UPDATE: 3/11/2013, 10:00 a.m. EDT. Information on outside counsel for the NFL's Carolina Panthers has been added to the second-to-last paragraph of this story.
A trio of Am Law 100 firms laced up their skates Thursday night for the sixth annual Lawyers' Cup charity tournament, with teams representing Kaye Scholer, Proskauer Rose, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, and leading Canadian firm Stikeman Elliott squaring off at Sky Rink on Manhattan's West Side to raise money for Ice Hockey in Harlem, a New York City nonprofit launched 25 years ago to boost the game's profile with inner-city youth.
This year's tourney was played the same week that Sports Illustrated dubbed Proskauer the most powerful firm in professional sports in connection with a "50 Most Powerful People in Sports" package that features several Proskauer alums.
National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettmanwho as weve previously noted here was once an associate at the firmlanded at number 27 on the SI list. As it happens, the league Bettman oversees, as well as Proskauer and Skadden, which have long served as its lead outside counsel, have sponsored the Ice Hockey in Harlem fundraiser since 2008. (Click here and here for our previous stories on the event, whose victor lays claim to the coveted Lawyers' Cup.)
Stikeman, which advised on the sale of the NHLs Toronto Maple Leafs two years ago, took part in the festivities for the first time last year at the invitation of Proskauer and Skadden. Perhaps unsurprisingly given that Stikeman hails from the land where hockey was born, the Canadian squad won the tournament in their 2012 debut before going on to successfully defend their title this year.
Jason Crelinstena Canada-born corporate associate at Proskauer who sits on the board of directors for Ice Hockey in Harlemsays Thursday's event raised $47,000. Also sitting on the charitys board: Kenneth Ottenbreit, the managing partner of Stikemans New York office, and veteran Skadden corporate restructuring partner J. Gregory Milmoe, who moved with his family to Newfoundland when he was six before later playing one year of college hockey at Cornell with fellow lawyer and NHL Hall of Famer Ken Dryden. (Click here for a picture of Milmoe hoisting the Lawyers' Cup hardware in 2009.)
Bettman presented this year's trophy to Stikeman, which topped first-time participant Kaye Scholer by the score of 6-2 in the final game to take home the 2013 trophy. Crelinsten says that everyone on hand had a great time, perhaps more so for his firm, as Proskauer finished third in the tournament by shutting out Skadden 3-0 in the consolation game.
Off the ice, Proskauer's storied sports credentials were burnished this week in a story by SI.com legal analyst Michael McCanna founder and director of the Sports Law Institute at Vermont Law Schoolpublished along with the magazine's most powerful people list, which includes 14 lawyers.
Former Proskauer partner David Stern, who famously left the firm in 1978 to become general counsel for the National Basketball Association, is ranked number 2 on SI's list. Stern became commissioner of the league on February 1, 1984, but will cede his leadership role next year to designated successor Adam Silver, who comes in at number 18 in the power rankings.
Silver, a former litigation associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore who currently serves as the NBA's deputy commissioner, has his own ties to Proskauer through his late father, Edward Silver, a well-regarded labor and employment lawyer who chaired the firm until 1991. (The elder Silver, who joined Proskauer as an associate in 1948 after graduating from Cornell Law School, died in 2004.)
Proskauer's influence in the sporting realm, of course, extends beyond the professional ranks. This week, the firm advised a breakaway group of seven Catholic colleges blessed with top basketball programs in reaching an agreement with the Big East Conference that allows them to formally strike out on their own as of June 30.