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Sports Briefs

Posted: Friday, January 24, 2003

Snowmobile trails committee to meet

A Snowmobile Trails Advisory Committee (SnowTRAC) meeting is scheduled for Jan. 31 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Room 640 of Anchorage City Hall at 6th Avenue and G Street in Anchorage.

The nine-member citizens committee was established to work and advise the Alaska Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation on funding and policy issues regarding snowmachining.

For more information please contact Jim Renkert in Anchorage by phone at (907) 269-8699 or by e-mail at jimr@dnr.state.ak.us. The public is welcome. Meeting minutes will be available upon request after Feb. 17 by calling 269-8699.

Ski for Women Sunday in Anchorage

While football fans around the country will be glued to the TV, women of all ages will be gathering at Kincaid Park in Anchorage Sunday for the seventh annual Ski for Women, the largest women-only ski event in the United States.

The Alaska Ski for Women began in 1997 to raise awareness and funds for the Abused Women's Aid In Crisis (AWAIC) program in Anchorage. National figures show that domestic violence is at its highest on Super Bowl Sunday, so event organizers chose that day for the annual ski event. Nearly 1,450 women turned out to support the 2002 event, and organizers expect even more in 2003.

The 4-kilometer ski focuses on fun for participants rather than competition. Women of all ages and abilities ski in teams of two in classic or freestyle events. Awards are given to the top three finishing teams in each of three categories: Mother and Daughter; Relatives (sisters, aunts, nieces, etc.); and Friends. Women who do not have someone to ski with will be matched with another single. The festive event includes refreshments, awards, door prizes, and a silent auction.

For more information about the Alaska Ski for Women, visit www.alaskaskiforwomen.org.

Racing Lions sno-cross slated for Feb. 1

The Kenai Peninsula Racing Lions second annual Peninsula Winter Games Sno-Cross is scheduled for Feb. 1 at Twin City Raceway. Sign-ups begin at 9 a.m. with racing set to start at 11 a.m. The event is the first state sno-cross competition of the season.

Admission is $5 and free for children 10 and under. For class and entry fee information, visit kprl.org on the Web.

SoHi, Kenai skaters rack up victories

The Soldotna High School hockey team started off a three-game Valley swing with a 10-0 win over Wasilla in North Star Conference play Thursday at Brett Memorial Ice Arena in Wasilla.

Also Thursday at the Brett, the Kenai Central Kardinals notched a conference win over Palmer, defeating the Moose 6-1.

Both teams continue play in the Valley this weekend. Soldotna faces Colony today and Palmer Saturday while Kenai plays Wasilla today and Colony Saturday.

Sharks acquire holdout McLaren in trade

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The latest big NHL trade was so complicated, even some of the players dealt weren't sure where they were going.

Holdout Boston Bruins defenseman Kyle McLaren was traded to the San Jose Sharks on Thursday in a three-team deal that sent forward Niklas Sundstrom to the Montreal Canadiens.

The Bruins acquired veteran goalie Jeff Hackett from Montreal and young defenseman Jeff Jillson from the Sharks. Canadiens general manager Andre Savard got the Sharks' third-round selection in the 2004 draft, while Boston sent a fourth-round pick in the 2004 draft to San Jose.

''I'm in shock,'' Hackett said after packing his gear. ''All I was told was that I was traded to San Jose by Andre, and he wasn't sure if I was staying there, so I was a San Jose Shark again for a brief moment, I guess.''

McLaren, 25, had 124 points and 370 penalty minutes in 417 career games in seven seasons with the Bruins, but he hasn't played this season. He was hampered by injuries in the previous two seasons, and he told the Bruins he wanted a fresh start elsewhere.

The Sharks don't have a contract with McLaren yet, but general manager Dean Lombardi expects to sign him to a long-term deal. San Jose doesn't know when McLaren will be in sufficient condition to play.

''What Kyle brings is just hard to find,'' Lombardi said. ''When you bring physical play and good numbers like he does, when you find a player who can play in your top four (defensemen) and can play with that Derian Hatcher, Adam Foote edge, you get him.''

The Sharks, who have been desperate for consistent defensive play during their disappointing season, gave up on young prospect Jillson to acquire a more mature, physical defenseman.

McLaren is physical, all right: he was suspended after the fourth game of last season's playoffs for a check that put Montreal's Richard Zednik in the hospital with a broken nose, concussion, cuts on his face and a bruised throat.

The Bruins got off to a strong start this season and kept McLaren earlier despite overtures from Lombardi. But when the Bruins' goaltending and defense faltered, they decided to use McLaren to get help -- though Hackett can be an unrestricted free agent in July.

On Dec. 8, the Bruins had the best record in the NHL at 19-4-3-1, but they were just 4-14-2 in their next 20 games before Thursday night's game at Pittsburgh.

The Bruins chose not to re-sign goalie Byron Dafoe and started the season with Steve Shields and John Grahame. On Jan. 13, Boston traded Grahame to Tampa Bay.

Hackett lost his starting job in Montreal last season to NHL Most Valuable Player Jose Theodore.

''I was hoping to get an opportunity to play somewhere a little more regularly than I have the past month and a little bit here,'' Hackett said. ''I'm lucky. This is my third 'Original Six' team and that's a pretty big honor.''

Hackett, who has also played for Chicago and the New York Islanders, learned of his ultimate destination when he received a call from Bruins general manager Mike O'Connell.

''Jeff Hackett is a very good goaltender who is proven at the NHL level, and we think he can make an impact on our team right away,'' O'Connell said.

''We think this trade addresses one of our needs since we made the trade of John Grahame. Jillson is a big, strong, young defenseman who skates very well, and we believe that he will develop into a top-four National Hockey League defenseman.''

Jillson was expected to be a big part of the Sharks' plans this season, but he slumped in his second full NHL season. He didn't score a goal in 26 games before being demoted to the minors.

''If they were going to lose McLaren, they wanted a defenseman with a big upside,'' Lombardi said, ''and I think Jillson fits that bill.''

Jillson, a native of North Smithfield , R.I., played at high school power Mount St. Charles Academy and the University of Michigan.

San Jose is 16-20-6-5, with just one victory in 10 games. The Sharks have been dismal all season, and replacing coach Darryl Sutter with Ron Wilson in early December has done nothing to change it.

Lombardi made unusually frank comments about the Sharks' lack of leadership -- and suggested more changes could be coming.

''In my mind, I've got a good idea of what happened, I've got a good idea on how it happened,'' Lombardi said. ''I think your leadership is tied to emotion. I know where it went. I know why. That's what we're evaluating, and we made one change today. That's what we're continuing to evaluate.''

Like several San Jose forwards, Sundstrom has been in a slump all season -- and now he's the second Swedish Olympian to be traded in what could be a series of shakeups for the Sharks. Marcus Ragnarsson was traded to Philadelphia for Dan McGillis earlier.

Sundstrom scored his first goal of the season on Dec. 28, breaking a 54-game drought, but he has just two goals and 10 assists in 47 games.



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