Edmonton Oilers consider move to Seattle
Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz speaks to reporters at a news conference at the Rexall Arena in Edmonton on July 2, 2008.
The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, September 25, 2012 8:07AM PDT
EDMONTON -- With plans for a new arena in doubt, the Edmonton Oilers say they are considering a move to Seattle.
Oilers owner Daryl Katz, team president Patrick LaForge and Kevin Lowe, president of hockey operations, are in Seattle for meetings about a possible relocation to the city.
The Oilers said in a statement that while they hope to reach a deal with Edmonton on a new arena, the team is also listening to proposals from a number of potential markets.
Seattle City Council approved hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen’s plan for a $490-million arena Monday that both sides hope will become the home of an NBA and an NHL team.
The Oilers and the City of Edmonton had agreed on plans for a proposed $475-million cost-shared arena that would begin construction early next year. But the arena and the Oilers’ future in the city were thrown into doubt earlier this month when the team told councillors it wanted millions of dollars in new concessions from taxpayers.
In Seattle, initially skeptical city councillors agreed to put up $200 million for the new arena after Hansen promised to personally guarantee the city’s debt.
Council members voted 6-2 to approve the plan for a facility near the Seahawks’ and Mariners’ stadiums south of downtown.
“I was a skeptic when this came forward because I was worried about our taxpayers,” said Seattle council member Sally Bagshaw. “The fact that we have a personal guarantee from Mr. Hansen ... that makes a big difference.
“At the end, we’re going to have something the city is proud of.”
Seattle hasn’t had an NBA team since 2008, when the SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder, devastating their fans here. It’s been quite a bit longer since Seattle had major-league hockey: The Metropolitans, who won the Stanley Cup in 1917, disbanded in 1924.