Les Alexander's offer to buy the NHL Oilers "was left in doubt after he left Peter Pocklington standing alone Tuesday to face a much publicized news conference about their deal," according to Jac MacDonald of the EDMONTON JOURNAL. Pocklington said that Alexander stayed away because of "tough words he heard at a Monday meeting with Mayor Bill Smith and other city officials about preserving the location agreement that keeps the Oilers in town until 2004." Pocklington said "without question" he painted a fair picture of the Oilers situation to Alexander. Pocklington: "He has seen all the documents, all the pros and cons, exactly what the local buyers have seen." Alexander told Houston's KTRH radio station: "The city, Economic Development Edmonton and Northlands Park had to agree to certain conditions and without those conditions being met, we cannot buy the team." MacDonald reports that those conditions "included dropping the location agreement and turning over" the C$2.8M annual ticket surcharge to the team (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 11/5). Alexander, on Edmonton officials: "I was led to believe that they were ready to address some of the larger issues, that they would welcome me with open arms as the savior of the team. And the complete reverse was true. They were, to say the least, hostile. Everything I was told was now completely reversed" (Neil Hohlfeld, HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 11/5). More Alexander: "My idea was to come here, be a white knight and keep the team in Edmonton" (Terry Jones, EDMONTON SUN, 11/5). REAX: In Toronto, Al Strachan writes that if Edmonton agrees to modify the location clause, "it opens the door for an agreement that will give the Oilers an excellent chance of survival for the foreseeable future. But if the city refuses, the outlook becomes bleak. Unless local buyers can be found ... Pocklington will then sell the team to the highest bidder. And that bidder will probably move the team to the United States" (TORONTO SUN, 11/5). An EDMONTON, JOURNAL editorial: "Alexander doesn't even seem interested in explaining why this deal would be good for Edmonton, or in sitting down and negotiating with the city. He expects Edmonton to buy a pig in a poke" (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 11/5). An EDMONTON SUN editorial: "The refusal of Edmonton's leaders to renege on the location agreement ... looks smart from any perspective" (EDMONTON SUN, 11/5).
Orca Bay Sports & Entertainment fired Canucks President & GM Pat Quinn, according to Jim Jamieson of the Vancouver PROVINCE. Quinn, who held the post since '87, "took the rap .. for his hockey club's tailspin season." Orca Bay CEO Stephen Bellringer said the move "was a joint decision, a discussion between myself and the ownership of the Orca Bay organization and it was a categorically unanimous decision." Quinn had one year remaining on his contract "that is believed to pay him" C$1.2M in base salary. Bellringer said Orca Bay would negotiate a settlement (PROVINCE, 11/5). In Toronto, Dave Fuller reports potential candidates to replace Quinn included Mike Keenan, agent Mike Gillis, former Maple Leafs President Cliff Fletcher and former Sabers GM John Muckler (TORONTO SUN, 11/5). USA TODAY's Kevin Allen also mentions NHL Senior VP Brian Burke (USA TODAY, 11/5).
NHL: The Hurricanes "are standing by" G Sean Burke, who was arrested Sunday and charged with assaulting his wife, saying that the incident "has given them no reason to suspend Burke." The team said the Burkes are being provided professional assessment and therapy through the NHL's counsel. Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford: "Until I see a reason that Sean should not be with the team I would not do that" (Greensboro NEWS & RECORD, 11/5). GENERAL: NJ-based Worldwide Entertainment & Sports said it will buy the AFL Florida Bobcats from Bruce Frey (SOUTH FL BUSINESS JOURNAL, 11/3 issue)....In Vancouver, B.C. Lions Owner David Braley has assumed ownership of the A-League soccer Vancouver 86ers (Vancouver PROVINCE, 11/4).
Although their purchase of the Islanders has not received formal approval from the NHL Board of Governors yet, Steven Gluckstern and New York Hockey Ventures will name former Jaguars President & CEO David Seldin COO of the team today, according to Valenti & Topol of NEWSDAY. Sources confirmed that Seldin will be hired and said the move "bodes well for a new arena." Seldin served as the stadium "point man" during the construction of Jacksonville Municipal Stadium. Sources add that Gluckstern, a majority partner in the Isles, will retain his title of President and oversee team operations. Seldin left the Jaguars last January as President but remains a limited partner with the team. Since then he has been a consultant to the NFL in trying to put together a team for Cleveland (NEWSDAY, 11/5).