Ticket cheque-mate

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:11 AM ET

The cheques will be in the mail today.

And Maple Leaf season ticket holders can expect to get even more of their investment back -- and then some -- should the 2004-05 NHL campaign be scuttled in the coming days as many are predicting.

"If -- and let me emphasize if -- the NHL season were to be cancelled, we would refund our subscribers accordingly," Richard Peddie, president of Maple Leaf Sports&Entertainment, said yesterday.

"We've already been doing it dating back to Sept. 1. This is our fourth set of cheques. They should be distributed (today)."

In the coming days subscribers will be refunded ticket monies for games cancelled in the month of January plus 4.75% interest on what they originally shelled out.

"That's why it makes sense that the league just call the season," Maple Leafs defenceman Ken Klee said. "It's the (NHL's) business and they can run it any way they want, but at least this way they can give the money back and let ticket holders spend their hard-earned cash on something else. I think it would be a lot more fair to the people who have tickets and private boxes because it would avoid the pain of keeping everyone guessing."

HOPE FADING

If there were any legitimate hopes harboured by many NHLers about salvaging the season, they all but faded away in recent days in the minds of many players.

Klee, for example, had been regularly working out at a Colorado rink with a number of other well-known NHLers including Joe Sakic, Steve Konowalchuk, Curtis Leschyshyn, Adam Foote and Antti Laaksonen

But attendance has eroded of late as players became more disenchanted about the fading prospect of seeing the season salvaged.

"The last week or so, the number of guys who were coming out has really tapered off," he said. "Every time (the NHL) says it's crunch time, nothing seems to happen.

"Since (commissioner Gary Bettman) needs only eight teams for approval, I feel bad for the other 22 teams in the league who are being held hostage as a result."


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