The "opening faceoff in the battle over the future of
the NHL in Canada takes place today" in Ottawa, according to
Mark Miller of the CALGARY SUN. An "all-star team of
ownership and league officials" are expected to make
presentations to the House of Commons' subcommittee on the
study of sport in Canada. NHL Board Chair and Flames co-
Owner Harley Hotchkiss will "anchor the presentation group,"
which includes NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and other team
execs. The subcommittee is to report to the House of
Commons this fall with a "definitive" study on the financial
impact of sports. Miller writes the "main concern that
prompted the committee is the tenuous existence of three of
six Canadian NHL teams -- Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa."
Bettman "created a storm of controversy earlier this month
by suggesting that government may have a role to play in
subsidizing those franchises through tax breaks" (CALGARY
SUN, 4/28). But Bettman told Red Fisher in Montreal, "I
wasn't asking for tax breaks ... and I won't be asking for
anything in Ottawa. All I had in mind was to lay out the
problems Canadian teams are facing. That's what we'll be
doing in Ottawa. We're not asking for anything, but we do
want them to understand what's going on" (GAZETTE, 4/28).
The U.S. women's national soccer team defeated
Argentina 7-0 in front of 14,608 fans Sunday at Spartan
Stadium in San Jose, CA. This came two days after the U.S.
team first beat Argentina Friday night in front of a sell-
out crowd of over 10,000 at Fullerton, CA. The 14,608 in
San Jose is the second-largest non-Olympic crowd in U.S.
women's national team history, and the weekend total of
24,707 was a record high for the team (U.S. Soccer).
NOTES: In Toronto, Jim Proudfoot writes that the AHL is
studying the "possible creation" of a new Canadian division
with teams in Toronto, Montreal, Hamilton and Quebec City
(TORONTO STAR, 4/28)....Also in Toronto, Frank Zicarelli
writes that sources "indicate" that NBA players "are willing
to undergo marijuana testing only if every NBA official,
coach and front-office worker are subject to the same
testing" (TORONTO SUN, 4/28).....UNC junior Antawn Jamison
declared himself eligible for the NBA Draft and said that
even the possibility of an NBA lockout won't deter him.
Although he has until a week before the Draft to change his
mind, Jamison said, "I decided to leave and I'm going to
stick with leaving. No matter what happens, there's no
turning back now" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 4/28).
The USTA has "come to an agreement in principle" with
the Pilot Pen Int'l tennis tournament to bring the U.S.
Women's Hardcourt Championship to New Haven, CT, this
summer, according to Dave Solomon of the NEW HAVEN REGISTER.
A news conference has been set for today to announce the
event, which will take place August 24-31, the week
following the Pilot Pen Int'l men's tournament at the CT
Tennis Center at Yale. Solomon writes that talks have been
"ongoing to move the struggling Stone Mountain, Ga-based
event to New Haven." Though it is owned by the USTA, the
Pilot Pen group, headed by CEO Mike Davies and Tournament
Dir Butch Buchholz "would effectively lease the event on a
multi-year basis." Buchholz, who will become the women's
Tournament Dir (NEW HAVEN REGISTER, 4/28). Tournament execs
"were scrambling" to come up with an official name, but
"sources suggest Pilot Pen will attach its name to the
women's event" (Greg Garber, HARTFORD COURANT, 4/28).
CHANGE IN WOMEN'S SCHEDULE: The WTA Tour announced that
the Sparkassen Cup in Germany has been moved from its
original week of September 28 to the week of November 2.
The event scheduled for that week in Chicago will be removed
from the calendar in '98, but is scheduled to return in '99.
The Sparkassen Cup was moved due to the women's Grand Slam
Cup held in Munich the week of September 28 (WTA Tour).