Belfast Telegraph

Ice Hockey: Jim'll fix it for Rangers to play at the Odyssey

By Nigel Ringland

Belfast Giants co-owner Jim Yaworski last night confirmed that positive discussions had taken place between himself and the NHL's New York Rangers about an affiliation between the two clubs.

And an agreement would include the Madison Square Garden club coming to the Odyssey Arena to play an exhibition game in September 2008.

Yaworski, the Calgary businessman who bought into the Giants in the summer of 2005, met with Rangers General Manager Glen Sather in New York on Thursday before arriving in Belfast to support the Giants in last night's home game against Newcastle Vipers.

He said: "There were positive discussions with the Rangers about a step towards a Euro affiliation between the two teams. Among the items on the agenda were preliminary talks about an exhibition game involving the Rangers and another NHL team here at the Odyssey Arena in September 2008."

The opposition would likely be another team from the east coast of the USA. Sather is himself Canadian and led the Edmonton Oilers to five Stanley Cups in seven years back in the 1980s before becoming the GM of the New York Rangers in 2000.

At a time when American Football's NFL are trying to expand into Europe with the announcement that the Miami Dolphins and New York Giants will play a regular season game at Wembley Stadium later this year, it comes as no surprise that the NHL would also be interested in doing the same.

To bring the Rangers, the team with the biggest media market in the NHL, to Belfast would be a huge coup for Yaworski and for the Giants.

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