Edmonton’s city council voted unanimously in favor of ceasing negotiations with Oilers ownership to build a new arena, according to Team 1260’s Mark Spector and other sources.
That might imply that the arena deal is totally dead, but there seems to be some confusing mixed signals, as many people including Inside Sports’ Dan Tencer indicate.
Council members discussed leaving the door open for future talks and even discussed the design of the arena right after deciding to cease negotiations.
It’s head-scratching stuff, unless you believe that it’s a rather dramatic way of sending Oilers owner Daryl Katz a message.
That seemed to be the case according to many comments, but Mayor Stephen Mandel’s quote to Edmonton Journal columnist David Staples could tell the real story.
“I think everybody is frustrated, council is frustrated, the public is frustrated,” Mandel said.
Beyond being frustrated over the specifics of the dealings, the city might also be upset because Katz has repeatedly refused to discuss matters before the council.
He most recently shot down today’s offer with a highly critical letter that also recommended Gary Bettman’s intervention.
(Bettman should already be in the groove when it comes to high-stakes, high-spin negotiations, after all.)
For even more on this increasingly tense subject, check out the Edmonton Journal’s report.