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THE GREAT GIG IN EDMONTON? GRETZKY TO BUY SHARE OF OILERS?
Published March 9, 1998
A "rumor out of Edmonton" was that the local group trying to buy the NHL Oilers were set to receive $10M from Wayne Gretzky, according to the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman: "I haven't heard that. And until something like that is confirmed for me, I won't even comment on it" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/8). In Edmonton, MacDonald & Simons report that the local group has until Friday "to table an offer to buy the team" for C$102M, or the team could be sold to Rockets Owner Les Alexander. Under NHL rules, any new buyer can borrow no more than half the purchase price of the team, meaning the local Edmonton group must raise C$51M by Friday (EDM. JOURNAL, 3/9). In Houston, Aeros Owner and prospective Oilers suitor, Chuck Watson, was told Friday that the Edmonton group had secured C$35M in financing from a "consortium of Canadian banks." Watson: "I was told they have a deal in place with Canadian banks." Neil Hohlfeld reported that Watson still could provide the group with "as much as" $5M for operating expenses, a gesture that could keep him "in line" for an NHL team when an arena is built in Houston (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 3/7). In other news, Molson's Alberta-wide promotion, where it gives C$1 from each case of beer sold to the Oilers Forever Fund, may reach C$300,000 (EDMONTON SUN, 3/8).