News from June 1997

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Thursday, June 20, 1997.

Pavel to miss Celebrity All-Star Game

It has come to our attention that Pavel will not play at the Celebrity All-Star hockey game to be played in Detroit this month, as he has not been cleared by the team doctors to do so.

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We featured this magnetic picture of Pavel in last month's news on this web site. We have been offered to release this souvernir of Pavel to visitors to this web site for only $4.50. email us at


Click on the smaller image to see the real-size enlarged picture.

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Tuesday, June 10, 1997.

Russian Mob Shakes Down NHL Players

WASHINGTON (Reuter) -- The extent of extortion by the Russian mafia among NHL players is greater than previously believed, according to congressional investigators.

ESPN, citing a 15-month Senate investigation produced more than 100 interviews with NHL players, officials, owners, team officials and agents, reports that serious conclusions have been made about the Russian mafia's influence among NHL players.

There are 50 former Soviet players in the NHL and most of them are Russian.

``If you add in people who would know firsthand about extortion that occurred, I would venture to say, based upon our investigation, that a significant percentage of Russian hockey players skating in the NHL have been extorted in some way,'' Senate investigator Michael Bopp told ESPN. ``Based on the sample of players we spoke to, I would conclude that a third of the players had some direct involvement.''

ESPN made its original report regarding the Russian mob roughly six months ago. At the time, the network cited Vancouver Canucks superstar Pavel Bure's association with a figure in the Russia mafia. Bure acknowledged the relationship, claiming it was legitimate business.

The NHL's vice president of security, Dennis Cunningham, does not agree with the Senate's findings, telling ESPN that the number is blown up.

``I would say that's inflated as far as I was concerned,'' Cunningham said. ``I was kind of surprised he would pull this number out. We have asked for the specifics and attempted to help him on many occasions. So I'm a little bit surprised he could make that blanket statement. And I'd be happy to speak to him about that.''

ESPN also cited law enforcement sources in two different countries that the one-third figure is easily accurate and indicates an ongoing problem.

Bopp described an unnamed player's run-in with the Russian mafia.

``The player at first didn't say anything, denied knowing anything about extortion,'' Bopp said. ``Then the player said, and it seemed almost like a relief, the player told me, Look, `I'll tell you this once, then I'm not going to tell you again, so don't ask me. I'm not going to testify, but I'll tell you about being extorted.' And he proceeded to tell me an involved story lasting a period of several months where he was systematically extorted by an individual that we know to be connected to Russian organized crime. And this extortion included threats to his family, requests of six-figure payments, threats to blow up his car and then actual acts of damaging his property and threatening people he lived with.''

In addition, the Senate's investigation also uncovered the Russian mafia's entry into the National Basketball association and tennis.

``I have heard some evidence of Russian organized crime also attempting to or actually extorting basketball players from the former Soviet Union, and in one instance, a tennis player from the former Soviet Union,'' Bopp revealed.

ESPN cited a source that said an NBA player faced a six-figure payoff to protect his family. The NBA told ESPN that it has no knowledge, rumor or otherwise, of encroachment by the Russian mafia, while the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), the governing body of men's tennis, told the network that no player has ever come forward. ESPN's law enforcement said Russian mafia figures were observed at the Lipton Championships in Key Biscayne, Florida earlier this year.

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NHL COIN web site

The NHL coin set being sold at the 711 stores now has a web-site, so that those wishing to purchase a coin, will be able to find a distributor in your area.

Click here to see their site.

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Bure's sore neck delays Olympic plans.

Wednesday, June 4, 1997.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -- Pavel Bure still has a sore neck from an old whiplash injury and the recurring problem casts doubt about his participation in the Winter Olympic Games in February.
Bure returned to Canada from Moscow this week and will be examined by team doctors for the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday.
The Russian forward was injured in the season-opener in Ocober when he was checked into the boards by Calgary defenseman Todd Simpson.
Bure, who scored 60 goals in 1992-93 and 1993-94, played until early March when the pain became unbearable and he missed the last six weeks of the NHL season.
The jet-setting Bure has been in Moscow, London, Paris and Amsterdam in recent weeks, playing tennis with friends and hoping the pain would subside.
It hasn't.
"It's still bothering me," Bure said Tuesday when he attended ceremonies to unveil the new logo and uniform of the Canucks. "That's why I came to Vancouver, to see my doctor. The neck and back still get stiff if I sit for half an hour."
Bure can play tennis without pain, but said it stiffens up later.
"It's not like it's a sharp pain," he said. "It just gets really stiff, although in general it's getting much better." Bure will be examind by Dr. Ross Davidson, who treated him for several months before it was determined in March that rest was in order.
Davidson also performed surgery on Bure's knee when the right wing was injured in November 1995 when checked by Chicago's Steve Smith.
Bure returned from the knee injury last summer to train with the Russian national team formed for the World Cup of Hockey. But he missed the tournament after bruising a kidney during an exhibition game against the United States.
The Russian Ice Hockey Federation wants Bure in the lineup for the Nagano Games in February when current NHL players will be allowed to participate in the Olympics for the first time.
"I'll be happy to play because last year was really bad for me," he said. "Too many injuries."
There have been published reports that Bure may want to play for Canada should he gain a Canadian passport. Bure maintains residences in Vancouver and Moscow.
Which country would be play for?
"First of all, I just want to get healthy," he said. "Hopefully before September or October. Then we'll go from there."

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New Canucks Logo Revealed

Tuesday, June 3, 1997.

Canucks Logo Fact Sheet

The Logo and Colors

The team's new colors are deep blue, deep red, sky blue and silver.
The new Canucks logo features a stylized "C" with a killer whale bursting through ice to form the highest point of the letter.

Why the "C"

The "C" stands for Canucks. But, it will also come to stand for what it means to be a Canuck character, commitment and courage.

Why the Change?

The team has looked at possible change for the past three years.
Research conducted with fans, players and Season Ticket Holders indicated that there was a desire for a new uniform.
There was a desire to have a logo and colors that represent Vancouver and the West Coast.

Who Initiated the Change?

The logo change was a Vancouver Canucks initiative and has been considered for the past three years.

Why the Killer Whale?

It is instantly associated with the West Coast of British Columbia and fans worldwide will know where the Canucks are from.
Few creatures possess the power, the grace, and the physical presence of the killer whale.
The killer whale was the predominant choice of Canucks management, players, fans and ownership.

Who Designed the Logo?

Canuck Management, Players and Ownership
Canucks Fans and Season Ticket Holders
National Hockey League
David Youngson, Creative Director, Orca Bay Sports and Entertainment
Brent Lynch Local artist from White Rock, BC

Is True Native Art Used in the Logo?

The art used in the new Canucks logo is North West style art. It is not Native art and not meant to be.
The Canucks contacted Native artist, Richard Krentz, to insure the hockey club did not incorrectly use any native design traditions with the new logo. Mr. Krentz indicated this wasn't an issue because the new Canucks logo wasn't true native art, but a design using a "native style" recognizable to the West Coast.

What Kind of Research was Conducted to Conclude a Change was Desired by the Fans?

Focus groups comprised of fans and Season Ticket Holders.

Vancouver area residents will be able to watch the BCTV's special on the Canucks' new look: On Your Mark... the Canucks Hockey Heritage , at 7:00 p.m. tonite.

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Pavel and Brother accept All-Star invitation

Monday, June 2, 1997. Pavel and Valeri have accepted the invitation to play in the 1977 'Celebrity-All Star Hockey Game" to be played at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit on June 22nd, 1997.

It is not known though at this time, due to Pavel's medical problems with his neck whether he'll actually play in the game, pending clearance by the Vancouver Canuck team physicians.

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