On a goal in a Finnish second division game, Canadian Olympic women's hockey team star Hayley Wickenheiser, thus becoming the first woman to earn a point in a men's pro hockey game. The 24-year-old Wickenheiser, who's on a 30-day tryout with Kirkkonummi Salamat, won a face-off back to defenseman Matti Tevanen, who scored on a slap shot from the point, helping Kirkkonummi to a 7-3 win & over Kettera. Four other women had played in a pro men's league, including three goalies and Germany's Maren Valenti, who played 24 games at forward for Freiburg of her nation's second division in 1998-99 but did not have a point or a penalty.
Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal for remarks about Rockets center Yao Ming that were construed as insensitive. After O'Neal told reporters that they should "tell Yao Ming, 'Ching-chong-yang-wah-ah-soh,'" an editorial in AsianWeek decried the mock-Chinese gibberish as a "racial taunt." Last Friday, O'Neal called a pregame press conference to say, "If I hurt anybody's feelings, I'm sorry. I said it jokingly."
For bankruptcy protection, the Buffalo Sabres, who owe their 40 largest creditors more than $206 million. The Sabres have been operated by the NHL since last June, after the collapse of former owner John Rigas's Adelphia Communications Corp. Buffalo businessman Mark Hamister's attempt to buy the Sabres has been delayed by the state of New York's refusal to loan him $23 million. Among the Sabres' creditors are three current players owed deferred signing bonuses: forward Curtis Brown ($133,000), defensemen Jay McKee ($133,000) and Brian Campbell ($25,000). The filing came just four days after the Ottawa Senators sought bankruptcy protection from a debt load of more than $92 million (page 60).
To the bench of the University of Washington women's basketball team, Huskies guard Kayla Burt, whose teammates kept her alive with CPR after her heart stopped on New Year's Eve. Burt, 20, was watching the 11 p.m. news in her Seattle apartment with several fellow Huskies when she fell off her bed and fainted. The teammates—Nicole Castro, Loree Payne, Gioconda and Giuliana Mendiola and Erica Schelly—called 911 and followed an emergency operator's instructions until paramedics arrived. Burt was later found to have Long QT Syndrome, an electrical disorder that causes the heart to beat irregularly. "I'm as lucky as anyone has ever been lucky," said Burt, who can no longer play but whose scholarship will be honored. "My heart was stopped. I was dead."
To guard his net for 10 minutes after his team's lower-division English league home game was called on account of fog, Stocksbridge Steels goalkeeper Richard Siddall, who thought the match was still in progress at the other end of the pitch and remained vigilant after teammates had retired to the dressing room. "I stood there waiting for a player to come through the mist," Siddall said.
After being suspended for bringing a gun into the university arena, Tennessee State hoops coach Nolan Richardson III, son of the former Arkansas coach. Richardson, 38, was 23-41 in two-plus years at the school and last fall survived a potential scandal when officials discovered his résumé contained a false college graduation date. On Dec. 25 Richardson (below) brought a pistol into the Gentry Center during an argument with assistant Hosea Lewis. "[It's] beyond belief," said Tennessee State president James Hefner.