Punch-up has new life

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:58 AM ET

The controversial Hockey Gladiators tournament, already forced to shift from venues in Minneaplis and Winnipeg, could end up in the Boston suburb of Lowell.

Former Bruins enforcer Lyndon Byers, now a radio host, has taken an active role in the organized punch-up and intends to participate on Jan. 15 at Lowell's Paul Tsongas Arena.

"Did you think I was going to pass this up?" the 40-year-old Byers told the Boston Globe. "The details still have to be worked out, but everyone's hopeful that it will be here at the Tsongas, in New England, in the mecca of hockey fighting."

First proposed as a two-day, 32-man event for late August, the card was moved because of renovations at the Target Center in Minneapolis.

Plans to make Winnipeg the site were halted by legal concerns. Now, it's down to a one-day affair with Byers and 15 other fighters in pursuit of $135,000 US with the winner getting $100,000. The license needs approval by the arena and the Massachusetts Boxing Commission.

OPEN THE BOOKS

Todd Marchant says NHL players are at a huge disadvantage trying to make their case to fans because their million-dollar salaries are public, while the owners' books are not.

"We don't agree (with the owners) and I don't think we'll ever agree that they're losing hundreds of millions of dollars every year," the Columbus Blue Jackets veteran forward told Leafs TV on Sunday. "You don't buy and sell franchises if they're losing $50 million or $60 million (US) a year. It's bad business. But if a guy can come in and buy a team and judge his books and say, 'I am losing money', then it is a good idea to do that. It's creative accounting and perfectly legal.

"The players do make a good living and we definitely believe the owners do. Now it's a question of finding some sort of middle ground. The most difficult part is that they're asking us to fix their problem. (Commissioner Gary Bettman) knows he has a portion of his ownership group that are just going to go out and spend money (like) it just doesn't matter and that's what ruins the league for everyone else."


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