SBD/23/Franchises

AL STRACHAN BELIEVES OILERS' FUTURE IN EDMONTON SAFE

          While two Houston groups, one led by Rockets Owner Les
     Alexander and the other by Aeros Owner Chuck Watson, "are in
     the process of putting together proposals" for the NHL
     Oilers, "in both cases, the team would be bought outright --
      but with a promise to keep the team in Edmonton as long as
     it maintains a positive cash-flow situation," according to
     Al Strachan of the TORONTO SUN.  Strachan writes that
     "reliable sources" say that the NHL "is heavily involved in
     the negotiations and is working to make sure the Oilers stay
     in Edmonton."  Strachan adds that the NHL "is willing to
     modify its long-range plan and allow a further expansion in
     the early part of the next century if doing so guarantees
     the stability of the Oilers."  For that to happen, the
     "successful purchaser" would have to "guarantee the league"
     that the Oilers will stay in Edmonton for "a certain period,
     probably three years."  If the team continues to have a
     positive cash-flow, then the owner would be allowed to sell
     the Oilers, and "in return," be "sold the rights to an NHL
     expansion team in Houston" (TORONTO SUN, 10/23).

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