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Volume 24 No. 154

Franchises

     The Canucks, who feel like they're "operating now under a
restrictive name and logo," could consider a name change "if
there was overwhelming support for a change," according to
Northwest Entertainment Group's Larry Donen.  Mike Beamish writes
in this morning's VANCOUVER SUN that the NEG's NBA Grizzlies have
"turned the sporting fashion world on its head" with their
uniform designs, and the company's creative types are "always
thinking."  Donen says the Canucks will soon introduce a third,
"special events" jersey "in the near future."  Beamish writes
that this jersey could be a "weaning-off process" for the team's
fans before a new jersey or logo change (VANCOUVER SUN, 5/23).
     AFFILIATE SWITCH:  The Blues are expected to announce today
they are naming the AHL Worcester IceCats as their main minor-
league affiliate.  The Blues will drop their IHL affiliate, the
Peoria Rivermen (USA TODAY, 5/23).

     The effort by local groups to keep the Jets in Winnipeg is
"not for one-year, but for long-term," according to a source
close to negotiations cited by Douglas & Samyn in this morning's
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS.  A plan expected to be released today will
call for a new 16,000-seat arena and "also add a host of new
local owners to the group."  The new ownership group will
reportedly pay current owners Barry and Marvin Shenkarow, Randy
Moffat and Harvey Secter C$32M for 42% control of the club.
Provincial and local governments will continue to control 36%;
the Shenkarows, Moffat and Secter will hold 22%.  A news
conference today is expected to announce details (WINNIPEG FREE
PRESS, 5/23).
     REGIONAL APPEAL?  When the team was seemingly headed south a
few weeks ago, the Jets officially retired their name and logo
following the final game of the season at Winnipeg Arena.  Tim
Campbell of the WINNIPEG FREE PRESS reports that nobody is
certain what the team will be called next year, but "speculation
is the team will be called the Manitoba Jets" (WINNIPEG FREE
PRESS, 5/23).
     BETTMAN'S HAPPY, RIGHT?  NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman told
the WINNIPEG FREE PRESS yesterday that the effort to keep the
Jets in Winnipeg is "extraordinary and heartening."  Bettman
denied reports that neither he nor the league wanted the team to
stay.  Bettman: "We haven't said it, we haven't felt it and we
don't believe it.  We're happy for the Jets and the fans of
Winnipeg if it all works out" (Don Campbell, WINNIPEG FREE PRESS,
5/23).
     DON'T CRY FOR MINNESOTA:  Bettman, on the Land of 10,000
Lakes: "We're delighted there was an interest in having the NHL
return to Minneapolis but long-term, we can satisfy that in other
ways" (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 5/23).
     NORDS PUT ON HOLD:  The sale of the Nordiques is on hold --
"at least for now."  A Radio-Canada report last night said team
President Marcel Aubut and Quebec Premier Jacques Parizeau will
meet today "in a last-ditch attempt to keep the franchise."
Discussions will reportedly center on the government offer that
Aubut rejected last week (CP/TORONTO SUN, 5/23).

     John Labatt, Ltd., the owners of the Blue Jays, CFL
Argonauts, and TSN, recommended that shareholders not tender
their shares to LBT Acquisition Corp. (a subsidiary of Onex
Corp.) before a detailed evaluation of the offer is completed.
Labatt issued a statement yesterday calling the offer of C$2.3B,
or C$24 a share, "unrealistically low."  Labatt will release
their recommendation for shareholders on May 29 (Drew Hasselback,
TORONTO STAR, 5/23).  Labatt President George Taylor told the
Toronto GLOBE & MAIL that they hope to "spark an auction that
will bring a significantly higher price for the brewing giant."
Michael Palmer, an analyst at Equity Research Associates in
Toronto, said C$27-28 a share "would be doing shareholders a
great favor" (Susan Bourette, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 5/23).

     A proposal that would bring L.A. a second pro football team
in '98 and two Super Bowls to a new stadium at Holloywood Park
"is expected to be formalized" by the NFL's finance committee
today, according to Bill Plaschke in today's L.A. TIMES.  If
accepted, the proposal would "pave the way" for the construction
of a $200M stadium "that would house the Raiders and an
undetermined existing franchise."  However, Plaschke writes that
"one final hurdle" exists:  a $20M loan requested by Hollywood
Park officials, who will build the stadium along with the
Raiders.  The league "steadfastly" refuses to make the loan, but
instead will offer Hollywood Park as much as $20M in relocation
fees from the stadium's second tenant -- money that would not
come until '98.  Oilers Owner Bud Adams:  "We realize the
importance of the Los Angeles market, and we're doing everything
we can to help."  Plaschke notes that by doing this, the owners
are apparently willing to "snub" Orange County and Anaheim
Stadium -- despite a reported "letter of interest" from Disney
CEO Michael Eisner to the NFL (L.A. TIMES, 5/23).  In Atlanta,
Len Pasquarelli writes, "The league now is proposing a
partnership some owners regard as tantamount to dancing with the
devil."  The league reportedly will offer various "financial
enticements" to Raiders Owner Al Davis and Hollywood Park CFO
R.D. Hubbard.  Among them are $25M in revenues from luxury suites
and/or permanent seat licenses, along with the promise of 10,000
tickets for Super Bowl games staged at the new facility (ATLANTA
CONSTITUTION, 5/23).  Davis is expected to keep the Raiders at
the L.A. Coliseum for the '96 and '97 seasons.
     ALSO ON THE AGENDA:  Chiefs Owner Lamar Hunt has proposed
awarding the conference championships to cities through bidding,
like the Super Bowl (N.Y. TIMES, 5/23).