Wayne Gretzky may be the most prolific goal scorer in hockey today but, without a doubt, the best all-around player is Bryan Trottier of the Islanders. He not only scores a lot of goals and assists on many others, but he is also one of the better defensive forwards in the game. He can take what is dished out to him by opposing teams and doesn't need a goon to protect him.
Lord Stanley's Cup will again reside on Long Island at the conclusion of the season.
Culver City, Calif.
Congratulations on finally allotting some space to college hockey and its premier league, the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (When You Say Wisconsin..., Feb. 8). In this day of sanctioned hooliganism in the NHL, collegiate-level hockey has shown the nation—and the world—the true essence of the sport. While the rest of the country was awestruck at the success of the little band of "unknowns" at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics, devotees of WCHA hockey weren't particularly surprised to see our representatives—more than half the team were WCHA players—persevere where NHL all-star teams had failed and defeat the Russians.
L. SCOTT AYERS
The University of Wisconsin's hockey record—six trips to the NCAA final four in the past 12 years, with three national titles—is impressive. However, the University of Minnesota's record—five appearances in the final two in the past eight years, with three championships—is equally noteworthy. The difference between the programs is that the Gophers play only Minnesota high school products, while the Badgers skate Canadians, a few Wisconsinites and as many Minnesotans as Coach Johnson can recruit.
LEONARD S. RICE
CUMMINGS AND AGUIRRE
We were teammates of Terry Cummings and Mark Aguirre at DePaul. Terry is a great player and deserves the attention you have given him (The Best College Player under 7'4", Feb. 15). Our criticism concerns the manner in which you've portrayed Aguirre. If it weren't for Mark, DePaul might still be the "small school under the El tracks." The instant success Aguirre brought DePaul—Final Four and one of the best win-loss records in college basketball—was the magnet that attracted such prize recruits as Cummings. Since his departure, the media, some of his teammates and coaches have attempted to make Mark a scapegoat for DePaul's poor showing in postseason play. Actually, the blame lies with everyone connected with the team.
Few people realize the burden the media place upon an individual to fulfill an image created by those same media. Many public figures have difficulty dealing with this exposure. No 20-year-old college student can be expected to live up to someone else's ideal. Unfortunately, Aguirre's talent provided sports fans an opportunity to scrutinize his transition into manhood. If Mark actually were as lazy and had as many problems as the sportswriters said, surely he wouldn't have been the first player chosen in the draft.
We would like to thank Mark for the exposure he gave to DePaul and to us. We'd also ask some of his critics to examine this situation a little more closely.
DENNIS M. McGUIRE
SAMUEL J. MANELLA
SOUTH CAROLINA'S WOES
Thank you for the tastefully written, unbiased report on ex-South Carolina Basketball Coach Pam Parsons (Special Report: Stormy Weather at South Carolina, Feb. 8). Jill Lieber and Jerry Kirshenbaum did an excellent job. However, I find it appalling that Frani Washington and Pat Mason had the gall to blow the whistle on Parsons. Did either of them decline the money offered to them? Did either one question or even bother to check on the legality of Parsons' offerings? There are ways.
I'm not saying that what Parsons reportedly did was correct, but I am tired of reading about athletes who fail to accept their part of the responsibility and then run around screaming foul. Pam Parsons is an excellent basketball coach. That she apparently couldn't separate her personal life from her public coaching life is unfortunate. However, she deserved better from those players who had a sudden attack of morality.
More than a sense of anger or shock, I felt utter sadness upon reading your all-too-accurate commentary on women's college athletics. Women's sports are following the well-worn path to collegiate professionalism. Many young women no longer play for the thrill of victory but rather for the dollar. In my opinion, Pam Parsons is at fault for her breach of scholastic and athletic regulations. However, I find the players—Pat Mason and Frani Washington—equally contemptible for accepting monetary gifts. Players who receive and sometimes demand such consideration should be subject to disciplinary measures. These athletes should lose a year of eligibility and any opportunity they may have had for a scholarship.