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Cultural Exchange Proposed at Hockey Game

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

Rufus E. Jones '87 thinks a good hockey game can be as useful to U.S. Soviet relations as high level arms talks in chilly Switzerland.

The Harvard sophomore yesterday joined a number of top American business leaders and national hockey officials at the University of Vermont (UVM) in Burlington to promote improved relations with the Soviets "through hockey and other cultural exchanges."

The drawing point of yesterday's meeting was the final game in the U.S. four of the visiting Moscow Spartak, the Soviet national team. The Spartak repelled a late game surge from the UVM Catamounts to win 8-6 at UVM's Gutterson rink.

The Spartak is the first Soviet athletic team to play in the U.S. since the 1984 Olympic boycott.

Jones, along with a junior at UVM, headed up national publicity for the event that he thinks emphasizes the importance of interest in Soviet relations outside of "hard core" politics. The game follows close on the heels of the U.S.-Soviet arms talks in Geneva which ended Tuesday.

Attending the press conferences, meetings and receptions preceding the game were business and sports luminaries such as PepsiCo Chief Executive Officer Don Kendall, president of the National Hockey League John Zegler, and Hal Trumble, president of the Amateur Hockey Association of the U.S.

"We rallied up the support of Don Kendall because he is the most influential American businessman with the Kremlin," Jones said yesterday, explaining that "Pepsi Cola is the only American consumer good sold in the Soviet Union."

Jones added that Kendall was an advisor on Soviet affairs to President Richard M. Nixon in the early 70's and that he served on the U.S. Board of the Chamber of Commerce.

Jones expressed disappointment that President Bok refused to endorse the project and turned down an invitation to attend the game and press conferences. "I tried to get the support of Derek Bok and Harvard University in this event, but their concern was that anything that didn't directly concern Harvard, they wouldn't pursue," he said.

Jones said that the central aim in attracting publicity to the game was to stress the importance of cross-cultural education between America and the Soviet Union.

"Our generation needs to be able to communicate with the understand the Soviets in order to lessen the paranoia which arrounds them," Jones said.

Six UVM hockey players seemed to agree heartily with Jones' sentiment. They took a crash course in Russian language in preparation for the Spartak arrival.

Jones, who speaks Russian and concentrates in Slavic Studies, credits Kendall for sparking his interest in promoting better relations with the Soviets through nonpolitical means. He and John Lockwood, the UVM junior who helped Jones organize the publicity, attended Kendall's lecture on U.S.-Soviet business relations at the Business School last year.

Jones said he regards the tour as a meaningful gesture on the part of the Soviet Union to present a national image to Americans. "The Soviet Union uses hockey to promote their regime," Jones said. "Their hockey team is like our golden eagle."

The Spartak, on tour in America since the beginning of December, will travel to Montreal this morning and then depart for Moscow

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