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If NHL stops work, Gagne goes to Quebec

PHILADELPHIA -- Simon Gagne, the first overall pick in
the World Hockey Association draft last month, accepted a
one-year qualifying offer from the Philadelphia Flyers on
Monday.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

If the NHL experiences an expected work stoppage, Gagne can play
in his own backyard. A native of Ste. Foy, Quebec, Gagne was
selected first overall by the Quebec Nordiks in the WHA draft on
July 23.

With the NHL's current collective bargaining agreement set to
expire September 15 and the start of the 2004-05 season almost
certain to be delayed, the WHA could be the only hockey game in
town this winter.

But if a settlement is reached, then Gagne will return to the
Flyers. He was second on the team with 24 goals last season and
also had 21 assists. Gagne added five goals and four assists in
18 playoff games as Philadelphia advanced to the Eastern
Conference finals.

The 6-foot-0, 195-pound left wing has recorded 113 goals and 132
assists in 354 games with the Flyers over the last five seasons.

The Flyers also announced that right wing Branko Radivojevic has
accepted a one-year qualifying offer.

Radivojevic, 23, had just one goal and eight assists in 24 games
with the Flyers after being acquired from the Phoenix Coyotes
last February. He recorded nine goals and 14 assists in 53
games with Phoenix.