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Several Burger King Owners Accused of Profiting From Red Wings Pucks

April 13, 1996

DETROIT (AP) _ Burger King Corp. is investigating allegations that several area franchise owners sold commemorative Detroit Red Wings hockey pucks at inflated prices to sports memorabilia dealers.

The pucks were part of a promotion that ran from March 3 until April 1. They cost $3.49 with the purchase of a meal at the fast food restaurant.

``Our intent was to bring Red Wings fans closer to the team, particularly for those who can’t afford to see them at Joe Louis Arena,″ Joe Finley, a spokesman for Burger King Corp. in Birmingham told the Detroit Free Press for a story published Saturday.

Instead, some restaurant owners reportedly collected personal profits from the set of five Red Wings hockey pucks which featured illustrations of Steve Yzerman, Keith Primeau, Chris Osgood and Paul Coffey. The fifth puck commemorated the Red Wings’ 70th anniversary.

``I had three Burger King owners approach me over the phone wanting to sell me the pucks on the side,″ said Demetrious Hloros, owner of the Rated Rookie memorabilia shop in St. Clair Shores.

Hloros said he was able to buy more than 500 pucks for about $7 a puck. He’s now selling them for $12 each or $75 a set. He said other dealers have gotten the pucks the same way and some are selling sets for as much as $125, the newspaper reported.

Finley said corporate officials had been concerned that a large number of pucks were showing up in memorabilia stores and at flea markets but had not suspected franchise owners as culprits until contacted by a St. Clair Shores resident who spotted several pucks in an area sports memorabilia store.

``This goes back to a few bad apples,″ he said. ``We know there are many who executed this promotion flawlessly.″

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