry
Shenkarow says the league will not reject the local offer to keep
the team in Winnipeg.  The FREE PRESS' Scott Taylor reports,
"Shenkarow said the league would have no problem with any
decision he made."  Minneapolis' Fox station ran a report "that
suggested the league would turn down any deal to keep the Jets in
Winnipeg because the league "did not believe the team could be
viable" in Winnipeg.  NHL VP of Public Relations Arthur Pincus
said the league would not comment on the situation, but did say
that they would "stand by" a press release issued by Shenkarow
last week that detailed the possibility of a local buyer stepping
in to save the team (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 5/18).
     DO YOU TAKE THIS TEAM?  WE DO:  2,500 fans paid C$100 apiece
last night for a Jets fund-raiser held at the Winnipeg Convention
Center, including a couple to be married next month that gave up
their honeymoon money to keep the Jets in town.  Bride-to-be
Karen Dowhan: "We just broke into our wedding money and said,
'That's it.'"  Meanwhile, companies locally and across Canada
continue to chip in, with Canada's five largest banks
contributing a total of C$1.25M to the cause.  Coca-Cola
Bottling-Winnipeg is donating C$.10 for each case of Coke sold
over the next ten days -- a possible donation of C$40,000 (FREE
PRESS, 5/18).  STILL EXPECTING IN 'SOTA:  MN Legislators are
exploring the possibility of offering the public an opportunity
to buy shares in the Jets to recoup any contribution the state
may offer Burke to help bring the team to the Target Center (Jay
Weiner, Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE, 5/17).

     A South FL investment group led by Bruce Frey has signed a
"letter of intent" to purchase the now-defunct Las Vegas CFL
franchise rather than pursue expansion options, according to the
MIAMI HERALD.  The deal should take "two or three months" to
complete, upon which the team will move to Miami and begin
playing in the Orange Bowl in June '96.  The team will be called
the Miami Manatees and will not play this year in order to have
more time to complete the transaction.  Frey's group chose to pay
$1.45M for the Las Vegas franchise rather than acquire an
expansion team.  Frey:  "There were advantages financially to
doing it this way" (Barry Jackson, MIAMI HERALD, 5/17).