Report: Giuliani may help to form new hockey league

TORONTO (Ticker) - It appears “America’s Mayor” wants to help hockey.

The Toronto Star reported Wednesday that former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and leading Canadian diplomat Maurice Strong may join forces to create a new hockey league if the NHL continues its lockout, which wiped out the entire 2004-05 season.

According to a 71-page business plan reviewed by the newspaper and circulated to prospective Wall Street investors, the new league - tentatively called the International Hockey Association - would rely on Giuliani’s New York consulting company to help raise as much as $5 billion in seed money.

Giuliani became known as “America’s Mayor” after he held New York together in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

NHL Players Association senior director Ted Saskin has confirmed that several groups have approached the union proposing alternative options.

“Most of these groups have made these proposals on a confidential basis and the NHLPA will not be commenting on them,” Saskin told the Toronto Star. “Our primary focus has always been to reach an agreement with the NHL on a new CBA.”

The NHL and the Players Association will resume labor negotiations Wednesday and Thursday in Toronto.

Commissioner Gary Bettman canceled the 2004-05 campaign on February 16, making the NHL the first major North American sports league to have an entire season canceled due to a labor dispute.

After convening with the NHL’s Board of Governors in April, Bettman announced the league would not resume play until a CBA was in place, erasing the belief replacement players would be used for the 2005-06 campaign.

In March, the league officially canceled the 2005 draft, which was slated to take place in Ottawa in June.

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Updated Wednesday, Jun 1, 2005