SEATTLE - NOVEMBER 01: Play begins between the Seattle SuperSonics and the Portland Trail Blazers on November 1, 2006 at Key Arena in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule/Getty Images)

Edmonton Oilers Visit Seattle, Threaten Relocation Without New Arena Deal

An agreement has been reached between the City of Seattle and private investors to build a new sports arena, and the deal no longer requires an NHL team. Just the NBA.

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Oilers release statement on Seattle visit

Edmonton Oilers officials are in Seattle for meetings on Monday, a prepared statement from the team said. They say they are exploring their options just 24 months before the expiration of the teams' lease at Rexall Place.

The Oilers have been in negotiations with the city of Edmonton for some time now over the building of a new downtown arena. Owner Daryl Katz has hinted before that the team might not remain in Edmonton if a new arena isn't built, and did so once again in the released statement attributed to Bob Black, Executive Vice President of the Katz Group.

"I can confirm that Daryl Katz, Patrick LaForge, Kevin Lowe and others from the Oilers leadership group are in Seattle for meetings and to attend the Seahawks game.

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."

Seattle meanwhile is hot on the heels of a new agreement between investor Chris Hansen and the city council, to build a new arena to lure an NBA team back to Seattle. Hansen has often talked of the possibility of the arena housing an NHL team as well, but it isn't something the investor is interested in owning.

Katz, Patrick La Forge and Kevin Lowe were all seen taking a tour of Key Arena and are later attending Monday's game between the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks. Key Arena has been used to house minor league hockey seasons before, and also remains a possible final destination in the more immediate future.

Talk more about the Edmonton rumors with Oiler fans at The Copper & Blue.

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Seattle City Council, Arena Developer Reportedly Reach Deal

The Seattle City Council has reached a deal with investor Chris Hansen on plans to build a new arena in the SoDo area of the city near Safeco Field, according to the Seattle Times.

Hansen originally put up $290 million toward building a new arena, with the intention of drawing in NBA and NHL franchises to the area. The plan involved the city covering the rest with $120 million in bonds, which Hansen assured would be paid back in full by the revenue generated from the arena alone.

One of the primary concerns from the city with the original plan was traffic and transportation infrastructure around the proposed new arena, which already houses two large stadiums in Safeco Field and CenturyLink Field. As part of the new plan, a cut of the tax revenue generated from the arena will be specifically used on infrastructure improvements to alleviate traffic concerns.

Some tax revenue will also be rerouted to make improvements to KeyArena, the former home of the Seattle Sonics, so that the facility could be used for NBA and NHL teams waiting to move into the new proposed arena.

For more Seattle news, check out SB Nation Seattle.


NHL Denies Phoenix Coyotes Sale Report, Seattle Sports Fans Keeping Watchful Eye

The NHL has denied a report that the Phoenix Coyotes are ready to be sold to a group led by Greg Jamison, the former CEO of the San Jose Sharks who's been rumored to be in the ownership mix for the team since August.

Dave Zorn, a reporter for Metro Networks Arizona who's covered the Coyotes for years, shared the initial report Friday evening on Twitter.

Via KING5 in Seattle, where fans are suddenly watching the Coyotes' ownership saga with an interested eye following a new arena proposal there that's contingent on relocation of an NHL and NBA teams, the NHL says that report is false. Zorn expected as much, however, and you'll recall that the league also denied first reports that True North Sports had purchased the Atlanta Thrashers. It's safe to say they shouldn't necessarily be trusted when it comes to this stuff.

A sale of the Coyotes to Jamison would be fantastic news for Coyotes fans, who could realistically lose their team at the end of this NHL season if a new ownership situation isn't figured out. The NHL still operates the club, and that's a situation that's expected to come to a head before next season.

Jamison's group reportedly includes former Coyotes star Jeremy Roenick, who said in his Coyotes' Ring of Honor induction speech last weekend that he'd do his part to keep the hockey team in Arizona.

For Seattle fans, it's not the best news. The new arena proposal requires both an NHL team and an NBA team to be on board -- whether through relocation or expansion -- and the Coyotes certainly seem like the most likely option. If they're sold, Seattle fans will have to look elsewhere, or hope Gary Bettman's interest in the city is real and that expansion is a possibility.

For more on the potential return of hockey to Seattle, check in with SB Nation Seattle. For more on hockey that's currently being played in Phoenix, check in with Coyotes blog Five For Howling.


NHL Relocation: Why The Phoenix Coyotes Won't Move To Seattle This Summer

An NHL team in Seattle makes too much sense, but Key Arena is so poorly designed for hockey that even a single season there would be unacceptable. It makes the potential relocation of the Phoenix Coyotes to the Emerald City unlikely.


Seattle Eyeing Sports Arena Deal, Hoping To Lure NBA, NHL Teams

A Seattle Times report has revealed that city officials may be planning to bring an NBA team back to Seattle by next fall.

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