Next week the Stanley Cup playoffs begin among the top four finishers in the National Hockey League. The participants are now known. Last week the Detroit Red Wings mathematically clinched fourth place, behind Chicago, Toronto and Montreal. For citizens of these four cities, the glory is the thing; for the players, the Stanley Cup runneth over—with cash.
The finances of the NHL are often bewildering to track down, but they go like this: each player on the team that finishes first during the regular season gets $1,000, the second-place team members get $500, third-place finishers are given $350, and fourth $150 each.
Then the first-place team plays the third, the second-place team plays the fourth in the semifinals of the Cup. Before starting play for the finals, the two teams that have been victorious in the semis are rewarded $1,250 per player, and the eliminated losers get $750 each. The eventual winners of the Stanley Cup get another $1,750 apiece while the losing finalists draw $750.
Thus, if a team is able to win the league championship and skate on to victory in the Stanley Cup, each player will have earned himself a tidy $4,000 above his regular salary.
The thunder of bowling balls can be heard far beyond even the New Frontiers of this country. In Paris, American-style bowling is the rage. Geneva and Monte Carlo, Biarritz and Antwerp, Stockholm and Rome, are also having a bowling boom. The Swedes have an installation inside the Arctic Circle, and Germany's Bayreuth opens this week.
The American Machine & Foundry Company has been installing its alley equipment all over Europe and packing 'em in. At the International Trade Fair in Vienna last fall, AMF set up two lanes for exhibition purposes, allowed each visitor to throw two balls on each lane and drew 500,000 people. The Russians in the neighboring pavilion cried foul—nobody seemed interested in their tractors. (They have not yet claimed to have invented the bowling ball.)
Europeans are bowling extremely well in the American tenpin game, which is new to many of them. For generations they played ninepins, the game Rip Van Winkle liked before he went to sleep. At Geneva a big tournament was held a couple of weeks ago. Ernst Hauser of Zurich won it with an average of 182 for six games, and he had never seen a bowling alley until two months before. Europeans, used to throwing a straight ball down wood or asphalt, are very accurate on spares. At the Geneva tournament the 4-6 split was made twice. Many American bowlers have never made the 4-6 or the equally difficult 7-9 or 8-10 splits.
The fight to acquire football clients still rages between the American Football League Texans and the National Football League Cowboys in Dallas.