MIGHTY DUCKS NOTEBOOK / MIKE DiGIOVANNA : Team to Fill Hockey Void in Minnesota

The Mighty Ducks had problems securing local radio deals, but landing an agreement with a Minneapolis-St. Paul station, which will broadcast several games this season, proved to be fairly easy.

KFAN, an all-sports station in the Twin Cities, will air four Mighty Ducks games--including Friday's season opener against the Detroit Red Wings--during the first half of the season with the remainder of their broadcast schedule to be determined at a later date.

"We're going through withdrawal and couldn't think of a better way to serve that craving than the Almighty Ducks," said Jim Thomas, KFAN station manager, alluding to the Minnesota North Stars' move to Dallas. "Obviously we have a lot of hockey fans who are in need of a fix."

Thomas said KFAN considered airing Dallas Stars games, "but they wanted way too much money." The Chicago Blackhawks were also a consideration, "but we realized people in this town hate the Blackhawks."

The Disney-owned Mighty Ducks were a perfect match for Disney-owned KFAN, though.

"We love the whole concept of the Ducks," said Thomas, whose station approached the Ducks about a deal last week. "They've attracted national and international attention, and there's a novelty to them. They were clearly our No. 1 choice."

The Mighty Ducks also announced Tuesday that they've added KGEO (1230 AM) in Bakersfield as an affiliate. KGEO will broadcast 35 games. The team's flagship stations are Los Angeles-based KLAC (570 AM) and Orange County-based KEZY (95.9 FM).

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The newest Duck--former Vancouver winger Garry Valk, practiced Tuesday and played left wing on the checking line centered by Bob Corkum with Todd Ewen on the right wing.

"That's what he'd been doing before, and I didn't want to throw him in and feel he's expected to score right away. I want him to get comfortable," Coach Ron Wilson said.

Nevertheless, the Ducks hope Valk, whose best NHL scoring total was 25 points for the Canucks two seasons ago, will contribute some goals to their thin offense.

Duck Notes

The team's first captain is likely to be named at a public luncheon today hosted by the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce and Disney Sports Enterprises, Wilson said. The candidates include left wing Troy Loney, defenseman Randy Ladouceur and left wing Stu Grimson. . . . Goaltender Mikhail Shtalenkov, who had been assigned to minor league San Diego, has returned to Anaheim and is practicing with the team because the Ducks were at risk of losing him because of his waiver status.

Times staff writer Robyn Norwood contributed to this story.

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