Don Cherry will have to look elsewhere for some rock em’, sock em’ fodder, the Hockey Gladiators elimination tournament has been unceremoniously cancelled. Winnipeg promoters Darryl Wolski and Ray Walker had to cancel the planned elimination bouts featuring 32 former professional hockey players, after Winnipeg Police suggested that criminal charges would be laid. Unable to persuade Winnipeg Enterprises Corp. that they were on strong legal grounds, the pair found themselves with a donnybrook without a venue.
The elimination bouts which were to provide each participant a “talent fee” would eventually lead to a Hockey Gladiator champion, the eventual winner was to receive ever increasing talent fees as he progressed through the stable of contenders and pretenders. And that is what caught the attention of the police and crown attorney’s office; in Canada it is illegal to provide a financial incentive for prize fighting.
Scheduled for a Pay Per view audience around North America, the Gladiators were to be marked on such skills as number of punches thrown and landed, quality of punches, showmanship, crowd reaction and control of the fight. For the dejected promoters this setback is the second time the scheduled bouts have been derailed. Originally scheduled for the Target Centre in Minneapolis, it was scrubbed there when renovations and ownership changes chased the fights out of Minnesota.
Wolski and Walker vow to find a home for their traveling band of skating pugilists but haven’t really got any firm plans in mind at the moment.
Perhaps they could rent out an auditorium and invite Gary Bettman and Bob Gooodenow in to drop the gloves, winner takes all! Salary caps or unfettered free agency for life, now that might fill up an arena and satisfy an ever anxious HockeyNation public!