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New league cuts some preseason games

A hockey league formed for locked-out NHL players called off some preseason games but said it will proceed with its regular season starting Oct. 7.

The Original Stars Hockey League disassociated itself from a news release Wednesday saying it had suspended preseason play. League president Randy Gumbley did acknowledge some games will not be played.

"We'll reassess the rest of the preseason games after tonight's game in Kitchener," Gumbley told the Canadian Press. "But, for now, it's full steam ahead."

A statement from the Sarnia Sports & Entertainment Centre on Wednesday, with an OSHL letterhead, had the headline: "OSHL Suspends Preseason Play." It said there are "plans to take the necessary time to sign additional players, finalize scheduling and sponsorship deals" before continuing play.

It also had a quote from Gumbley saying: "We would like to have had a year to plan this caliber of entertainment. Instead, we've had three weeks."

Gumbley insisted the release was not from the OSHL. He said the game in Sarnia, Ontario, on Sunday was postponed, "But we definitely are proceeding with the regular season commencing on Oct. 7."

The OSHL, a four-on-four exhibition series based in Ontario, was put together to give players a place to play during the lockout. The first few games, however, were marked by little intensity and no hitting or defense. The league has not said how long the regular season will last.

Among the approximate 50 NHL players in the six-team circuit are former Lightning goalie Dan Cloutier of Vancouver, Bryan McCabe of Toronto, Andrew Raycroft of Boston, Mike Fisher of Ottawa and Mike Comrie of Phoenix.