Sat, Nov 20, 2004 - Page 19 News List

NHL entry draft the next event to be cut from `season'

AP , TORONTOAP, TORONTO

There won't be an NHL entry draft before a collective bargaining agreement is reached with the players' association, the director of the league's scouting department said.

The lockout has already wiped out over 240 games, plus the All-Star weekend, and it appears there won't be any NHL hockey before January -- if at all this season. The sides haven't met since Sept. 9 and no negotiations have been scheduled.

If the season goes by the boards, next June's draft -- scheduled for Ottawa -- would be the next major event to be lost. The draft can't be legally held without a collective bargaining agreement.

If the lockout continued into next season and was then settled, Central Scouting director Frank Bonello said there could be two drafts within a few months.

"If there were to be an agreement, say January 2006, we would have a draft shortly after that time so that we'd have it prior to June 2006 when the next draft is," Bonello said. "In other words, we would be very anxious to get a draft in so we don't miss it if that is the case."

What would have to be hammered out as part of labor negotiations is the draft order. Normally teams own picks based on the previous season's standings and playoff results. The top picks are then determined by a weighted lottery.

Goalies Martin Brodeur and Dominik Hasek will lead a European tour by locked-out National Hockey League players.

With no end in sight to the labor impasse in which club owners are refusing to field teams without a collective bargaining agreement, sports management firm IMG put together a team of 25 players who will compete in 10 games in seven countries on Dec. 9-23.

The Worldstars team will compete against NHL colleagues who are playing with European club teams during the lockout. The first game will take place in Riga, Latvia, on Dec. 9 followed by stops in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia; Bratislava, Slovakia; Bern, Switzerland; Karlstad, Jonkoping and Linkoping, Sweden; Oslo, Norway, and Katowice, Poland.

The Worldstars roster announced Thursday also includes Canadian center Joe Thornton of the Boston Bruins, Russian center Sergei Fedorov of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, Swedish center Mats Sundin of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Canadian right wing Tie Domi of the Leafs.

"We as hockey players are missing the game a lot. This is a great option to get back on the ice," said Brodeur, who has been coaching his son's ice hockey team.

Wayne Gretzky and IMG organized a similar tour 10 years ago during the last NHL lockout. Gretzky recently said that tour was more about partying than serious competition.

The proceeds from this tour will be split between the players and two charities.

This story has been viewed 2301 times.
TOP top