SBD/9/Franchises

THE GREAT GIG IN EDMONTON? GRETZKY TO BUY SHARE OF OILERS?

          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).  

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