The Edmonton Oilers (NHL) have done their homework on a backup plan for a new arena should a downtown plan fall though by holding discussions with the Enoch Cree Nation this past spring.
The discussions didn’t really go very far; both sides acknowledge that the first choice of the Oilers is a downtown site, and any talk between the tribe and the Katz Group was of a preliminary nature.
“We know, without a doubt, the Oilers are Edmonton. Everybody knows that. We’re not trying to disrespect or trying to do anything malicious,” said Ron Morin, the new head of the tribe. “What we’re saying at Enoch is, if Edmonton can’t find a way to get it done, then if there’s a chance for all of us to put our heads together — meaning Edmonton, the Katz Group, Enoch, the province — and see if it could work better at Enoch, why wouldn’t we explore that?”
Indeed: teams have meetings all the time between team officials and folks who have the slightest semblance of an arena plan. It doesn’t mean the Oilers are abandoning their plans for a new downtown arena, nor does it even mean an arena built on the outskirts of town on tribal land is even a Plan B. It means a meeting was held, and it’s folly to read much more into it.
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