The National Hockey League Board of Governors recessed its meeting on the Colorado Rockies yesterday to see whether local interest would translate into the money needed to keep the team in Denver.
Owner Peter Gilbert has requested NHL permission to move his struggling club to the Meadowlands complex in New Jersey, but there is considerable opposition within the league to such a shift, particularly from Philadelphia, which has territorial rights in the area along with the two New York teams.
The governors are expected to reconvene in about a week, although the NHL president, John Ziegler, would say only that he was empowered to do so at 48 hours' notice.
"With the substantial expression of interest from the senators, congressmen, representatives of the governor, the business community and the Denver Post, there may be the needed investment capital within the community," Ziegler said. "We are recessing to see if that is substantial or otherwise."
Ziegler noted, however, that Denver's "mayor and arena are not represented and, realistically, that is crucial to any solution involving Peter Gilbert or another group."
Gilbert said he finally saw some interest in Denver and was willing to wait a bit to see if he could sell the club as an alternative to his proposed shift.
"There seems to be some real interest in Colorado," Gilbert said. "Whether it will translate into a real purchase order, I do not know. There seems to be a sincere effort, the first time I sense a sincere effort to do something for the team in Colorado.
"I would have preferred to come out of this meeting knowing where I am, obviously, because the strain on me is tremendous. But I've been in the trenches before and I'll remain in the trenches a few more days."
The NHL announced yesterday the names of the 15 persons appointed to serve on a special committee to review all league disciplinary procedures.
Ziegler is the chairman, with James Beatty, John D'Amico and Dave Newell representing the NHL Officials Association; Alan Eagleson, Bob Gainey and Bobby Smith, the Players Association; Howard Baldwin and Seymour Knox, ownership; Bob Butera and Emile Francis, club executives; Glen Sather and Harry Sinden, the general managers, and Bob Berry and Harry Neale, the coaches.