According to the Edmonton Journal, the Edmonton Oilers' top executives will meet with Regis Labeaume, the mayor of Quebec City, to discuss relocating the Oilers to there.
Kevin Lowe said "We don't know what to expect from this meeting. Just the fact that we're meeting with Labeaume to discuss possibilities, the sky is the limit. Exchanging ideas is the main goal of the meeting."
The Katz Group is trying to get financing for a $1 billion arena in Edmonton. They ask that the city borrow $400 million to fund this, and then pay it back with the added tax revenues from the developments.
As the process is going slowly, the Katz Group is looking at other options. Some city councillors don't like the idea, but the Mayor calls it "innovative and creative."
The Katz Group wants construction on the new arena to begin within 18 months. They've even discussed it with commissioner Gary Bettman two weeks ago. However, if the negotiations keep dragging out like this, they will seriously consider any offer Quebec City may make them.
Quebec City already has the support of the province to build a $400 million arena to bring hockey back to Quebec. If they offer that money in addition to what the Katz Group will fund themselves, they can build this $1 billion arena in Quebec City.
Lowe says that relocation is not the only option, as they can pressure Ottawa to help build arenas in both Edmonton and Quebec City.
Does Edmonton need a new Downtown Arena?
Here's the timeline:
April 24, 2007: Edmonton Mayor, Stephen Mandel announces that he wants to see how feasible it is to build a world-class arena to replace the aging Rexall Centre.
February 5, 2008: Daryl Katz buys the Oilers for $200 million. He promises to keep the team in Edmonton and send $100 million to fund a new arena.
March 25, 2008: A 38-page report made by committee appointed by Mandel. In it, they recommend new arena.
August 31, 2009: The Katz Group releases vision for a new arena, which would go on Baccarat Casino Island.
February 9, 2010: The Katz Group unveils financing plan for the arena. They plan to kick in $100 million while they ask the city to kick in $400 million.
April 19, 2010: The Katz Group spends $70,000 giving rezoning applications. They intend to use 16 acres of land, which is now occupied by the Baccarat Casino and several parking lots.
May 6, 2010: The Katz Group holds an open house to show features of the proposed arena. Hundreds of people attend.
June 29, 2010: New arena talks stall, so Katz looks to see if they can run the Copps Coliseum in Hamilton. Oilers President Patrick LaForge assures reporters it was strictly business and had nothing to do with the Oilers.
July 21, 2010: A public meeting is held. In it, Katz says that renovating Rexall Place is not an option, they need to build a new arena to keep the Oilers in Edmonton. On top of the $100 million Katz has already committed, he pledges another $100 million to help develop the area surrounding the arena.
November 9, 2010: A series of public consultations on Katz Group's development plans begin. Over 300 people attend the open houses, while 70 more come in to visit stakeholder sessions. They also gave an online questionnaire that asks Edmontonians if they think a downtown arena is needed to generate revenues. They get 28,979 responses.
January, 2011: Administration will report to council on proposed arena with consultation report.
As you can see this arena has taken a while to make, and yet nobody even knows if it will even be made. If it isn't, don't be shocked if the Oilers relocate to Quebec City.
They've already had problems with star players not wanting to play in Edmonton (Dany Heatley, and Tomas Vanek's inflated salary because of it). I expect Edmonton to get the new arena. Otherwise they'll move, and that's not an option.