John Rigas is ready to acquire control of the Buffalo Sabres, with the signing of an agreement between the cable television station owner and the team's current chairman, Northrup Knox.
Under the agreement, subject to approval by the NHL's Board of Directors, Rigas would make a "substantial investment of working capital." Existing Sabre partners would receive a partial return of their investment while continuing to hold subordinate notes, the statement said.
With the closing of the deal, expected in February, the Knox family would give up control of the team it has owned for 28 years.
Rigas, brought into the Sabre organization in 1994 as a principal investor, has declined to comment on potential changes in management and the hockey department.
Ladislav Nagy's three goals helped Slovakia beat Germany, 9-0, in the first of two relegation games at the World Junior Ice Hockey Championships in Helsinki.
Slovakia needs only a tie in the second game to stay among the 10 best nations in the main group of the World Championships. To avoid relegation, Germany has to beat Slovakia.
Today, Finland plays Switzerland, and Russia meets the Czech Republic in the semifinals. Canada and Team USA play for the right to contest fifth place, with the winner playing the winner of the Sweden-Kazakhstan game.
Marcus Nash of Fryeburg, Maine, used a time of 29 minutes, 25.3 seconds to edge Patrick Weaver of Lenox, Mass., by 8.3 seconds and earn a berth in the Winter Olympics by winning the men's 10-kilometer classic cross-country race at Lake Placid, N.Y.
John Bauer of Champlin, Minn., was another minute behind in third.
In the women's five-kilometer classic, Kerrin Petty of Townshend, Vt., defeated former University of Vermont teammate Laura Wilson with a time of 16:56.9.
Meanwhile, at Whiteface Mountain, Ann Battelle of Steamboat Springs, Colo., and Alex Wilson of Buffalo won freestyle moguls events and invitations to Nagano, Japan.
Right-hander Andy Benes ended his attempts to re-sign with the St. Louis Cardinals, telling the players' association to withdraw the grievance it had filed to validate his $30-million, five-year contract.
Benes, 30, was 10-7 with a 3.10 earned-run average last season. Under baseball's rules, he cannot re-sign with the Cardinals until May 1.
Sergei Bubka, who won his sixth consecutive world pole vault title in 1997, is the top athlete of the year as selected by the French sports daily L'Equipe in Paris.
Bubka, who has broken the world record 35 times indoors and outdoors, beat the Chicago Bulls' Michael Jordan, 161 points to 128, in the voting for the 1997 "Champion of Champions."
Pete Sampras was third with 98 points, followed by runner Wilson Kipketer and another tennis star, Martina Hingis.