COVER

A MILLIONAIRE IN WAITING

JAMES DEACON May 6 1991
COVER

A MILLIONAIRE IN WAITING

JAMES DEACON May 6 1991

A MILLIONAIRE IN WAITING

For most of this spring, Eric Lindros has been too busy to decide who will make him a millionaire. But Richard Curran, the Toronto-based agent for the 18-year-old juniorhockey superstar, says that he hopes last week’s multimillion-dollar deal for Raghib (Rocket) Ismail is a preview of what awaits Lindros. Yet Lindros, who most hockey experts consider to be the best junior prospect since Mario Lemieux turned professional in 1984, is immersed in hockey and school, The Chatham, Ont., native is taking first-year business courses at York University in Toronto, where until recently he was studying for exams. As well, the six-foot, five-inch, 220-lb. centre has led the Oshawa Generals to this week’s Ontario Hockey League (OHL) championship series against

the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. But as Curran fields multimillion-dollar offers from teams in the National Hockey League, Europe and two new North American leagues, he says Lindros is unfazed. “He is focused on hockey right now,” Curran said. “The money will come later.”

By most estimates, it will take a lot of money to sign Lindros, who in 57 regularseason games led all OHL scorers with 71 goals and 78 assists. Gordon Kirke, a To-

ronto lawyer who advises Lindros, estimates that competition for his client's services has pushed his market value well beyond $1 million per season, which would make him one of the NHL’s Top 10 earners. As a result of finishing last in the 21-team NHL this season, the Quebec

Nordiques hold the right to choose Lindros first in the league’s June 22 draft of juniors. But like Ismail, Lindros has options: he could play in Europe; in either the North American Hockey League or Global Hockey League (both plan to begin operations next fall); or with the Canadian Olympic team preparing for the 1992 Winter Games in France.

For now, the Nordiques and other Lindros suitors will have to be patient. His advisers say that they will not ask

him to consider his future until the end of the hockey season. Still, it is likely only a matter of months before Lindros becomes the next millionaire of sports. *

JAMES DEACON