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Volume 24 No. 133
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NHL Franchise Notes: Maple Leafs Fans Treated To Freebies At Season-Opener

In Toronto, Joe Warmington writes the Maple Leafs "may not always have the best hockey team around," but as "proved over and over -- and once again Monday night -- we do have the best fans." The '13 version of team ownership and management "seem to really appreciate it." Last night's home-opener against the Sabres was "not about business or profit," it was about "apologies and forgiveness." The Maple Leafs "have said they are sorry and the fans have accepted." Last night was "for the fans -- free of charge." There were "free hot dogs ... free drinks and free tickets" (TORONTO SUN, 1/22). The GLOBE & MAIL's Jeff Blair writes it is "far too early to get a read on the post-lockout temperature of Leafs fans," but give "full credit to the organization: it struck an appropriate tone in the days leading up to the home opener" (GLOBE & MAIL, 1/22).

PICK YOUR PRIZE: The EDMONTON SUN noted for the Oilers' home opener tonight against the Sharks, fans who win a drawing "will be able to select the jersey of an Oiler from any era and it will be signed for the fan by that player." If it is a current Oiler, the player also will "present the jersey to the fan." In addition, fans can win "one of 64 pictures with players, one of 4 sets of gold season seats for this season, one of 83 pairs of tickets for individual games, one of 2 pairs of tickets on the team charter for a road game and one of 14 locker room tours." Fans also will "get 55% discounts on food and 40% discounts on merchandise" (, 1/21).

SIMPLE STATEMENT: In Columbus, Aaron Portzline notes the Blue Jackets "took the ice for pregame warm-ups last night wearing 'THANK YOU FANS' across the backs of their jerseys" before a standing-room-only crowd of 19,206 at Nationwide Arena (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 1/22).

NEW LEADERSHIP, NEW ATTITUDE: In Phoenix, Mike Sunnucks wrote new Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers and the City Council "are not as friendly as the city's previous leadership toward the big Phoenix Coyotes arena deal that was passed in November." It "doesn't look like" Weiers and the council will "try to rescind or change the $308 million arena deal that is waiting for prospective team buyer Greg Jamison." Glendale officials "do not have plans to rework the arena deal before Jan. 31 and are waiting to see if a sale of the team can be consummated." If Jamison "can't buy the Coyotes, it will be back to the drawing board for Glendale -- and it will renew the possibility of the hockey team relocating to a new market" (, 1/18).