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Original Issue


Cheers to Mario Lemieux for 12 successful seasons and for ending
his NHL career with style and class.


The reference in your Mario Lemieux story (No Regrets, April 14)
to the 1965 retirement of Jim Brown as the last pro to retire
while still at the top was inaccurate by one year. In 1966 Sandy
Koufax, baseball's premier pitcher, announced his retirement at
age 30.
RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, Westminster, Calif.

Lemieux is right when he speaks of the sorry state of the NHL,
including noncalls for grabbing, hooking and cross-checking.
Hockey is no longer fun to watch, and the greatest player of his
era says that it's no longer fun to play. The NHL governors
apparently believe that the have-not teams can compete if the
league allows nonathletes to corral stars, but surely the
average fan sees that he is being cheated. End-to-end rushes by
the likes of Lemieux, Wayne Gretzky, Guy Lafleur, Bobby Orr and
Bobby Hull are a thing of the past unless referees start
implementing the rule book.
BOB KAY, Gloucester, Ont.

Lemieux's constant complaining about the "garage" hockey
practiced by others in the NHL reeks of hypocrisy. During his
career Lemieux has had as teammates such noted goons, stickmen
and cheap-shot artists as Jay Caufield, Francois Leroux, Marty
McSorley, Gary Rissling and Ulf Samuelsson. Lemieux has never
been in the running for the Lady Byng Trophy, awarded to the NHL
player who best combines sportsmanship, gentlemanly conduct and
playing ability.


Tim Layden's article on ticket scalping (The Hustle, April 7)
gave an excellent picture of the ticket distribution system.
From my experience in investigating and attempting to enforce
the law in New York State, however, I believe that you did not
sufficiently emphasize the primary way that tickets are diverted
to speculators, who make exorbitant profits at the expense of
average fans. I refer to "ice," the practice of paying bribes to
people who work in box offices or control the distribution of
tickets at a venue.
DENNIS C. VACCO, N.Y. State Attorney General, Albany, N.Y.

Your article portrayed scalping as a noble pursuit, a means for
people to get tickets to events that they otherwise could not
obtain. Unfortunately, this system allows only those who can
afford inflated prices to attend some of the most exclusive
sporting events of the year. The average fan is usually left out.

After paying more than $1,700 for a package, including a
guaranteed ticket to the Super Bowl in January, about 110 of us
were left on the sidewalks of New Orleans because "reputable"
ticket brokers had absconded with the money from the tour
company with whom we had booked. Perhaps it is time for the NFL,
the NCAA and others to let states and cities know that they will
be inclined to hold their high-priced events only in locales
where scalping is illegal.
GERARD E. MAHONEY, Medford, Mass.

I know there will be some negative letters, but ask yourself
which is worse: the scalper who raises the price of a ticket for
his own profit but sometimes gets a prime seat from a
season-ticket holder into circulation, or those charge-by-phone
ticket services that add $5 to $10 in so-called miscellaneous
S. JOHNSTON, Chicago

During our honeymoon in Cincinnati last year, my wife and I paid
$40 ($17 more than face value) to the first scalper we saw for
two seats near the dugout for a Marlins-Reds game at Riverfront
Stadium. I am sure we got ripped off, but the memories of that
afternoon--honoring Johnny Bench and Fred Hutchinson as their
retired jerseys were displayed for the first time at
Riverfront--will last longer than the $17 would have.
DAVID ZAHNISER, Lexington, Ky.


I was startled at your omission of the Philadelphia Flyers' John
LeClair as a candidate for the NHL MVP award (SCORECARD, April
14). Not only is LeClair the best winger in hockey, but he also
plays with tremendous intensity and desire. This season he had
the highest plus-minus ratio (+44) and scored at least 50 goals
for the second consecutive year.
M. BRETT MANDES, Southampton, Pa.

B/W PHOTO: TONY TRIOLO The day when a Hull could go end-to-end is gone. [Bobby Hull in game]