Bill and Nancy Laurie, who in March unsuccessfully bid $400 million for the NHL's Colorado Avalanche, the NBA's Denver Nuggets, and their new home, the Pepsi Center, found a bargain Tuesday.
The heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune bought the NHL's St. Louis Blues and their arena, the 5-year-old Kiel Center, for $100 million. The 20,000-seat Kiel Center cost $135 million, and the team's worth has been estimated at more than $100 million.
Clark Enterprises, the selling group of 19 prominent St. Louis businessmen, will realize little from the sale, since the deal includes $96 million in debt on Kiel Center. Clark apparently tired of pumping money into the franchise, however, and the team had been for sale for nearly a year.
"We've been searching for the right professional sports program for a number of months," Bill Laurie said Tuesday. "It's incredible that the opportunity was literally in our backyard."
Restricted NHL free agent Robert Reichel will play for a team in the Czech Republic after failing to get a deal from the Phoenix Coyotes, a Czech newspaper reported. Reichel will play for HC Litvinov at least until Oct. 1, when the NHL season begins.
Tom Rooney, who worked for the Pittsburgh Penguins from 1981-90 in their marketing and promotions department, was hired by new owner Mario Lemieux as the team's chief operating officer. Ken Sawyer, the NHL's chief financial officer from 1979-93, also was hired as the Penguins' chief financial officer. . . . The Buffalo Sabres re-signed center Wayne Primeau to a one-year deal worth $525,000 with $100,000 in incentives.
Morocco's Hicham El Guerrouj broke his third world record of the season, shattering the 2,000-meter mark by more than three seconds in the ISTAF track meet at Berlin, Germany. El Guerrouj, running alone over the final two laps, was timed in 4 minutes 44.79 seconds. The previous record of 4:47.88 was set by Noureddine Morceli of Algeria at Paris in 1995.
Also, 800-meter runner Wilson Kipketer of Kenya and 5,000-meter runner Gabriela Szabo of Romania split $1 million for winning at all seven Golden League meets.
Rene Simoes, coach of the Jamaican national soccer team, remained hospitalized and is expected to miss today's game against the United States at Kingston, Jamaica. Simoes, who suffers from high blood pressure, collapsed in Toronto Sept. 1. . . . Sydney Olympic organizers were warned repeatedly not to release track and field tickets, but they did so to help balance their finances, the International Amateur Athletics Federation said. The IAAF said that since the track and field schedule had not been approved before the Sydney organizing committee began selling tickets it is subject to change, even though tickets have already been sold for events. . . . Asia accepted a compromise for the 2002 World Cup in which it will get four berths in the soccer tournament and a chance for a fifth in a playoff with the 14th team in European qualifying.
Joe-Max Moore scored with 2:52 to play to give the New England Revolution a 3-2 victory over the Kansas City Wizards before a season-low crowd of about 2,000 at Foxboro, Mass. . . . Former Alabama basketball player Alvin Lee died when his car overturned on a Virginia highway Sunday, state police said. . . . Former NFL quarterback Art Schlichter pleaded not guilty to new charges that he used prison pay phones to bet on football and hockey games through a Las Vegas bookmaker while incarcerated in Indiana last November for theft, forgery and fraud. A trial date of Nov. 17 was set.
The Sacramento Kings signed center Bill Wennington, a 12-year veteran and member of three NBA championship teams with the Chicago Bulls. . . . The Washington Wizards signed first-round draft pick Richard Hamilton of Connecticut to a three-year deal worth about $5.9 million.
Former cycling champion Thierry Claveyrolat, a former stage winner in the Tour de France, committed suicide, French police said. He was 40.. . . . Vanessa Atler, a 17-year-old Canyon Country gymnast who is a leading contender for the U.S. Olympic team, has left the Charter Oak Gliders in Covina and is expected to announce shortly that she will leave home to continue her training for the Sydney Games under a new coach.