Stop this goon show

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 6:58 AM ET

Here's hoping residents of Prince George, B.C., and potential pay-per-viewers out there take a big pass on the Battle of the Hockey Enforcers.

Slated for Aug. 27, the exhibition of fighters -- featuring such forgettable hockey players as Link Gaetz, John Craighead and former Flames hopeful Mike Sgroi -- will feature upwards of 16 tough guys squaring off in elimination bouts for $140,000 in prize money.

Cities including Minneapolis (where 5,000 tickets were sold before the plug was pulled), Winnipeg, Philadelphia, Boston and Montreal decided against hosting the event.

Hockey already has a bad enough image and thanks to this kind of event, it'll only be perpetuated by those who see it only as a blood-lust sport. Everybody involved in an event that disgraces the game like this has no right to call themselves hockey fans.

RINK RAP: The jokers running Formula One sure did the NHL a big favour. By holding a race in which 14 of 20 cars pulled out before even starting, F-1 ensured the NHL -- when it returns -- won't be the least-watched pro sport south of the border. Hey, take those positives when you can ... If you have money burning a hole in your pocket, you can buy shares in the fledgling WHA. Seriously, check out www.world hockeyassociation.net. While you're at it, you may want to buy stocks in Enron and Bre-X.

SQUEEZE PLAYS: Here's a question for today's baseball players: Why is every pitch thrown inside cause for chaos? Batters expect to lean out over the plate in the hopes of pulling a ball out of the park but benches almost clear every time one comes within six inches of their bodies ... Glad to see Carmen Electra stop by Toronto to throw out a first pitch while en route to being part of a future season of The Surreal Life ... This season's interleague action has provided its share of intriguing World Series matchups, especially if the Angels -- the club in Los Angeles via Anaheim -- advance to the fall classic. The Braves hate the Angels because of Darin Erstad's collision with Johnny Estrada, while the Nationals dislike them after Mike Scioscia played a ludicrous game of one-upmanship after Frank Robinson's squad caught pitcher Brendan Donnelly with pine tar on his glove. Of course, there's also the potential for a repeat between St. Louis and Boston, which has its own bad blood. Gotta admit, nothing makes a rivalry better than old-fashioned hatred.

GLOBE TROTTING: Judging by the pants he was wearing for his historic U.S. Open final round, Michael Campbell will join Tony Soprano's crew if that golf thing doesn't workout ... Aside from Tiger Woods, Retief Goosen was the last guy we thought would start a Sunday with a three-shot lead and promptly fire an 81 ... Remind us again how basketball is more exciting than hockey. This year's final had all the makings of a thriller but thanks to stifling defences that make the left-wing lock appear run-and-gun, it has been worse than any NHL final series in history, including that Colorado-Florida snoozefest of 1996.

LAST RITES: T-shirt of the week award goes to the brain who created the top -- available at Jersey City -- that says: Dishwasher help wanted. Must have NHL experience.


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