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Don Cherry's ownership of the Mississauga IceDogs ends today when a new group organized by financier Joel Albin buys controlling interest in the junior club.

The Albin investors are set to acquire 100 per cent of the Ontario Hockey League franchise. Cherry, the Hockey Night in Canada commentator, is selling his 23.3 per cent. Cherry's lawyer, Trevor Whiffen, who doubles as club general manager, is cashing in his 13.3 per cent. And Retrocom, an investment fund, is selling its 33.3 per cent.

Sports agent Elliott Kerr owns the remaining 30 per cent of the IceDogs and has no choice but to sell his shares. He came in late as an owner and was required to accept a partnership agreement in which the sale of Cherry's shares triggered the sale of his shares to the same purchaser.

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Sources close to the club say Kerr had no interest in being a partner with Albin, anyway, and was also unhappy with the club's management, specifically Whiffen's work as general manager.

In the four seasons the IceDogs have been in operation, they have put together the worst record in Canadian junior hockey -- 27 wins, 222 losses, 17 ties and eight overtime losses. The IceDogs lost a small amount of money last season.

Despite selling his interest, Cherry says he has been told by Albin that he will continue to run the hockey operation. Whiffen may continue as general manager. Two views of Tucker hit
A final note on the Daniel Alfredsson hit on Darcy Tucker late in Game 5 of the Ottawa-Toronto series: (Alfredsson ran Tucker into the boards from behind. Five seconds later, Alfredsson scored Ottawa's winning goal. Tucker has a separated shoulder and is out for the duration of the playoffs.)

It was a boarding penalty, but referees Rob Shick and Stephen Walkom did not make the call. The sports media generally saw it for what it was, a dangerous hit and a cop-out by the officials. But there were some opposing views.

Analyst John Garrett of Rogers Sportsnet said it was not a penalty. So did John Davidson of ABC and the CBC. (We started wondering about the goaltending careers of Davidson and Garrett and how many pucks to the head they absorbed.)

They argued that Alfredsson had intended to deliver a shoulder-to-shoulder check. It wasn't hitting from behind, even though Tucker went headfirst into the boards.

Davidson's opinion wasn't entirely a surprise. He supports the league on most issues. Garrett seemed to be saying the intent overruled the action. His fellow panelists, Scott Morrison and Nick Kypreos, disagreed, but rather timidly we thought.

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Another reaction that floored us came from Ottawa-based Patricia Boal of The Score, who aired a report two days later stating that Alfredsson, by virtue of his cheap shot on Tucker and winning goal, had arrived as a great team leader, in the mould of Detroit's Steve Yzerman. It could have been interpreted as a parody of the homer media, but wasn't.

The best comment? From David Shoalts on TSN Extra, who called the league cowardly for not admitting its officials blew the call.

A final thought on Shick and Walkom: They could have wriggled out of a tight spot by blowing the whistle when it became clear Ottawa was about to get a scoring opportunity with Tucker out of the play and lying on the ice. The puck would have been taken to centre ice and dropped. Ottawa would have lost its scoring chance, but also avoided going a man short.

Roger Neilson, the Senators' assistant coach, described the Alfredsson hit yesterday on the FAN radio station as a penalty in the first period, but not in the third. Detroit Red Wing coach Scotty Bowman, on Leafs TV, suggested the officials missed the call because they lost their edge. It had been a dull third period. It was tight checking. Nothing was happening. When Tucker went tumbling into the boards, Shick and Walkom were taken by surprise and failed to react. World's greatest trophy?
ESPN's anchors have been calling the Stanley Cup "the most important of all sports trophies" and "the most difficult trophy to win." These declaratives might have something to do with ESPN carrying the Stanley Cup playoffs, but how about Wimbledon and the World Cup? As for difficulty, is there an easy major championship?

Hockey Night's Don Cherry responded to Ottawa Mayor Bob Chiarelli's attack on him and the show with one word: pathetic.

TSN has Game 5 of the NBA Eastern Conference semi-final, Charlotte Hornets at New Jersey Nets, tonight at 8 p.m. EDT.

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Rogers Sportsnet is bringing in game analyst Craig Simpson to the studio to provide Stanley Cup commentary on Sportscentral beginning tomorrow. truth@globeandmail.ca

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