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Winter Hawks

Business update: The Winter Hawks may have an opportunity to change their cumbersome lease with Oregon Arena Corp., which agreed to talks after declaring Chapter 11 bankruptcy recently. Ken Hodge, Winter Hawk president and general manager, says he hasn't met with arena officials about the lease since January 2001.

Also, Agenzia Sports, a Minneapolis group led by businessman Pat Forciea, has made its first substantial offer to wholly purchase the Winter Hawks. It has been handed over to Portland's corporate attorney for review. 'The playoffs have to be our focus right now,' Hodge says.

The weekend: Hawks play at 7 tonight at Tri-City, 7 p.m. Saturday in Seattle and versus Tri-City at 5 p.m. Sunday in the Rose Garden. The Winter Hawks (32-28-6-3 entering tonight) could finish anywhere from first to fourth in the WHL U.S. Division. They have lost four of the past five games and are 1-4-1-2 in their last eight road games.

Ñ Jason Vondersmith