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Oilers: No, we’re not moving to Quebec City

Edmonton OilersA meeting between Katz Group executives and Quebec City Mayor Regis Labeaume quickly fueled rumors that they were there to discuss a move of the Edmonton Oilers (NHL) to Quebec, but denials were quickly issued all around.

The reason for the meeting between Kevin Lowe, Patrick LaForge, Paul Marcaccio and Quebec City officials, according to the Oilers, was a fact-finding mission to see how Quebec City was financing a new arena and if the same formula could be applied to Edmonton’s plans for a new arena. Here’s a statement issued by Bob Black, Executive Vice President, Sports & Entertainment, Katz Group, earlier today:

Edmonton Oilers’ President and CEO Patrick LaForge, President of Hockey Operations Kevin Lowe and Katz Group CFO Paul Marcaccio met today with Quebec City Mayor Regis Labeaume and others.  Our representatives are on a fact finding mission to gather information on the Quebec arena project, the contemplated funding model and that City’s discussions with other orders of government. Patrick, Kevin and Paul hope to learn from the Quebec City experience and bring back insights that will help move the process forward here in Edmonton.  We remain focused on our efforts to develop the funding structure required to enable the Edmonton Arena District project to proceed. Today was a convenient date for the meeting in Quebec City since the Oilers are already in nearby Montreal to play the Canadiens and our group is with the team.

It is a plausible denial. Whether it’s totally true remains to be seen. It would seem a little surprising to see Daryl Katz explore moving his hometown Oilers, though; he’s invested in more locally than just the NHL franchise, and although there’s opposition to a new arena in Edmonton, it’s not the deadly sort of opposition that kills a facilities proposal.

RELATED STORIES: Oilers refine arena plan after public meetings; Katz ups arena offer to $200M; city willing to talk ; Edmonton: New downtown arena financially feasible Katz: I will spend $100 million on new downtown arena; Edmonton: Cheaper to renovate than to build new downtown arena; Oilers arena zoning hearing delayed; Katz group submits arena application to Edmonton

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