Dale McCourt will remain with the Detroit Red Wings, but the National Hockey League club will give up center Andre St. Laurent and two high draft choices to the Los Angeles Kings to end a year-long fight between the two teams, the teams announced yesterday.
McCourt wanted to stay with the Red Wings so much that he turned down an offer to become the highest-paid player in the NHL at $3 million for six years, Kings' owner Jerry Buss said last night.
McCourt, a center, was awarded to the Kings last year after they signed goalie Rogie Vachon as a free agent, but McCourt challenged the NHL'S compensation clause in court.
McCourt was granted a preliminary injunction Sept. 28, 1978, by U.S. District Court in Detroit, allowing him to play for the Red Wings. That decision was reversed by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which later allowed McCourt to play for Detroit while his case could be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.
St. Laurent, Detroit's most valuable player two years ago, is partial compensation for the signing of Vachon. The Red Wings will also surrender their No. 1 pick in the 1980 entry draft and either a second-round draft pick in 1980 or first-round choice in 1981.
McCourt was the first selection by any team in the 1977 amateur draft and was Detroit's second-highest scorer last year.
Muhammad Ali was going to visit the state veterans' home in Rocky Hill, Conn., yesterday, but the trip was cancelled because of the veterans' divided and strong opinions about Ali and his refusal to be drafted, according to hospital Commandant Robert Houley.
Ali was sentenced to 10 years in prison for refusing to be drafted because of his Muslim religious beliefs, but the conviction was overturned. Yet the veterans thought it would be "an injustice to all veterans" to have the former heavyweight boxing champion receive the American flag and to be presented a Distinguished Citizens award.
Meanwhile, Gov. Ella Grasso proclaimed Friday "Muhammad Ali Day" in Connecticut.
Cleveland Cavalier guard Butch Lee will be sidelined for a minimum of two months after undergoing knee surgery yesterday. Damaged cartilage was removed from Lee's right knee.
Eviction proceedings against former heavyweight boxing champion Leon Spinks were halted after he agreed again to buy the house in which he has lived since February. The out-of-court settlement also requires Spinks to pay the house's owner $16,000 in damages.
In another case in the same court, Spinks was fined $50 after being charged with violating the Portage, Mich., noise ordinance. Neighbors have complained of noisy parties and barking dogs at the boxer's residence.
Center fielder Chet Lemon returned to the Chicago White Sox yesterday after leaving the club without authorization before a doubleheader against the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday.
Lemon called owner Bill Veeck and aired what "he'd kept inside," according to Veeck. Veeck said that Lemon's departure had nothing to do with Manager Tony LaRussa, money or Lemon's personal life, but was simply a case of "the August blahs."
The national Hockey League and Soviet Union have reached a five-year agreement that sets future games between NHL teams and Soviet club teams . . . Jiri Crha, one of Czechoslovakia's top hockey goalies, has defected to the West, the Swiss paper Der Sport reported.