WHEN LES HAS MORE: ROCKETS OWNER CLOSE TO NHL OILERS DEAL
Rockets Owner Leslie Alexander said Sunday that his
purchase of the NHL Oilers "could be finalized within a
week," according to Eddie Sefko of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE.
Over the weekend it was reported that Alexander has a
"handshake agreement" to purchase the team from Peter
Pocklington for $85M. Under the deal, the Oilers will remain
in Edmonton for "at least" three more seasons. Sefko adds
that during its three year stay in Edmonton, if the team
makes a profit, it will remain in Edmonton, Alexander will
sell to a local buyer and he will receive an expansion
franchise in Houston. If the Oilers lose money, Alexander
will be allowed to relocate the team to Houston. The three-
year stay in Edmonton should also "provide enough time for a
new arena to be built in Houston" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/27).
If Alexander owns the NHL and NBA teams in Houston, "the
fight" between Alexander and Chuck Watson of the IHL Aeros
and Arena Operating Co. over control of a new arena "would
effectively become moot" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/25).
FROM EDMONTON: Pocklington: "This is the one (offer)
that will probably get done. This is the one I like the
best" (EDMONTON SUN, 10/25). Stock & MacDonald reported that
sources said Pocklington "wants to remain part of the Oiler
organization under" the new ownership (EDMONTON JOURNAL,
10/25). Dan Barnes reported that the deal "would allow"
Pocklington to keep a 10% stake in the team, receive some of
the $12M in "expansion revenues due to the Oilers over the
next few seasons and perhaps make a reappearance in the
process three years from now" (EDMONTON SUN, 10/25). In
Toronto, Al Strachan wrote the NHL "will make sure that it is
more profitable for Alexander to start a new team in Houston
than to move the Oilers there" (TORONTO SUN, 10/25).