Edmonton Mayor Sets Deadline For Katz Group As Seattle Approves Arena Project
On the same day Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel "set an Oct. 17 'drop-dead date' for the Katz Group to explain what it wants in an arena agreement," Oilers Owner Daryl Katz was in Seattle, and received approval for "a new $480-million-US arena project," according to Kent & MacKinnon of the EDMONTON JOURNAL. Mandel said of talks between the Edmonton City Council and the Katz Group, “I think we’re a long way apart. Right now, I don’t know how far apart we are.” Mandel “wouldn’t give details about what might happen" at the Council's Oct. 17 meeting, "aside from predicting the day will be ‘interesting.’” Mandel: “What is it? What do you want? We have been dealing with this for four years. You should know by now … It’s not a complicated issue of what you want. We just don’t know what it is.” Katz Group execs were “joined in Seattle by former Oilers great Wayne Gretzky” and "toured the old Key Arena before attending” the Packers-Seahawks game. Katz last week said that he “hopes a final deal can be reached in the next couple of months,” and that “the longer it takes the more construction costs will rise.” But Mandel said that “people in Edmonton are becoming frustrated” (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 9/25). Edmonton Council member Kerry Diotte said that Katz’ Seattle visit is “not helping get an intelligent deal done.” Diotte: “The people I’m talking to are just getting really fed up with what they deem as pressure tactics by the Katz Group” (EDMONTON SUN, 9/25).
OPTIONS OPEN: The CP’s Dean Bennett noted this is “not the first time Katz and the Oilers have had talks with other potential suitors.” Team officials have “been in Hamilton before and there were even talks at one time to relocate the arena to First Nations territory outside Edmonton” (CP, 9/24). In Edmonton, Terry Jones writes the idea of Katz moving the Oilers to Seattle is “ludicrous.” Jones: “He's not a stupid man. He'd be paying rent there. He wouldn't have concession rights, pouring rights, building naming rights. Hockey would be the No. 4 or No. 5 entity on the local sports scene” (EDMONTON SUN, 9/25).