Sabres set off on soccer mission


The Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League have put together a group of investors "committed to bringing soccer back to Buffalo for the 1992-93 season."

The Sabres will be the primary investor in the group, whose goal is to acquire a Major Soccer League indoor team or an American Professional Soccer League outdoor team.

"We want to give this new franchise every opportunity to succeed on and off the field," said Seymour H. Knox III, chairman of the board and president of the Sabres. "To do that, we think the necessary preparation will take more time than is available between now and October, when the next indoor season starts."

Included on the Sabres' board of directors is Robert Rich, who spearheaded Buffalo's effort to acquire an expansion franchise in baseball, and John Bellanto and Savino Nanula, two previous owners of the Buffalo Stallions.

The Stallions were MISL members from 1979-80 until folding at the end of the 1983-84 season.

* SAVING SAN DIEGO: The MSL champion San Diego Sockers, who were to go out of business June 30 if new ownership could not be found, appear to be on the brink of being saved.

The MSL was to hold a conference call among the owners this afternoon to consider two formal applications to buy the club.

Oscar Ancira and his son, Oscar Jr., whose main business is Delimex, a Mexican food processing company, made application for ownership Wednesday. Yesterday, an application was submitted by The D. Ruiz Family of Tijuana, Mexico.

Owners also might have a formal application from a prospective owner in Dallas to go with it. The Sidekicks folded at the end of the regular season and the team's coach and president, Gordon Jago, has been working hard to find new investors.

* WICHITA'S LONG NIGHT: The Wings kept their office open until midnight last night as they tried to meet today's 5 p.m. deadline.

Team owners have said if 5,000 season tickets are not sold by that time, the club will cease operations.

As of late last night, the team had sold more than 4,500 tickets, including 50 to All-Star Chico Borja, who said he will donate them to the Special Olympics.

* TACOMA EXTENDED: There's a deadline in Tacoma, too, even though the Stars had said they were set for the coming season.

The Stars now say they need 5,000 season ticket holders by July 31 if they are to stay in operation. It's a month away, but the Stars have sold only 900.

* QUESTION OF THE WEEK: How come the Blast, which has one of the top play-by-play radio announcers in the business, isn't coming to the defense of Art Sinclair?

Radio station WCAO is evidently intent on changing the voice of the Blast, and the team's management, while perhaps not encouraging it, isn't putting up much resistance.

Sinclair has broadcast Blast games from Day 1 of the franchise's 11-year history in Baltimore.

* SHOW A LITTLE SPIRIT: The new Pittsburgh franchise will be called the Spirit and the team will wear black and gold.

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