Posted on September 24, 2012 at 10:24 PM
Monday, Sep 24 at 10:27 PM
SEATTLE - The Owner of the Edmonton Oilers admits he’s in Seattle, and according to one source, here to “evaluate the market”.
Daryl Katz was in Seattle on Monday, along with other Oilers leaders. A source says they toured Seattle’s Key Arena, and met privately with other people in the City, before attending the Monday night football game.
The Oilers Executive Vice President Bob Black declined to comment on the nature of the meetings, and declined further comment when reached by KING5 Monday night. The meetings came on the same day the Seattle City Council approved a plan for a new NBA/NHL Arena in the SoDo Neighborhood.
A source says Katz, who has owned the team since 2008, recently moved to nearby Vancouver, and now splits time in Edmonton and Palm Springs.
The Oilers, who have played in Alberta since 1972, have been locked in a stalemate with the city of Edmonton, over funding of a new downtown arena. The original deal for a new 18,400-seat arena in Edmonton was agreed to last October and was to be funded mostly by taxpayers. Katz has said he wants a public subsidy deal similar to the one given to NHL teams in Winnipeg and Pittsburgh. Forbes ranks the Oilers in the middle of NHL teams with a value of $212 million.
In a statement on the team’s website, Black wrote: “We remain committed to working with City Administration to achieve a deal commensurate with what Winnipeg and Pittsburgh have done to sustain the NHL in those small markets. If we can achieve such a deal, the Oilers will remain in Edmonton and we can get on with the important work of developing the new arena and investing in the continued revitalization of Edmonton's downtown core.
Nonetheless, and as the City of Edmonton is aware, the Katz Group has been listening to proposals from a number of potential NHL markets for some time. After more than four years of trying to secure an arena deal and with less than 24 months remaining on the Oilers' lease at Rexall Place, this is only prudent and should come as no surprise.
We are extremely grateful to Oilers' fans for their patience and loyalty as we work through this process towards what we sincerely hope will be a long and successful future for the Oilers in Edmonton. We have no further comment on the status of our discussions with other markets at this time."
It is not clear if Katz, and the other Oilers brass planned to meet with anyone in Seattle on Tuesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.