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Stars’ Belfour’s Status in Question

March 9, 2000 GMT

DALLAS (AP) _ The status of Dallas Stars goalie Ed Belfour remained in limbo Thursday as he saw counselors for the second time since his arrest on charges of assault and resisting arrest in a late-night scuffle with a hotel guard.

Belfour met Wednesday night and Thursday with the independent team of mental health and substance abuse counselors provided by the National Hockey League and the NHL Players’ Association.

Stars General Manager Bob Gainey said once the counselors issue a report, the team and league will decide what penalties _ if any _ are warranted.

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``I think that the team image, whenever there is an incident that involves the law, is tarnished,″ Gainey said. ``Our responsibility is to recognize it and address it squarely and to move through the problem, not around it.″

Neither the NHL or the players’ association commented on Belfour’s meeting with counselors.

``It’s absolutely confidential,″ league spokesman Frank Brown said.

Dallas police said Thursday the charges, both misdemeanors, will stand, though a court date has not been set. The assault charge is punishable by a fine of up to $500, and resisting arrest brings maximum penalties of one year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

Police said Belfour, the hero of the Stars’ Stanley Cup championship last season, and a woman arrived at The Mansion at Turtle Creek shortly after midnight Wednesday. Witnesses said Belfour appeared intoxicated, and hotel security escorted him to his room.

A short time later, the woman told security she was afraid of Belfour and wanted to leave, police said. Hotel officials accompanied her downstairs and she left in a cab.

A little later, Belfour also tried to leave his hotel room. When a guard tried to subdue him, Belfour slammed the man against a wall and put him in a headlock, letting go only after police sprayed him with Mace, authorities said.

Police do not know the identity of Belfour’s companion because she left before officers arrived, police spokeswoman Cheryl Convery said. Belfour is divorced.

Belfour expressed regret in a statement released by the club Wednesday.

``I’m sorry about the incident and regret any embarrassment to my family, the Dallas Stars organization, my teammates, friends and fans,″ he said.

Team officials could not say whether Belfour intended to speak on the matter more, and Belfour himself was unavailable for comment Thursday.

The Stars play the New York Islanders at home Friday night, and it is unclear whether Belfour will be in that game.

He was not scheduled to start in Wednesday’s game against Vancouver, but was expected to be available as backup to Manny Fernandez. Instead, rookie Marty Turco was called up from Michigan of the International Hockey League to serve as the No. 2 goalie in the 3-3 tie.

Belfour’s appearance in Sunday’s game against the conference-leading St. Louis Blues is considered key as the Stars battle for playoff position.

Known as ``Eddie the Eagle,″ Belfour has averaged 2.08 goals-against in 53 games. He got his 300th career victory last month as Dallas defeated the Washington Capitals 2-1. He posted his fourth shutout on the season, the 49th of his career, on March 1 against Philadelphia.