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Forbes says NHL losses don't add up, but league sees cheap shot

NEW YORK -- The NHL suffered less than half the losses it has claimed the past two years, according to a report in Forbes Magazine.

In an article in its Nov. 29 edition, the business magazine -- which did not have access to all of the 30 teams' financial records -- estimates the NHL lost a combined $96 million last season, not $224 million as reported by the league.

For the 2002-03 season, in which the NHL stated losses of $273 million, Forbes estimates they were actually about $123 million.

The discrepancy occurred because several NHL teams aren't accounting for all their revenue, Forbes reported. The magazine said the NHL included only half of the $17 million the New York Islanders got last year for cable broadcasts, for example.

William Wirtz, who owns the Chicago Blackhawks, also owns half of the United Center. Forbes said that the arena's 212 suites pulled in $15 million last season, money that wasn't included in the league's numbers.

"The Forbes article is factually inaccurate in numerous respects and is not based on any of the actual information that would be needed to support its claims," Bill Daly, the NHL's chief legal officer, told The Canadian Press yesterday. "It is nothing short of irresponsible journalism."

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