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"WHITE KNIGHT" ALEXANDER PUTS NHL OILERS DEAL ON HOLD

          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).


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Edmonton Oilers, Franchises, NHL

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