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Stars to put their name on ClubCorp country club

Posted: Wednesday August 13, 2003 6:53 PM

DALLAS (AP) -- The Dallas Stars delved into uncharted waters Wednesday by agreeing to lend the team name to a country club in suburban Dallas.

This is the first such marketing venture between a pro sports team and a private golf course.

The Clubs at Stonebridge Ranch, a notoriously difficult layout by renowned course designer Pete Dye, will be rechristened The Dallas Stars Country Club. A renovated clubhouse will be decked in hockey memorabilia.

Stars captain Mike Modano, looking tanned and rested for the upcoming season, unveiled the golf resort's new logo -- a tilted star superimposed over a crest, all in team colors of green, gold and black.

The Stars hope to sell a few more season tickets by dangling free rounds of gont of their best customers. The Stars -- NHL champions in 1999 -- sold more than 10,000 season tickets last year, down from 13,000 the year before, when they moved into a new arena.

Stars officials said the team won't pay anything in the country club deal.

The team announced the agreement Wednesday on a balcony overlooking the putting green and a huge pond at the suburban country club, about 30 miles from the Stars arena in downtown Dallas.

It won't be the first course with a pro sports theme, however.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and a partner opened a Cowboys-themed public fee course in Grapevine in 2001. It offers discounts for football ticket holders.

Stars President Jim Lites said the hockey team approached ClubCorp, the owner of the McKinney club and about 100 other courses, about offering hockey fans free rounds or discounted trips to golf resorts. They wound up with the idea of renaming the country club.

"We look for unique ways that set us off from not only other hockey teams but other professional sports teams," Lites said. "When you look at things to make your product deeper and broader, we looked at things that season-ticket holders would enjoy."

For the owner of Stonebridge Ranch, Dallas-based ClubCorp, the deal is one more attempt to sell out the last 100 golfing memberships. The club has about 400 members, officials said.

The two-course club, which opened in 1988, hasn't had a full membership since ClubCorp bought it in 1999. The downturn in the local economy -- especially severe in Dallas' northern suburbs like McKinney -- and competition from many other courses haven't helped.

Stonebridge Ranch is cutting initiation fees from the $18,000-$20,000 range to $12,500. It will also spend about $500,000 to renovate the clubhouse, said Doug Howe, executive vice president of ClubCorp.

Howe said ClubCorp hopes the affiliation with the popular team -- the Stars have sold out 237 straight home games -- will help Stonebridge Ranch build a waiting list to join. The company also expects to earn revenue from sales of food and drinks and Stars' merchandise, he said.

"We would like to take this model and use it as a springboard to do similar things in other cities around the country," Howe said. He said ClubCorp was talking to the Texas Rangers baseball team, which -- like the Stars -- is controlled by Dallas investor Tom Hicks.

Blue Jackets re-sign RW McDonell, LW Reich

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ticker) -- The Columbus Blue Jackets retained two restricted free agents Wednesday, re-signing right wing Kent McDonell and left wing Jeremy Reich.

Terms were not disclosed.

McDonell made his NHL debut with Columbus last season, playing in the club's final three games without registering a point. The 24-year-old collected 14 goals and 24 assists with 93 penalty minutes in 72 games with the Blue Jackets' American Hockey League affiliate in Syracuse.

Acquired from Detroit in 2000, McDonell was drafted by Carolina in 1997 but re-entered the draft two years later and was selected by the Red Wings.

Reich, 24, has yet to appear in the NHL after being drafted by Chicago in 1997. Signed as a free agent by Columbus in 2000, he spent the last three seasons with Syracuse, recording 29 goals and 29 assists in 190 games.

Wild fill out broadcast team by hiring McConnell

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Matt McConnell was named television play-by-play announcer Wednesday for the Minnesota Wild.

McConnell, with assistance from analyst Mike Greenlay, will broadcast the team's games on KMSP-TV FOX 9 (over-the-air) and Fox Sports Net (cable).

McConnell was the TV voice of the Atlanta Thrashers for the past four seasons after spending the previous three years as radio play-by-play man for the Pittsburgh Penguins. He did the same thing for the Anaheim Mighty Ducks from 1993-96 and has also broadcast regular season and playoff games for NHL Radio.

ECHL player working at car wash for summer

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) -- Bobby Brown spends part of the year on ice skates. The rest he's in rubber boots.

Brown, a forward for the Louisiana IceGators who scored 79 points last season, has started his own car washing business this summer.

"I dont have a job in the summer and I dont get paid, so I have to have something to do," Brown said. "I have my own hours. Its tough in the heat and humidity, but Ill do anything to pay the bills."

Brown plans to re-sign with the IceGators this year and his wife works in Lafayette, so they decided washing cars would be a good opportunity to earn extra money, instead of moving the family back to Canada for a few months.

With the help of the IceGators Booster Club, Brown began passing out flyers and visiting businesses to pass the word of his new job.

"Basically, I've got a little trailer with an 80 gallon tank of water," Brown said. "I vacuum inside, detail the inside and then I wash the outside, shammy dry it and dress up the tires. Its basically the same service you would get at other places, but the convenience is I come to your place of business or residence."

Brown charges $22 a full wash for cars and $30 for SUVs, vans or trucks. It takes approximately 45 minutes for him to wash and detail the cars.

On a good day, Brown said he gets about 10 cars, but averages about four per day.

"Nobody is getting rich as a player in this league," Brown said. "We play for the love of the game. Look at myself, I have to scratch with a summer job to make sure the bills get paid."

Russian sports chiefs at odds over huge Olympic bonuses

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Russian Olympic chiefs have criticised the country's top sports official for promising huge cash bonuses to winning athletes in next year's Athens Games.

Russian media reported on Wednesday that sports minister Vyacheslav Fetisov had promised $1 million to every competitor who wins a gold medal for the country in Athens.

"We have discussed ways to help our Olympians for a long time and now for the first time, we have had a real offer from our business community," Fetisov's spokesman told local media.

That promise, however, did not go down well with Russian Olymgachyov told a news conference.

"It has been a standard practice in the past and as far as I know it will continue to remain such," he said.

"So it looks to me as if his (Fetisov's) latest comments are nothing more than a good public relations exercise ahead of next year's Olympics."

Tyagachyov and Fetisov have been fighting for supremacy and control of Russian sports since the former ice hockey great was appointed chairman of the State Sports Committee in May, 2002.

Smirnov added: "This million-dollar bonus for winners raises a lot of questions."

"What about those who come second or third? What about coaches, how do we reward them for their efforts? And what about the future Olympics?

"Will we make the same promises for the 2006 Winter Games or will it be a one shot deal?

"What if, by giving away huge bonuses, we're putting enormous pressure on athletes to win at all costs?

"These are very serious questions we must answer first."

Tyagachyov said the ROC would need at least $100 million to compete with other leading nations in Athens.

"We would need at least $100 million to do well in 2004, because I know that other leading countries, like our main adversaries the United States, have a budget of more than $1 billion at their disposal," he said.

"So if there are some rich Russian businessmen like [new Chelsea owner Roman] Abramovich who are willing to help us, then I would vote for [$1 million bonuses] with both hands."

Russian billionaire Abramovich has spent almost $120 million on new players since he bought the English premier league club in July for 60 million pounds ($96.21 million).

It has been a common practice worldwide to pay athletes cash bonuses for winning Olympic medals.

Russian government has paid $50,000, $20,000 and $10,000 to every gold, silver and bronze medal winner at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney and the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City.

However, Russia's individual Olympic champions received a $100,000 bonus at the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta and the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano.

 
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