East Coast Hockey League officials confirmed yesterday that members of the Chesapeake Icebreakers will be put into a June 17 dispersal draft.

The Icebreakers, the Miami Matadors and Columbus Chill suspended operations after the 1998-99 season. Members of all three teams will be part of a dispersal draft, according to league director of communications Jason Rothwell.

Chesapeake owner Michael Caggiano, who is searching for a buyer for the Icebreakers, was unavailable to comment.

The dispersal draft will be held the same day as the expansion draft for the incoming Trenton Titans and Arkansas RiverBlades. The first phase of the dispersal draft will make Columbus players available to Trenton and Arkansas and then the seven non-playoff teams.

In the second phase, Chesapeake and Miami's players will be available to all teams. Players not picked in the dispersal draft become free agents.

Chesapeake Coach Chris Nilan is interviewing with other ECHL teams for jobs after leading the Icebreakers to the playoffs in both seasons.


Jordan Still No. 1

Even in retirement, Michael Jordan is the athlete companies want most to pitch their products. Jordan finished first by a wide margin over St. Louis Cardinals slugger Mark McGwire in a poll asking 1,000 business and advertising executives to choose the sports celebrity they'd want most as a product endorser.

It's the second consecutive year Jordan has won the poll conducted by Burns Sports Inc., a Chicago-based firm that hires sports stars as endorsers for corporations. Balloting was conducted in April, about four months after Jordan said he was retiring.

"His staying power as an endorser is amazing," said Bob Williams, president of Burns Sports. "He's the only athlete who can maintain this staying power. He's good for maybe the next 10, 20 years."

Jordan's endorsement agreements with companies such as Nike Inc. and General Mills Inc. are estimated to be worth as much as $40 million a year.

Jordan attracted 39 first-place votes, compared with five for McGwire, Williams said.


Preparing for the Best

Top-seeded Patrick Rafter and No. 2 Carlos Moya of Spain both won at the Halle tournament, a Wimbledon warmup where ticket sales jumped noticeably after Andre Agassi's French Open victory.

One thousand weekly tickets were sold Sunday at the $900,000 grass-court event in Germany after the popular Agassi's dramatic five-set victory over Andrei Medvedev at Roland Garros. "It's a stroke of luck to have both finalists from Paris entered," said tournament director Ralf Weber. . . .

Australia's Jason Stoltenberg and South African Wayne Ferreira scored first-round wins in the rain-interrupted opening round of the Queen's Club tournament in London.

In the day's only matches at the Wimbledon warmup event, 10th-seeded Ferreira defeated Laurence Tieleman of Italy, 3-6, 7-5, 6-1. Stoltenberg, seeded 12th, advanced with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Zimbabwe's Wayne Black.


Smith Loses Appeal

Olympic star Michelle Smith de Bruin lost her appeal yesterday of a four-year drug ban, a ruling that could end the Irish swimmer's career.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld the decision by FINA, the sport's governing body. Smith was suspended on Aug. 6, 1998, after being found guilty of tampering with a urine sample.

Smith, who won three gold medals at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, is ineligible for the 2000 Sydney Olympics and the 2001 world championships.


Preparing for the Worst

The prospect of violence between India and Pakistan fans during today's World Cup match has prompted the biggest security operation in English cricket history.

Greater Manchester Police have consulted with security experts in an effort to ease tensions. The rival fans cannot be separated because of the way tickets were sold.

Every fan will be checked for alcohol and weapons, and offensive banners will be banned from Old Trafford stadium, cricket officials said.

Tensions have been fueled by the ongoing border skirmishes between the Indian and Pakistani armies in the disputed region of Kashmir.


Beem Top Player

Rich Beem was named the PGA Tour's player of the month for May after posting his first career victory. Beem, a 28-year-old tour rookie, won the Kemper Open by one stroke over Bill Glasson and Bradley Hughes in his 12th tour start.

Before winning the Kemper Open, Beem had missed the cut in five straight events and seven of 11 overall in his tour debut. His best previous finish was a tie for 45th at the Buick Invitational.

Auto Racing

Official Dies

Eloise Hawkins, chairman and chief executive of the authority that ran stock-car races at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C., died yesterday after a battle with cancer. She was 82.

Since 1970, Hawkins was head of Winston-Salem Speedway Inc., which conducts NASCAR-sanctioned stock-car racing at the municipal stadium under a lease from the city. She remained active in its operation until the illness struck her this year.

Hawkins was born Sept. 1, 1916, in Spartanburg County, S.C. She entered the auto racing industry when she married J. Alvin Hawkins, who co-founded the stadium's racing in 1949 with NASCAR founder William France.


Holloway Honored

Retired Adm. James L. Holloway III, a former Naval Academy wrestler and the 20th Chief of Naval Operations, was inducted into the Hall of Outstanding Americans of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Saturday in Stillwater, Okla.

Holloway, a recipient of more than a dozen naval and military honors and decorations, served in World War II, the Korean War and in Vietnam and served on the the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1974 until his retirement in 1978.

Holloway was a two-time Pennsylvania state champion at Shamokin High School and wrestled in the 145-pound weight class for the Academy from 1939 to '42.


ESPN, SEC Sign Deal

ESPN and the Southeastern Conference have agreed to a new eight-year contract.

The agreement calls for ESPN/ESPN2 coverage of up to 18 football games, up to 20 men's basketball games, up to six women's basketball games and up to three additional women's events annually. ESPN Classic will have the exclusive national right to the SEC film library and the network will have exclusive pay-per-view rights to all games televised locally by the SEC and its institutions.


Wilbon Honored

Washington Post columnist Michael Wilbon won second place in the commentary category for papers with circulations over 150,000 in the National Association of Black Journalists Awards Contest.

CAPTION: Carlos Moya defeats Magnus Gustafsson, 6-3, 6-2, in the first round of a grass-court tournament in Halle, Germany.