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ALSO ON SLAM!
Wednesday, September 22, 1999
Report: Krupp dog-sledding after back injuryDETROIT (CP) -- The Detroit Red Wings are looking into reports suspended defenceman Uwe Krupp competed in several dog-sled races only weeks after a back injury sidelined him for most of last season.
"It's been brought to our attention," general manager Ken Holland told the Detroit Free Press. "We're trying to find more information to determine if it is absolutely true."
Cecil Houghton, known as the father of sled-dog racing in Michigan, said that he was surprised to see Krupp mushing his six Siberian huskies at a January race in Michigan in light of his well-publicized back problems.
"I thought, 'What are you doing out here?"' said Houghton, 80. "I almost called the Red Wings and said, 'Hey, get out here and get a look at your invalid."'
What's more, Krupp is listed as the driver in results from four other races between Jan. 2 and Feb. 28 -- three in Michigan and two in Colorado.
Detroit is investigating whether Krupp's racing violated the terms of his contract or might have exacerbated his back injury.
According to the standard NHL contract, a player cannot participate in any organized sport without written consent from his team. Holland said Krupp neither requested, nor received, permission from the Red Wings to race sled dogs when he was injured.
Last summer, the Red Wings signed Krupp to a four-year, $16.4 million contract. Krupp scored three goals and five points in 22 games, before suffered a herniated disk in December. He hasn't played since.
The Red Wings suspended Krupp without pay last month for refusing to grant them access to medical records regarding his back. Detroit eventually received all the records and team doctors have been reviewing them, but the suspension continues.
Krupp's lawyer, George Googasian, said it was common knowledge in the Red Wings organization that Krupp was racing sled dogs. He pointed to a December 1998 cover story in Inside Hockeytown, the official team magazine, about Krupp's racing.
"Uwe's activity as an amateur musher was not only known to the Detroit Red Wings, but it is something they congratulated him for and commended him for," Googasian said. "And in no way should what he was doing be considered an athletic sport. This is not the level of activity as described in the contract."