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Names In The Game

May 30, 1993

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) _ A country club changed its mind and now says it will accept Buffalo Sabres goalie Grant Fuhr as a member. Fuhr is not interested.

″I was brought up to ... stick with what I think is right,″ Fuhr said. ″It would be inexcusable for me to accept it now.″

Transit Valley Country Club in suburban Amherst denied Fuhr’s membership application last week, giving no explanation. Fuhr is black and the club has no black members.

Saturday, the club announced it had changed its mind and its earlier rejection was based on ″incorrect and incomplete″ information.

″Let me state that the membership committee regrets this misunderstanding and offers its sincere apologies to Grant Fuhr and his family for any embarrassment this situation may have caused,″ Robert DiVita, the club’s legal counsel, said in a prepared statement.

″Grant Fuhr is the kind of individual that we welcome at Transit Valley. He’s a role model in our community and (an) upstanding individual. We sincerely hope that Mr. Fuhr will accept our offer and become a member.″

Fuhr doubted the club’s sincerity. ″I think it’s more just trying to smoothe things over with the media than it is trying to smoothe things over with me,″ he said.

″Grant Fuhr’s application was not denied because of his race,″ DiVita said. ″ ... Looking back on it now, we could have handled this better.″

Fuhr subsequently joined another private club in the area.


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Perennial All-Pro offensive tackle Gary Zimmerman, who wants his contract renegotiated, may not play for the Minnesota Vikings again.

Zimmerman and team president Roger Headrick have been involved in discussions about the veteran’s contract, which has two years remaining at $950,000 per year. Because of the new free agency system in the NFL, salaries for offensive lineman have skyrocketed and Zimmerman wants his pay to reflect the marketplace.

Zimmerman said he walked out of a meeting with Headrick angry when the president ″didn’t actually say it, but implied that I was dumb.″

Headrick could not be reached for comment.

″I was told everything the Vikings did was right,″ Zimmerman said. ″At the present time, my thinking is not to play for the Vikings again.″

The average salary for the five highest-paid offensive linemen in the league is $2.1 million and the top 10 average $1.8 million annually.

″I thought I deserved to have my contract renegotiated after what happened in the free agent market,″ Zimmerman said. ″But I was willing to compromise.″

Zimmerman said he would play for $950,000 if the team would pay him $250,000 he said he has earned in deferred compensation.


HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (AP) - On a questionnaire for the Canadian women’s hockey team, Patti Meehan wrote that her goal was to be picked in the first round of the NHL entry draft.

She then drew a smiling face next to her answer.

Meehan, 29, has accomplished a lot in her hockey career - for example, she’s been invited to participate in the U.S. Olympic festival at San Antonio, Texas, this summer as a member of the Canadian women’s team.

The center also knows that following in the footsteps of Bobby Orr, her childhood idol, is unlikely. But she’s determined to play on the national team in the 1998 Winter Olympics when women’s hockey becomes a medal sport.

″It’s a long way away, but I watched the first World Cup in 1988, and a lot of the girls on the team were in their mid-30s,″ said Meehan, a health and physical education teacher at a private school.

″Even though it is four or five years away, I still don’t think it is unattainable.″

Her love for hockey began with street hockey games played in her west-end Halifax neighborhood.

″The placed crawled with kids ... I played goalie once and one of the guys got mad because I stopped him,″ she said. ″He swung around and there was blood all over the place.

″I got stitches in the back of the head, but I was proud - I stopped a goal.″


CHICAGO (AP) - John Starks, the aggressive New York Knicks guard who used to play in the Continental Basketball Association, has made the CBA’s 1993 highlight film.

Starks is the first image in the video, shown dunking for Cedar Rapids in 1990. He then is shown as a Knick, dunking against the New Jersey Nets.

CBA vice president of public relations Greg Anderson says the video may be re-edited to show Starks’ devastating dunk in Game 2 of the Knicks’ NBA Eastern Conference final series against Chicago.

Anderson plans to send a copy to Michael Jordan ″so Michael will never forget where Starks came from.″

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