Sat, Dec 11, 2004 - Page 18 News List

World Stars begin European tour

AP , RIGA, LATVIAAP, ZURICH, SWITZERLAND

Kris Draper and Sergei Fedorov scored 29 seconds apart and the World Stars beat Riga 2000 4-2 to open their European ice hockey tour on Thursday.

Barret Jackman and Rhett Warrener also scored for the locked-out NHL players. Renars Undelis and Vitalijs Galuzo replied for Riga, Latvia's top club.

Jackman, a defenseman with the St. Louis Blues, opened the scoring at 18:33 in the first period.

Undelis, who turned 20 on Thursday, tied the score early in the second, but Draper and Anaheim's Fedorov scored at 14:17 and 14:46 to give the World Stars a 3-1 lead.

Galuzo cut the score to 3-2 but Warrener, a defenseman, restored the World Stars' two-goal lead at 13:23 in the third.

"These Latvians had a lot of pride," World Stars forward Anson Carter said. "It wasn't a game of shinny, that's for sure."

Luc Robitaille, the Los Angeles Kings forward who was named the World Stars' player of the game, said he was also impressed.

Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils and Dominik Hasek of the Ottawa Senators shared goaltending duties for the World Stars.

The World Stars take their 10-game, seven-country tour on to Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia; Bratislava, Slovakia; Bern, Switzerland; Karlstad, Jonkoping and Linkoping, Sweden; Oslo, Norway, and Katowice, Poland.

Wayne Gretzky and IMG organized a similar tour 10 years ago during the last NHL lockout.

Riga buzzed with excitement before the game. Latvians are some of Europe's most fervent hockey fans, with thousands making an annual pilgrimage to support the national team at the world championship each spring.

Earlier Thursday, the NHL stars laid flowers at the grave of Sergei Zholtok.

Zholtok, who played for a decade in the NHL and is considered by many as the best forward Latvia has produced, died last month at the age of 31 of heart failure while playing for Riga 2000 in Belarus.

The World Stars had only 17 players on its roster on Thursday. Forwards Brendan Shanahan of the Detroit Red Wings and Mats Sundin of the Toronto Maple Leafs are expected to join the team on Saturday in Moscow.

Proceeds from the tour will be donated to two NHL charities, the Goals and Dreams Foundation and the Garth Brooks Foundation.

Three locked-out NHL players -- goalie Marco Turco, forward Marc Savard and defenseman Kim Johnsson -- quit their European clubs on Thursday, before the end of their contracts, the International Ice Hockey Federation said.

Turco, of the Dallas Stars, released a joint statement with his Swedish club Djurgarden Stockholm, saying he is returning to the US for family reasons.

The federation said the contract of Savard, from Atlanta, with the Swiss team SC Bern "was terminated as a result of the player's poor conditioning."

Bern lured Savard from Swiss second league team Thurgau as Dany Heatley's replacement.

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