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Thursday, September 23, 2004
Updated: September 24, 10:55 AM ET
Kings president: Fine was 'significant'

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Kings president Tim Leiweke has been fined by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman for comments he made in a radio interview concerning the league's labor problems.

"It was a significant amount - let's just leave it at that," Leiweke said Thursday. "It's Gary's way of letting us know that making comments on the issue don't help. I agree with him."

Leiweke said Bettman informed him of the fine by telephone Wednesday and that he wasn't upset about it.

"Life goes on," Leiweke said. "Gary and I talk almost every day. I'm a strong supporter of Gary's. We're on the same page and I'm completely supportive of him. I figure the sooner we have a settlement, the less money I'll lose."

In an interview with radio station KROQ last Friday, Leiweke said among other things that he believes the lockout will last the entire season and called NHL Players Association chief executive Bob Goodenow "a bald-faced liar." Leiweke said Goodenow had lied to the players by not telling them of the Kings' financial losses.

The Los Angeles Times carried a story Saturday on the radio interview.

Leiweke was a panelist Thursday at a luncheon involving the business of sports in Los Angeles. He told those attending that the Kings have lost $200 million since Philip F. Anschutz and Edward P. Roski purchased them out of bankruptcy 10 years ago.

In addition to being president of the Kings, Leiweke is president and CEO of AEG and Staples Center.

"To cleanse sports of the greed that has taken over would be a good thing," Leiweke said, emphasizing he was referring to sports in general and not just the NHL.

He also said some employees of the Kings would be laid off if the work stoppage continues for more than a few months.

The lockout was imposed Sept. 15 when the collective bargaining agreement between the players and management expired. Training camps were supposed to begin the next day.

The regular season was scheduled to begin Oct. 13. The Kings have canceled their four home exhibition games and the first three home games of the regular season.

Teams have been given permission to release previously booked dates for games on a 30-day rolling basis. Every day that passes will knock another possible playing date off the calendar.