Snow cancels first day of practice


EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) _ Snow fell all day Wednesday, wiping out
the first scheduled practices on the temporary outdoor ice rink the
Edmonton Oilers and Montreal Canadiens will play on this weekend.

About 52,500 spectators are expected Saturday for the first NHL
game to be played outside. The league-record crowd is expected to
arrive early, despite a forecast of low temperatures, to watch an
hour-long alumni game before the regular-season contest.

"I'm glad we got down,'' said Hall of Famer Larry Robinson, who
will play for the old-time Canadiens. ``The pilot was saying he
could barely see the runway."

The alumni game will mark the first time players who won four
championships with Wayne Gretzky in the 1980s will be playing with
him again in Oilers sweaters.

Whether Mark Messier will be one of them still hasn't been
decided. Messier said he's flying in to take part in the alumni
game, but there are insurance concerns since he is still an active
player for the New York Rangers.

"We can't confirm Mark Messier's participation but I'd bet a
lot of money he'll be here playing,'' said Bill Tuele, the Oilers'
public relations director.