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BETTMAN TO TWIN CITIES: JETS ARE YOURS, IF YOU WANT 'EM
Published October 12, 1995
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman told MN officials Wednesday they are "in a one horse race," if they so choose, to bring the Jets to the Target Center. In this morning's Minneapolis STAR- TRIBUNE, Jay Weiner reports Bettman, addressing the state's Advisory Task Force on Professional Sports, "nonchalantly triggered a collective jaw dropping" among leaders when he advised them of his "apparent deadline" of December 14 for a plan to help relocate the club. Bettman was joined by likely Jets buyer Richard Burke. However, Weiner notes they "were probably talking to the wrong people. The 20-member task force ... has no negotiating power." Burke said he will negotiate with "anyone in Minnesota who could provide him with the cash" he and partner Steven Gluckstern need. Burke was referring to a $20M figure said to be the amount needed keep a team from financial difficulty. State Sen. Dean Johnson noted state help may be hard to obtain by the deadline, as legislative sessions do not begin again until January 16. Johnson also doubted a quorum would show if Gov. Arne Carlson called a special Jets session. Bettman: "I believed, based on the sentiments I heard after the [Stars] left, that people here really wanted to have a hockey team. If I misread that, then so be it. Opportunities don't last forever" (Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE, 10/12). Columnist Patrick Reusse writes that the state "would be idiots to pass up an NHL team," and leaders should tax casino operators to obtain financing (Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE, 10/12).