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.