Cheers to Mario Lemieux for 12 successful seasons and for ending his NHL career with style and class.
CLARANCE EVAN DALE SANTOS, ADELANTO, CALIF.
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, Fran�ois 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.
STEVEN A. GAINEY, Bowie, Md.
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
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.
MICHAEL DALTON, London, Ont.
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
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 fees?
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 ZAHNISUR, 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.