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Gamble looks like a good PR move

Bobby Brett, owner of the Western Hockey League's Spokane Chiefs, recently promised to give fans back $100,000, should the team not make the 2006-07 playoffs. Longtime Portland Winter Hawk boss Ken Hodge got a chuckle out of it.

'He got good publicity,' says Hodge, who understands the trick Brett pulled for good press. 'He's doing it on the (back) end, knowing they have a good club coming back.'

The Chiefs have missed the playoffs for two consecutive years. If they have 4,000 'ticket package holders' next season, the team would owe each $25, for example, if the Chiefs miss the postseason again. If they have 2,000 package holders, the cost would be $50.

'He actually should have had league clearance to do it, but it's basically a $50 discount, and a lot of teams give it to season-ticket holders in advance,' Hodge says.

Brett, the brother of Hall of Fame baseball player George Brett, recently pocketed $330,000 owed to him by the city of Spokane. And a WHL organization would have to fall completely apart to miss the playoffs three consecutive years, as four out of five U.S. Division teams make the playoffs. And the Chiefs supposedly have good talent returning.

It's a safe bet.

More shuffles for Hawks

The Winter Hawks got a commitment from first-round bantam selection Riley Boychuk, but they got a bit of bad news from touted prospect Colin Reddin of California: Reddin has opted to play for the U.S. U-18 development program. It's 'very doubtful' he'll ever join the Winter Hawks, coach Mike Williamson says.

Stepping into the ring

Matt Lindland, the Olympic silver medalist in wrestling and mixed martial arts competitor who co-owns Team Quest Fight Club in Gresham, has signed with the new World Fighting Alliance.

Lindland will fight Quinton Jackson in the WFA's inaugural event, July 22 in the Forum in Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, two Team Quest fighters have reached the finals of the Ultimate Fighter 3 competition. Spike TV will air the championship matches live at 6 p.m. Saturday, as Josh Haynes, a Medford native, takes on Michael Bisping of Liverpool, England, in the light heavyweight final and Ed Herman, a native of Vancouver, Wash., meets Kendall Grove, a native of Maui, Hawaii, for the middleweight championship.

'American (Boxing) Idol'

Portland native Steve '2 Pound' Forbes is a 'Contender.'

The Grant High graduate and former International Boxing Federation junior lightweight champ is one of 16 welterweights picked for the second season of 'The Contender,' a made-for-TV series set to start July 18 on ESPN.

Each episode culminates with a five-round pro bout, with the winner moving on in his quest for the finals Sept. 26 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

The field consists of experienced boxers who have a combined record of 327-56-9, with 183 knockouts. Forbes, who lives in Las Vegas, is 29-3 with nine KOs.

'This is the strongest group of fighters I have seen in a long time,' says boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard, who will serve as host and mentor. 'They have the heart, determination and will to do anything.'

Forbes, 28, ranks 11th in the world and seems to have gained punching power since moving up in weight class. He's been trained in the past year by Jeff Mayweather, uncle and trainer of Floyd Mayweather Jr., world light middleweight champion.