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Mark Messier St. Albert question

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  • slater@alum.rpi.edu
    Total Hockey reports Mark Messier as having played for the St. Albert Saints of the AJHL in 1977-78, scoring 54-25-49-74-194. However, the AJHL statistics were
    Message 1 of 16 , Jun 26, 2006
      Total Hockey reports Mark Messier as having played for the St. Albert
      Saints of the AJHL in 1977-78, scoring 54-25-49-74-194.

      However, the AJHL statistics were printed in the Sporting News Hockey
      Guide of 1978-79. On p. 235 they instead list someone named Rick
      Wiest with those exact same numbers. Mark Messier is not listed in
      the statistics at all.

      Can anyone shed light on this? I doubt that two players had the same
      exact totals, but it seems unlikely for the TSN guide to have made
      such a big error on a player, so what happened here?

      Ralph Slate
      http://www.hockeydb.com
    • Jason Kasiorek
      Ralph, I went through a bunch of things in my library trying to confirm or deny this. Nothing I have from the Oilers lists him playing for St Albert in
      Message 2 of 16 , Jun 26, 2006
        Ralph,

        I went through a bunch of things in my library trying to confirm or deny
        this. Nothing I have from the Oilers lists him playing for St Albert in
        1977-78. There are a lot of vague comments about him filling in on his
        fathers St Albert Saints, and several instances of his playoff stats that
        season with Portland of the WHL. The line of stats is not in the earlier NHL
        guides, but does appear in the 2003 guide. I know somewhere I have an
        interview with his father where he talks about his pre WHA career, but I
        haven't been able to find it yet.

        There is a passage in the book "The Rebel League" by Ed Willes that mentions
        it:

        "When Gretzky, Driscoll, and Mio left Indianapolis, it opened up some roster
        spots on the Racers. Monitoring the situation from his home in Edmonton was
        Doug Messier, who'd played with Racers coach Pat Stapleton in Portland in
        the old Western Hockey Leagueand whose seventeen-year-old son, Mark, was
        dominating the Tier II Alberta Junior Hockey League with the St. Albert
        Saints. As a sixteen-year-old, the younger messier had recorded 74 points
        and 194 penalty minutes in fifty-four games with the Saints and suited up
        with Portland in the WHL playoffs that year. "

        The book is more recent then total hockey, so it may just be repeating the
        same erroneous information. I am not saying no, but I cannot find anything
        pre-total hockey to corroborate that information. You would think since they
        show the 1976-77 stats and the 1978-79 stats, that if he had indeed played
        in the same league, they would show those stats as well.

        Jason Kasiorek
        Home of the Oilers
        http://members.hockeyresearch.com/jkasiorek/

        From: slater@...
        Reply-To: hockhist@yahoogroups.com
        Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2006 08:30:27 -0400
        To: hockhist@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [hockhist] Mark Messier St. Albert question


        Total Hockey reports Mark Messier as having played for the St. Albert
        Saints of the AJHL in 1977-78, scoring 54-25-49-74-194.

        However, the AJHL statistics were printed in the Sporting News Hockey
        Guide of 1978-79. On p. 235 they instead list someone named Rick
        Wiest with those exact same numbers. Mark Messier is not listed in
        the statistics at all.

        Can anyone shed light on this? I doubt that two players had the same
        exact totals, but it seems unlikely for the TSN guide to have made
        such a big error on a player, so what happened here?

        Ralph Slate
        http://www.hockeydb.com






        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • slater@alum.rpi.edu
        ... deny ... that ... earlier NHL ... I ... The TSN guide from 77-78 shows him playing in 76-77 with Spruce Grove Mets. The 77-78 AJHL stats were complete and
        Message 3 of 16 , Jun 27, 2006
          >I went through a bunch of things in my library trying to confirm or
          deny
          >this. Nothing I have from the Oilers lists him playing for St Albert in
          >1977-78. There are a lot of vague comments about him filling in on his
          >fathers St Albert Saints, and several instances of his playoff stats
          that
          >season with Portland of the WHL. The line of stats is not in the
          earlier NHL
          >guides, but does appear in the 2003 guide. I know somewhere I have an
          >interview with his father where he talks about his pre WHA career, but
          I
          >haven't been able to find it yet.

          The TSN guide from 77-78 shows him playing in 76-77 with Spruce Grove
          Mets. The 77-78 AJHL stats were complete and the totals match perfectly
          so I don't doubt those numbers.

          The 78-79 TSN guide has AJHL stats, but they aren't quite complete, they
          only show the players who scored 1 point or more, and they don't include
          splits on trades. Also, there seem to be some missing players because
          even with the missing splits some teams are woefully short on goals. Not
          St. Albert though.

          The 79-80 TSN guide is the first where they scaled back their minor
          league coverage. They only cover the major junior leagues, plus NCAA.
          Total Hockey has Messier playing some games that year before turning
          pro. I can't verify that.

          I suspect that Messier's St. Albert stats are incorrectly listed in
          Total Hockey. It is impossible for two players to have scored
          54-25-49-74-194 for the same team in the same season. I do think he was
          on the team though; I have his jersey number listed as #11 for that
          year, and I think I got this from an eBay auction listing.

          I think that you can't trust the recent book, because the source is
          probably Total Hockey.

          I tried doing some newspaper research on Messier on
          newspaperarchive.com. A few articles come up from 76-77 and his playoff
          stint with Portland in 77-78, but no mention of anything from 77-78
          AJHL. However, this doesn't prove that he didn't play, since the
          coverage of the AJHL was light. Rick Wiest (the player with the same
          stats as Messier) does appear to be a real player; he played with the
          Taber Palace Pats of the Central Alberta Junior B hockey league in
          1976-77. That lends some creedence to him not being the calibre player
          who would lead the Saints in scoring the following year.

          I'm not sure if Ernie Fitzsimmons is on this list, or if someone could
          contact him, but I think this is a significant enough player to warrant
          doing some more digging, and I'd guess that he probably supplied the
          info to Total Hockey.

          Ralph



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • francz
          Any chance Messier would be listed on the Portland Winter Hawks roster page of the 1978-79 WHL Guide? The roster page carried players who might not have a
          Message 4 of 16 , Jun 27, 2006
            Any chance Messier would be listed on the Portland Winter Hawks roster page of the 1978-79 WHL Guide? The roster page carried players who might not have a stats bio in the main body of the guide, and usually included lower-level stats from the previous year.

            I would check myself (I have 3 or 4 copies of that guide) but of course I can't find them in my basement.

            Rob in 905


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          • J.P. Martel
            If you look on the AJHL s official site, under Archives, Regular Season Scoring Leaders (direct link: http://www.ajhl.ca/stats/archive_scoring.php ) then for
            Message 5 of 16 , Jun 27, 2006
              If you look on the AJHL's official site, under Archives,
              Regular Season Scoring Leaders (direct link:
              http://www.ajhl.ca/stats/archive_scoring.php )
              then for the 1977-78 season, under "Other notables",
              you have Mark Messier with 54-25-49-74-194.

              They also have his (generally agreed on) stats for 1976-77
              and 1978-79.

              You'd think the league would know its own history, no?
              (Then again, they're missing their own playoff stats for
              1977, so maybe not...).

              Ernie Fitzsimmons is not on this list, but the SIHR
              stats (that he contributes to) are consistent with this.
              They also don't have a Rick Wiest, although there is a Rich
              Wiest from Alberta who has stats from 1982 to 1988.

              J.-Patrice

              --- In hockhist@yahoogroups.com, <slater@...> wrote:
              >
              > >I went through a bunch of things in my library trying to confirm
              or
              > deny
              > >this. Nothing I have from the Oilers lists him playing for St
              Albert in
              > >1977-78. There are a lot of vague comments about him filling in
              on his
              > >fathers St Albert Saints, and several instances of his playoff
              stats
              > that
              > >season with Portland of the WHL. The line of stats is not in the
              > earlier NHL
              > >guides, but does appear in the 2003 guide. I know somewhere I
              have an
              > >interview with his father where he talks about his pre WHA
              career, but
              > I
              > >haven't been able to find it yet.
              >
              > The TSN guide from 77-78 shows him playing in 76-77 with Spruce
              Grove
              > Mets. The 77-78 AJHL stats were complete and the totals match
              perfectly
              > so I don't doubt those numbers.
              >
              > The 78-79 TSN guide has AJHL stats, but they aren't quite
              complete, they
              > only show the players who scored 1 point or more, and they don't
              include
              > splits on trades. Also, there seem to be some missing players
              because
              > even with the missing splits some teams are woefully short on
              goals. Not
              > St. Albert though.
              >
              > The 79-80 TSN guide is the first where they scaled back their minor
              > league coverage. They only cover the major junior leagues, plus
              NCAA.
              > Total Hockey has Messier playing some games that year before
              turning
              > pro. I can't verify that.
              >
              > I suspect that Messier's St. Albert stats are incorrectly listed in
              > Total Hockey. It is impossible for two players to have scored
              > 54-25-49-74-194 for the same team in the same season. I do think
              he was
              > on the team though; I have his jersey number listed as #11 for that
              > year, and I think I got this from an eBay auction listing.
              >
              > I think that you can't trust the recent book, because the source is
              > probably Total Hockey.
              >
              > I tried doing some newspaper research on Messier on
              > newspaperarchive.com. A few articles come up from 76-77 and his
              playoff
              > stint with Portland in 77-78, but no mention of anything from 77-78
              > AJHL. However, this doesn't prove that he didn't play, since the
              > coverage of the AJHL was light. Rick Wiest (the player with the
              same
              > stats as Messier) does appear to be a real player; he played with
              the
              > Taber Palace Pats of the Central Alberta Junior B hockey league in
              > 1976-77. That lends some creedence to him not being the calibre
              player
              > who would lead the Saints in scoring the following year.
              >
              > I'm not sure if Ernie Fitzsimmons is on this list, or if someone
              could
              > contact him, but I think this is a significant enough player to
              warrant
              > doing some more digging, and I'd guess that he probably supplied
              the
              > info to Total Hockey.
              >
              > Ralph
              >
              >
              >
              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >
            • Lloyd Davis
              I approached this from a different angle: what if Weist s numbers in the TSN guide are incorrect? A Google search on Rick Weist and Taber yielded the
              Message 6 of 16 , Jun 27, 2006
                I approached this from a different angle: what if Weist's numbers in the TSN
                guide are incorrect?

                A Google search on "Rick Weist" and "Taber" yielded the following hit:

                http://www.ajhl.ca/stats/archive_scoring.php

                Here, we can find lists of scoring leaders dating back to 1969-70.
                Generally, the top 15 scorers are listed. The league also lists "Other
                Notables" who didn't make the leaders list (but who, as far as I can tell,
                made the NHL).

                In 1977-78, Weist was 14th in scoring. His totals: 59-30-46-76-78.

                Topping the list of "Other Notables": Mark Messier. His stat line matches
                Total Hockey's: 54-25-49-74-194.

                Ralph, you mention that Messier doesn't appear among the AJHL players. Which
                would be odd for two reasons: 1) we don't have data on him playing in the
                WHL during the regular season, and 2) if he isn't playing for a team coached
                by his dad -- the Messier clan being famously insular -- then where _would_
                he play?

                Your comment about Weist "not being the calibre player who would lead the
                Saints in scoring the following year" also sounded an alarm, since the AJHL
                site has him playing with the Taber Golden Suns.

                Here's a test of the TSN guide: does a guy named Grant Morin appear? The
                AJHL lists him as 15th among league scorers: 36-33-42-75-179.

                If Morin _and_ Messier are absent, then we're looking at a strong likelihood
                of a typesetting or paste-up error at TSN. Not hard to see this:

                Rick Weist, Taber 59-30-46-76-78
                Grant Morin, Ft. Saskatchewan 36-33-42-75-179
                Mark Messier, St. Albert 54-25-49-74-194

                turn into
                Rick Weist, St. Albert 54-25-49-74-194



                As for not being able to confirm that Messier played with St. Albert in
                1978-79, Jeff Klein's 2003 unauthorized biography quotes two articles in the
                Edmonton Journal of November 3, 1978. One, "Gretzky is now an Oiler" by Jim
                Matheson, says: "In the wake of the sale of the Boy Wonder, Racers extended
                a five-game trial Thursday to St. Albert Saints forward Mark Messier."

                In the same day's editions, "St. Albert junior tries WHA" by Cam Cole said:
                "Mark Messier is a seventeen-year-old Tier II junior with St. Albert Saints
                who's going to Winnipeg Sunday to suit up with the Indianapolis Racers. That
                is, after he plays today (vs. Taber Golden Suns) and Saturday (vs. Calgary
                Canucks) in St. Albert. Nothing like this has ever happened in hockey
                before."

                According to Klein, Messier played four road games with the Racers, at
                Winnipeg, Cincinnati, Quebec and Edmonton, between November 5 and 17. While
                the Racers played home-and-home series with Winnipeg and Cincinnati, Messier
                played two games with St. Albert. On November 28, the Racers were back in
                Edmonton, and Messier played the final game of his tryout. While deciding
                whether to turn pro, he played two more games with St. Albert. The Racers
                folded, and Messier signed a pro contract with Cincinnati.

                You may wish to verify this for yourself, but that issue of the Journal
                would be an apt starting point.

                Note also that the Spruce Grove Mets (formerly the Edmonton Mets) were the
                same team as the St. Albert Saints. Both communities are just outside
                Edmonton. Under all three names, Doug Messier coached.

                The team has lately moved back to Spruce Grove, but retained the Saints
                nickname.

                --
                Lloyd Davis Communications
                304-115 Danforth Ave., Toronto, ON M4K 1N2
                416 465 6999 /// 416 462 0230 (fax)
                ldavis@...
              • Lloyd Davis
                There s a Rick Weist on the SIHR database. ... -- Lloyd Davis Communications 304-115 Danforth Ave., Toronto, ON M4K 1N2 416 465 6999 /// 416 462 0230 (fax)
                Message 7 of 16 , Jun 27, 2006
                  There's a Rick Weist on the SIHR database.

                  on 6/27/06 12:03 PM, J.P. Martel at jpmartel_18@... wrote:

                  > Ernie Fitzsimmons is not on this list, but the SIHR
                  > stats (that he contributes to) are consistent with this.
                  > They also don't have a Rick Wiest, although there is a Rich
                  > Wiest from Alberta who has stats from 1982 to 1988.

                  --
                  Lloyd Davis Communications
                  304-115 Danforth Ave., Toronto, ON M4K 1N2
                  416 465 6999 /// 416 462 0230 (fax)
                  ldavis@...
                • James Milks
                  I would think that Rich Wiest and Rick Weist are the same person. Both from Alberta.. Comments? James _____ From: hockhist@yahoogroups.com
                  Message 8 of 16 , Jun 27, 2006
                    I would think that Rich Wiest and Rick Weist are the same person. Both from
                    Alberta.. Comments?



                    James



                    _____

                    From: hockhist@yahoogroups.com [mailto:hockhist@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
                    Of Lloyd Davis
                    Sent: June 27, 2006 1:04 PM
                    To: hockhist@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: Re: [hockhist] Re: Mark Messier St. Albert question



                    There's a Rick Weist on the SIHR database.

                    on 6/27/06 12:03 PM, J.P. Martel at jpmartel_18@
                    <mailto:jpmartel_18%40yahoo.ca> yahoo.ca wrote:

                    > Ernie Fitzsimmons is not on this list, but the SIHR
                    > stats (that he contributes to) are consistent with this.
                    > They also don't have a Rick Wiest, although there is a Rich
                    > Wiest from Alberta who has stats from 1982 to 1988.

                    --
                    Lloyd Davis Communications
                    304-115 Danforth Ave., Toronto, ON M4K 1N2
                    416 465 6999 /// 416 462 0230 (fax)
                    ldavis@bellnet. <mailto:ldavis%40bellnet.ca> ca





                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Karkoski James
                    ... According to this, Wiest had a pretty good year in Taber: http://www.ajhl.ca/stats/archive_scoring.php and, when the Saints were still in St. Albert they
                    Message 9 of 16 , Jun 27, 2006
                      > I tried doing some newspaper research on Messier on
                      > newspaperarchive.com. A few articles come up from 76-77 and his playoff
                      > stint with Portland in 77-78, but no mention of anything from 77-78
                      > AJHL. However, this doesn't prove that he didn't play, since the
                      > coverage of the AJHL was light. Rick Wiest (the player with the same
                      > stats as Messier) does appear to be a real player; he played with the
                      > Taber Palace Pats of the Central Alberta Junior B hockey league in
                      > 1976-77. That lends some creedence to him not being the calibre player
                      > who would lead the Saints in scoring the following year.
                      >


                      According to this, Wiest had a pretty good year in Taber:

                      http://www.ajhl.ca/stats/archive_scoring.php


                      and, when the Saints were still in St. Albert they had a pretty good
                      archive of past season stats on their web site and it's Messier and not
                      Weist on their stats list.


                      How far is Spruce Grove from St. Albert?



                      James
                    • Lloyd Davis
                      ... Sixteen miles if you drive (thanks, Mapquest!) -- a bit closer as the crow flies. Both are about the same distance from downtown Edmonton.
                      Message 10 of 16 , Jun 27, 2006
                        on 6/27/06 7:39 PM, Karkoski James at austin@... wrote:

                        > How far is Spruce Grove from St. Albert?

                        Sixteen miles if you drive (thanks, Mapquest!) -- a bit closer as the crow
                        flies. Both are about the same distance from downtown Edmonton.
                      • Lloyd Davis
                        No. Rich Wiest was born in June 1967. He played five seasons in the WHL, beginning in 1983-84. SIHR doesn t have a birthdate for Rick Weist, but he likely
                        Message 11 of 16 , Jun 27, 2006
                          No. Rich Wiest was born in June 1967. He played five seasons in the WHL,
                          beginning in 1983-84.

                          SIHR doesn't have a birthdate for Rick Weist, but he likely would've been
                          born between 1957 and 1960. SIHR's database shows him playing for Taber
                          Golden Suns in '78-79, though we don't have stats. If he did indeed play in
                          '78-79, he couldn't be born earlier than 1958. I pick 1960 as the young end
                          of the scale because Messier was born in 1961. Their 1977-78 stats are
                          similar, but we must consider that Messier was a precocious 16-year-old.

                          In any event, Rick Weist is at least six years older than Rich Wiest.



                          on 6/27/06 7:02 PM, James Milks at jamesm@... wrote:

                          > I would think that Rich Wiest and Rick Weist are the same person. Both from
                          > Alberta.. Comments?
                        • Brian Moore
                          Don t have anything to add on the numbers, but as for pre Total Hockey I have: 97-98 NHL Guide and Record Book - no stats or teams pre Portland TSN Hockey
                          Message 12 of 16 , Jun 27, 2006
                            Don't have anything to add on the numbers, but as for pre Total Hockey I have:

                            97-98 NHL Guide and Record Book - no stats or teams pre Portland
                            TSN Hockey Register 85-86 - lists Spruce Groves with stats, and St. Alberts with no stats

                            BM

                            slater@... wrote: Total Hockey reports Mark Messier as having played for the St. Albert
                            Saints of the AJHL in 1977-78, scoring 54-25-49-74-194.

                            However, the AJHL statistics were printed in the Sporting News Hockey
                            Guide of 1978-79. On p. 235 they instead list someone named Rick
                            Wiest with those exact same numbers. Mark Messier is not listed in
                            the statistics at all.

                            Can anyone shed light on this? I doubt that two players had the same
                            exact totals, but it seems unlikely for the TSN guide to have made
                            such a big error on a player, so what happened here?

                            Ralph Slate
                            http://www.hockeydb.com





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                          • slater@alum.rpi.edu
                            I m always a little skeptical about recently-compiled sources. All it takes is a well-meaning intern who looked in Total Hockey and said hmm, Messier has
                            Message 13 of 16 , Jun 28, 2006
                              I'm always a little skeptical about recently-compiled sources. All it
                              takes is a well-meaning intern who looked in Total Hockey and said "hmm,
                              Messier has these totals in TH, I better correct our records".

                              That said, you make a very strong case for a typeset error. I'd be a lot
                              less skeptical if their top 15 lists were compiled 25 years ago, before
                              Messier made it big. I don't doubt that he was with the team, I'm just
                              skeptical of Messier's totals being assigned to someone else because
                              this is a very rare thing to do when compiling lists of scorers.

                              I'm on the road right now, but I'll check the TSN guide when I get home
                              on Thursday

                              Ralph


                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            • Lloyd Davis
                              Ralph, all I hope to have accomplished is to make you equally skeptical of the premise that the error necessarily has to be in Messier s record, or that
                              Message 14 of 16 , Jun 28, 2006
                                Ralph, all I hope to have accomplished is to make you equally skeptical of
                                the premise that the error necessarily has to be in Messier's record, or
                                that Messier's record is the only one that is faulty.

                                Clearly, there are now two issues to resolve: the accuracy of Messier's
                                entry in Total Hockey and elsewhere, and the accuracy of Weist's entry in
                                the TSN guide.

                                The "well-meaning intern," or whoever it was who compiled the data for the
                                AJHL site, had to source those Weist numbers somewhere, and would not
                                apparently have used the TSN guide, so it will be interesting to see what a
                                review of that publication yields.

                                on 6/28/06 11:41 AM, slater@... at slater@... wrote:

                                > I'm always a little skeptical about recently-compiled sources. All it
                                > takes is a well-meaning intern who looked in Total Hockey and said "hmm,
                                > Messier has these totals in TH, I better correct our records".

                                --
                                Lloyd Davis Communications
                                304-115 Danforth Ave., Toronto, ON M4K 1N2
                                416 465 6999 /// 416 462 0230 (fax)
                                ldavis@...
                              • Karkoski James
                                ... Which is one of the charming things about Canada I noticed when I was in Southern Ontario a few year back, once you get someplace you never really are very
                                Message 15 of 16 , Jun 29, 2006
                                  On 2006.6.28, at 11:30 AM, Lloyd Davis wrote:

                                  > on 6/27/06 7:39 PM, Karkoski James at austin@... wrote:
                                  >
                                  >> How far is Spruce Grove from St. Albert?
                                  >
                                  > Sixteen miles if you drive (thanks, Mapquest!) -- a bit closer as the
                                  > crow
                                  > flies. Both are about the same distance from downtown Edmonton.
                                  >


                                  Which is one of the charming things about Canada I noticed when I was
                                  in Southern Ontario a few year back, once you get someplace you never
                                  really are very far from another place.


                                  The AJHL list also has Grant Morin with Fort Saskatchewan which the TSN
                                  Guide doesn't. If you look at the end of the AJHL stats in the the TSN
                                  Guide, you'll see that Morin is listed on the AJHL 2nd All star team
                                  and won the MVP award too, which I think kind of proves that the TSN
                                  scoring list is not perfect.


                                  Geez, imagine that, some intern got it right.....


                                  James
                                • Eric L
                                  It was announced today that the impending search for new owners of the 5 time WCHL Champions has failed. The SD Gulls have announced a cessation of operations
                                  Message 16 of 16 , Jun 29, 2006
                                    It was announced today that the impending search for new owners of the 5 time WCHL Champions has failed. The SD Gulls have announced a cessation of operations for the upcoming season and beyond. Here is the offical press relase from the Gulls website.

                                    SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Gulls announced Thursday that they will formally cease operations as of Friday (June 30). Ongoing negotiations to sell the club did not materialize in a timeframe sufficient to operate for the 2006-07 season.



                                    Gulls previous owner Ron Hahn said, “This has been a very difficult process for myself, my family and the Gulls staff. The Gulls tradition is longstanding within this community and I would love to see hockey return to San Diego in the future. We were deep into negotiations with a couple of solid groups; however there was simply not enough time to move forward for this season.”

                                    Gulls Chief Operating Officer Tera Black added, “We will work hard over the next few weeks to refund 100 percent of the season ticket and corporate revenue collected for 2006-07. On behalf of the staff, I want to say a very sincere thank you to all of those who so graciously supported hockey in this community for the last several years. I truly hope that for all those who enjoyed coming to Gulls games, that hockey will once again return to this great city in the years to come.”

                                    The Gulls offices will remain open until all matters involving season ticket holders and sponsors have been completely resolved. Gulls Director of Ticket Sales Mick Ysursa will be handling matters relative to season ticket holders and can be reached at extension 401*. Alan Friedman will be working with Gulls sponsors, his extension is 327*. Black will be on hand to oversee all matters and will also assist in facilitating a prompt refund process and she can be reached at extension 308*.


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