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The IHL Atlanta Knights, after "abandoning plans to construct their own Alpharetta arena," will "react to whatever decision is reached by the Hawks on a new playing facility." The Knights let their option lapse on land in Alpharetta after having "misgivings about the viability of a costly NHL franchise, ballooning construction costs and uncertainly of securing a second tenant." With that, Knights president Richard Adler "forfeited his right to block Turner Broadcasting or anyone else from importing an NHL team." The Knights are currently negotiating a two-year lease extension to keep them in the Omni through '99. Hawks Exec VP Lee Douglas said they haven't addressed what form hockey will play in a new facility. Douglas: "We certainly envision hockey being a part of it, whether it's the IHL, NHL or what" (Joe Strauss, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 10/20).
Leaders of The Parti Quebecois, recent winners in Quebec's provincial elections, have decided to delay plans to give Olympic Stadium a new roof. Quebec Tourism Minister Rita Dionne- Marsolais said she wants to wait "at least a couple of weeks to re-examine the plans to spend $57.2M to replace the worn Kevlar roof with a new steel structure." The idea to replace the once- retractable roof with a fixed-steel structure was given the go- ahead by the previous Liberal government in May '93, but threats of cost increases and the notion that the stadium is not an appropriate site for the Expos have put the project in jeopardy. Dionne-Marsolais: "They are telling us now its going to cost about $50M. I don't want to find out next year that it's going to cost $100M or $110M" (Richard Mackie, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 10/20). An editorial in this morning's MONTREAL GAZETTE suggests Dionne-Marsolais delay the project until questions of the new roof's safety, cost-overruns, and the Expos' intentions of staying are answered. The Expos commissioned a feasibility study for a new downtown stadium a few months ago and team minority owner Mark Routtenberg said there had been suggestions that a new stadium with a retractable roof could be built for less than $170M -- but "government and private-sector money would be needed." The GAZETTE: "Perhaps it is time for Quebec to think seriously about cutting its losses (already well over $1 billion) and get rid of the Big O" (MONTREAL GAZETTE, 10/21).