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Volume 24 No. 159
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          The NHL Board of Governors' Executive Committee on
     Monday heard presentations from six expansion franchise
     applicants, including three from Houston, and will hear five
     more today, according to NEWSDAY's Jim Smith.  Presentations
     today will conclude the two-day meetings (NEWSDAY, 1/14).
          COLUMBUS: Chiefs Chair Lamar Hunt, part of a group from
     Columbus, OH, was "quietly elegant," according to Al
     Strachan of the TORONTO SUN.  Strachan: "It's quite possible
     that, given his sporting connections, he has an inside track
     so far as the NHL's intentions are concerned" (TORONTO SUN,
     1/14).  Hunt: "Columbus compares favorably with Kansas City
     in many areas and the Chiefs just led the NFL in attendance
     for the third straight year" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 1/14).
          HAMILTON:  The city of Hamilton tried to "woo the NHL
     by pointing to a population base of six million that
     includes most of the western edge of Metropolitan Toronto,"
     according to Doug Smith of the CANADIAN PRESS.  The group
     also "met its ... biggest drawbacks head on," as Mayor Bob
     Morrow said while the city would be "willing and able to own
     the team for as long as necessary," there are "five people
     interested in purchasing the franchise" (CP/Toronto GLOBE &
     MAIL, 1/14).  Morrow also said Hamilton should not have to
     compensate either the Sabres or Maple Leafs for "territorial
     infringement," according to Damien Cox of the TORONTO STAR. 
     Cost estimates of paying off the teams "have run as high as"
     $50M, and it is "believed both franchises would insist on
     some kind of compensation" (TORONTO STAR, 1/14).  In
     Toronto, Al Strachan writes Hamilton "gave it their best
     shot, making a passionate, reasonable, hockey-oriented
     plea."  Strachan: "If those governors were reasonable or
     hockey-oriented or even passionate about anything other than
     money, Hamilton might have a chance of winning a franchise. 
     But that's not the case" (TORONTO SUN, 1/14).
          HOUSTON: The three groups representing Houston made
     their case and "all of them said the league raised questions
     concerning if and when an arena would be built," according
     to Neil Hohlfeld of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE.  Rockets Owner
     Les Alexander: "The thing they (the NHL) seemed most
     interested in was the building.  They wanted to know when it
     would be built" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 1/14).  The "makeup" of
     IHL Aeros Owner Chuck Watson's bid "received a huge
     financial boost" when Robert McNair, Founder & CEO of Cogen
     Technologies, became "an equal partner in the venture with
     Watson."  The combination of Watson and McNair gives the
     group "a huge bankroll, believed to be as much" as $1.3B
     (Neil Hohlfeld, HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 1/14).
          ST. PAUL: Although St. Paul made its presentation
     Monday, "courting the Hartford Whalers still looked like
     their best chance to reclaim a team," according to Curt
     Brown of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE.  MN Gov. Arne Carlson
     and St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman reportedly had dinner with
     Whalers Owner Peter Karmanos (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE,
     1/14).  In Minneapolis, Sid Hartman notes the city "will
     never get a team unless it builds a new arena."  The NHL
     would "prefer" a team to play in the Target Center, but T-
     Wolves Owner Glen Taylor would ask the city to lift the $3M
     in "real estate taxes he is currently paying and make it
     possible for both the Wolves and a hockey team to make it
     financially" in the arena (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/13). 
          OTHER CITIES: Felix Sabates representing Raleigh, NC, 
     and Hornets Owner George Shinn, backing a bid from Hampton
     Roads, VA, make presentations today.  The CHARLOTTE
     OBSERVER's Rick Bonnell: "Both look like long shots"
     (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 1/14)....TBS will make its presentation
     today.  The ATLANTA CONSTITUTION's Henry Unger notes the
     Atlanta bid was described Monday by competing bidders and
     league observers as a "Shoo-in.  Odds-on favorite. The upper
     hand" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 1/15)....Also scheduled today
     are presentations from Nashville and Oklahoma City, OK
     (Frank Litsky, N.Y. TIMES, 1/14).